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  • The Mirror 1997

    ★★★★★ Watched 14 Mar, 2014

    Deceptively sophisticated and subversive, The Mirror cleverly documents the plight of Iranian women as seen through the eyes of a seven year old girl trying to get home from school. What initially seems like a well constructed piece of social realist cinema suddenly becomes so much more as the "plot" and its machinations are pulled out from underneath the viewer's feet.

    As is often the case, it is hard to judge a child's acting abilities or whether they are even…

  • Heart of Glass 1976

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 21 Oct, 2013

    Mesmerizing, glacially paced, yet abounding with trademark Herzogian nuttiness Heart of Glass is as unique a cinematic experience that you are likely to have. On first viewing a few years ago I thought it merely an interesting oddity (the majority of the cast performs under hypnosis making for some really idiosyncratic reactions and movements). However upon re-watching I was completely immersed in this surrealist Bavarian folk tale.

    The dream/trance-like quality is complimented with impressively composed long takes of vast natural…

  • The Hunt 2012

    ★★★★★ Watched 30 Jul, 2013

    Devastating and beautiful in equal measures Thomas Vinterberg's The Hunt is one of the more extraordinary pieces of filmmaking in recent years. Whilst a largely uncomfortable viewing experience the enduring stoicism of the main character, Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen), makes for many small yet satisfying victories in the face of overwhelming persecution.

    The central parable of the film is how easily and rapidly mass hysteria permeates a seemingly civilised and tight-knit community. Previous to the alleged incident there seems to be…

  • Cloud Atlas 2012

    Watched 16 Apr, 2013

    Well... that was a load of old balls. I know a lot of people seem to like these kind of faux-profound films but, my gosh this was nonsense. There is something vaguely interesting about the central notion that people from different times and places are somehow "cosmically connected" however Cloud Atlas deals with the subject matter in the most banal and heavy-handed manner and when it finally all came to an end nothing more had been elucidated.

    The dialogue is…

  • Lincoln 2012

    ★★★ Watched 19 Feb, 2013 1

    I appreciated Spielberg's bold approach of focusing solely on Lincoln's efforts in bringing to pass the Emancipation Proclamation, rather than merely chronicling his early career in killing vampires. I'm just glad this lesser known achievement is finally getting the recognition it deserves.

  • Life of Pi 2012

    ★★½ Watched 08 Jan, 2013

    Promising a story that will make us believe in god, Life of Pi reveals its hand very early on in proceedings. Consequently the level of enjoyment and fulfillment available to the viewer will greatly depend on the individual's spiritual inclinations and receptiveness to the central religious philosophies explored herein. For me it was all a little too heavy-handed and self-important with an ending that draws a decidedly explicit conclusion based on rather fatuous and flimsy assumptions. I found that this…

  • The Intouchables 2011

    ★★★½ Watched 18 Dec, 2012

    I went to see Intouchables with a certain degree of trepidation, as when a film meets with near unanimous praise it is often bland or emotionally manipulative. However, here what could have been a real insipid melodrama, was a lovely, gentle and genuinely funny buddy movie.

    Sure, the comedy plays very broad and didn't elicit the same guffaws from me as it did from the rest of the audience (incidentally I was the youngest person in the theatre by at…

  • Headhunters 2011

    ★★★★ Watched 14 Dec, 2012 1

    Highly polished and fast paced Nordic neo-noir, Headhunters mixes the dark, extreme violence of other crime thrillers from the region and a plot with just enough satisfying twists and reveals that it could have come from the brothers Coen. Whilst sometimes at risk of becoming a little too convoluted for its own good, the efficiency with which the film is put together (punctuated with many great action set pieces) means that such faults are seamlessly negated. Definitely my favourite thriller of this year and probably the best for quite some time.

  • Rocco and His Brothers 1960

    ★★★★★ Watched 21 Nov, 2012

    Brilliant neo-realist drama, great exploration of fraternal relationships, regional racism and the effects of living in an urban environment. Obviously a strong influence on subsequent American films like The Godfather and Raging Bull.

    Oh, and Alain Delon is of course, gorgeous as always. My gosh, those cheekbones!

  • Gigli 2003

    ½ Watched 20 Nov, 2012 2

    “It's turkey time...gobble, gobble” - actual line from the film

    I don't often intentionally seek out bad films, my feeling being why waste time with such a pursuit when I still haven't seen every Bergman or Fellini film? But the knowledge that Gigli is considered one of the worst of all time had me intrigued.

    At over two hours it is at least thirty minutes too long for a bad film, making hard to recommend that anyone should check it…

  • Seven Psychopaths 2012

    ★★★ Watched 13 Nov, 2012

    Director Martin Mcdonagh follows his debut feature, In Bruges, with Seven Psychopaths, an exceedingly self aware satire on Hollywood screenwriting, in particular action movie narratives and tropes.

    However, the argument could be made that the director is having his cake and eating it too. Hollywood cliches such as: extended scenes of choreographed, graphic violence, poorly developed female characters and casual homophobia are all indulged and then riffed upon by the main characters, to varying degrees of success.

    The main narrative…

  • Skyline 2010

    ½ Watched 06 Nov, 2012

    Was hoping for 'so bad it's good,' but had to settle for utter tedium.