RSS feed for Arlo J.
  • The Searchers 1956

    ★★★ Rewatched 07 Jul, 2014

    When I watched The Searchers a decade or so again, I came away shrugging my shoulders, asking, “That was it?” That’s the danger any time a film is hyped for decades as one of the all-time classics; it’s why so many people either don’t watch or don’t get Citizen Kane. Watching it again, I was hoping for something to suddenly click into place, to have the same response I did my second time through Vertigo.

    That didn’t happen.

    And yet…

  • Vertigo 1958

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 07 Jul, 2014

    Dirty secret: most of the ratings I've given on this site probably aren't accurate. Any movie I haven't seen since...2009, maybe? could probably use a second opinion, though who knows how many of them I'll ever revisit. That's the year I graduated high school, and probably the year when my tastes really, truly coalesced. (Give it another ten years, and I might be saying the same thing about 2019.)

    Vertigo is a perfect example. One of Hitchcock's most acclaimed films,…

  • Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans 1927

    ★★★★★ Watched 06 Jul, 2014 3

    Some movies are miracles, and Sunrise is one of them. How does this movie even work? How can it go from a man almost murdering his wife An American Tragedy style to the two of them literally stopping traffic with a kiss? How does it not collapse under the weight of its emotions, all of which are fervent and feverish and ecstatic and over-the-top? How did F.W. Murnau get his camera to do what it did, gliding across the set,…

  • The Wind Rises 2013

    ★★★★½ Watched 02 Jul, 2014

    This may be Hayao Miyazaki's final film. After a half-century in animation, the Japanese master's retirement is a deserved one; The Wind Rises is yet another reminder why. It's a beautiful film, overflowing with the color and detail one expects from Miyazaki. The story is an interesting amalgamation, based on Miyazaki's 2009 manga, which in turn was based on Tatsuo Hori's 1930s novel The Wind Has Risen. Though the film and manga are about the life of WWII aviation engineer…

  • Under the Skin 2013

    ★★ Watched 30 Jun, 2014

    There's much to admire about Under the Skin, primarily its gorgeous visuals. "Gorgeous," that's a word that gets tossed around a lot. I always feel slightly guilty when I dust it off, because it doesn't really say anything. But every once in a while, you come upon a film like Under the Skin, whose photography is so unique and spine-tingling that "gorgeous" is the only word that fits. Director Jonathan Glazer and his crew designed a new kind of camera…

  • They Came Together 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 29 Jun, 2014

    David Wain co-writing a rom-com parody with Michael Showalter, also featuring Michael Ian Black? Right there, I’m sold, give me my ticket (or Video on Demand, as the case may be). A long-time Stella fan, and fashionably late to The State, They Came Together is right up my alley. Throwing in Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd as an independent candy store owner and a candy corporation stooge, respectively, only sweetens the pot. The movie isn’t perfect; some scenes go on…

  • Citizen Ruth 1996

    ★★★★½ Watched 28 Jun, 2014 3

    There's a vicious humor to Citizen Ruth, Alexander Payne's first feature, the kind he left behind after Election. None of the characters are likable, but they don't have to be. Laura Dern's pregnant, sealant-huffing Ruth wants an abortion but finds herself trapped between pro-life advocates who want her to keep the baby and pro-choice advocates who want to make sure she can get rid of it. Both groups refuse to see her as a real person, lost in the race…

  • The Raid 2 2014

    ★★★★½ Watched 26 Jun, 2014

    I was that guy, the one human being who didn’t like The Raid: Redemption. I found its elaborately choreographed action impressive on a technical level, its fight scenes much better than those in films I actually enjoyed; but its video game plot and almost total lack of characterization left me cold. I love a good dude-snaps-another-dude’s-neck-against-a-door-frame as much as the next guy, but I almost skipped The Raid 2.

    I’m glad I didn’t.

    With The Raid 2, Gareth Evans has…

  • Neighbors 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 23 Jun, 2014

    New parents Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne go to war with Zac Efron when his rowdy frat moves in next door. The result is probably the summer's best comedy. Rogen is hilarious, sure, but the revelations here are Byrne and Efron. I didn't particularly admire either of them prior to this, but they both have such impeccable comic timing and delivery that I'm looking forward to whatever they do next. It's also refreshing to get the sense that, unlike so…

  • The Sacrament 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 23 Jun, 2014

    Pretty thin stuff, but I still thought The Sacrament was enjoyable. It looks a hell of a lot better than most found footage films, and even provides an in-world reason for why: the characters are video journalists for Vice, immersing themselves in the world of a commune that turns out to be more like a cult. A lot of the beats will be familiar to fans of found footage or this type of horror, but Ti West squeezes as much…

  • The Rover 2014

    ★★★★½ Watched 21 Jun, 2014

    At the risk of making it sound more derivative than it is, the best way to describe David Michôd’s The Rover is as The Road by way of Mad Max. It’s a brutal post-apocalyptic tale of survival set in the scorching Australian outback, one where cars are very important. Grand theft auto is what sets the story in motion: when Eric’s (Guy Pearce) car is stolen by a group of thieves, his relentless quest to retrieve it begins.

    Why? With…

  • X-Men: Days of Future Past 2014

    ★★★★½ Rewatched 21 Jun, 2014 1

    Second time through, the emotional beats and the spectacle still work like gangbusters. That Quicksilver scene is going to be a classic. And while I wish Michael Fassbender had more to do--as he did in First Class--James McAvoy is utterly fantastic as Xavier. Oh, and I like that Wolverine, though technically the star, doesn't hog the screen like he has in most of the other films.

    What I'm trying to say is, this is a good movie and I like it.