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  • It's a Disaster 2012

    ★★★ Watched 23 Jan, 2015

    Berger's film is damaged by its tonal uncertainty: a broader tone would have helped some of the characters' more heightened characteristics, while a more grounded one would make its more sombre dramatic moments easier to invest in. On some level, the tonal whiplash is justified, as it is perfectly believable that the news of impending death would cause such diverse reactions, but the cast and screenplay are often operating on so many levels that they become impossible to reconcile.

    The…

  • American Sniper 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 20 Jan, 2015

    Eastwood directs confidently, as always, and there's very little that could be trimmed here, even at 134 minutes. The dialogue starts hitting leaden notes early, with a scene showing Chris Kyle's childhood home life, and never really lets up, with characters often bluntly stating the film's themes.

    Cooper's performance is completely unexpected, as he plays subtle notes of uncertainty underneath the confidence he projects. In other words, his performance is restrained even when his character isn't, while still leaving room…

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  • Birdman 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 16 Jan, 2015

    Iñárritu's film could easily be criticised as style over substance, and honestly, it probably is. The film examines a narcissistic actor's psyche in a somewhat shallow manner, with writing that is often inelegant and unenlightening, and an ensemble that it largely doesn't know what to do with.

    Birdman overcomes those stumbling blocks as one of the most best-crafted films of the year. Lubezki's cinematography has been edited to make the film appear as if it takes place in one continuous…

  • Before Sunset 2004

    ★★★★ Watched 09 Jun, 2013 2

    The only sequel I've ever seen that not only betters the original, but also makes the original better in retrospect. Linklater brings his usual excellent sense of time and place to Before Sunset, and the second encounter between Celine and Jesse is even more poignant than the first.

    Hawke is just as excellent here as he is in the first: he's fantastic with the dialogue, but my favourite moment of his performance is on the boat, with Hawke watching Delpy…