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  • Her 2013

    ★★★★½ Watched 30 Jul, 2014 2

    I almost switched Her off after ten minutes as Theodore Twombley's emotional situation at the beginning of the film felt uncomfortably and upsettingly close to my own, and I'm twitchingly sensitive at the moment to anything that seems to have a parallel with my own experience. Not since we last sat down and watched Take this Waltz and realised, 'Fuck, that's us!' has a film been distressingly on the nose.

    It wasn't just that Theodore's situation was similar, but Spike…

  • Kwaidan 1964

    ★★★½ Watched 29 Jul, 2014

    I only came across the work of Masaki Kobayashi very recently having been convinced to watch Harakiri based on its near unanimous praise on this august site. Following my viewing of that masterful work I was intrigued to hear that Kobayashi had also produced an anthology of traditional Japanese ghost stories. Kwaidan was therefore whacked on to my rental list with all due haste.

    The film contains four stories, all from Lafcadio Hearn's early 20th century collections of ghost stories.…

  • RoboCop 2014

    ★★ Watched 27 Jul, 2014 1

    I really wanted to give this a fair crack of the whip, but there is no getting away from comparisons with the classic original. The potential was definitely there for something great and the cast certainly whetted my appetite.

    Buuuuut, it's all a little bit of a bloodless bore. To be fair, it does try to do something a little bit different to Paul Verhoeven's original. It gives some insight in Alex Murphy's home life, and there are some nice…

  • Love Exposure 2008

    ★★★★ Watched 27 Jul, 2014

    Perhaps the strangest love story you will ever see, Sion Sono's utterly mad Love Exposure is a four-hour beautiful mess of a movie.

    Yū Honda (Takahiro Nishijima) becomes obsessed with sin after the death of devoutly Catholic mother and his father's subsequent induction into the priesthood. After his father's demands that he confess his sins become extreme, Yū falls in with a crowd of petty criminals and eventually becomes the acknowledged king of the furtive art of upskirt photography. One…

  • The Lego Movie 2014

    ★★★★½ Watched 24 Jul, 2014

    If you can get around the central irony of a film devoted to individualism and railing against corporate conformity being essentially a hundred-minute commercial, then you can't possibly fail to be charmed by The Lego Movie.

    Mixing some incredibly solid-looking CGI visuals, a great voice cast, and the instinctive anarchy that really captures the joy and imagination of being a child, this is a success on every single level.

    The plot is standard 'chosen one saves land in peril' fare…

  • Like Someone in Love 2012

    ★★★ Watched 24 Jul, 2014

    I think I'm going to find myself as an admirer of Abbas Kiarostami's work without actually liking it too much. Both Certified Copy, of which this film seems a companion piece, and A Taste of Cherry left me clutching for something intangible.

    Like Certified Copy Kiarostami's characters assume and shed identities like clothes, and the scenes in various cars also suggest that transience (albeit a confined transience).

    For a simple storyline, Kiarostami has no intention of making it easy. It…

  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes 2011

    ★★★½ Watched 21 Jul, 2014

    There is an argument to be made that this prequel ruins the mystery and charm of the classic original in the same way that I accused Oz The Great and Powerful of doing. Yet whereas I believe that film is truly demeaning to the original, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is a pretty fine work.

    For a blockbuster it comes across as a restrained character study that uses some very decent CGI and reliably sterling motion capture work…

  • Red Road 2006

    ★★★★½ Watched 20 Jul, 2014

    I was a little underwhelmed by Andrea Arnold's Wuthering Heights despite her innovative approach to the source material. I was delighted therefore to find her feature debut Red Road such an obtuse and enigmatic triumph.

    Kate Dickie, who I've previously seen giving able support in the likes of Game of Thrones, Prometheus and Filth stuns in the lead role of Jackie Morrison, a CCTV operator for Glasgow City Council who takes her role as protector for the people she sees…

  • The Guard 2011

    ★★★½ Rewatched 21 Jul, 2014

    John Michael McDonagh's debut suffers a little in comparison to the darkly superlative and moving Calvary, yet the subsequent viewing of that film has led me to a new appreciation of The Guard.

    I dismissed it initially as a knockabout comedy, albeit a very funny one. On a rewatch however, I can see the seeds for the more expansive emotional tone of its successor.

    As with Calvary the film is anchored by a reliably great turn from Brendan Gleeson as…

  • The Phantom of Liberty 1974

    ★★★★ Watched 18 Jul, 2014

    Noone could accuse Luis Buñuel of mellowing in his old age. Quite the opposite in fact. The Phantom of Liberty, his penultimate film made at the age of 1974, is a scabrous, scatological, prolonged yet unfocused attack on the mores of bourgeois French society.

    Using dream logic and surreal humour, Buñuel takes us on a strange yet brutally amusing Odyssey through seventies France. Like the narrative device used by the likes of Monty Python when moving between sketches, and by…

  • The Spirit of the Beehive 1973

    ★★★★ Watched 16 Jul, 2014

    I can't remember when I first became aware of the concept of death. I'm sure that I would have been aware of it in the abstract from a fairly young age. Certainly, I was almost nine before I dealt with it directly with the death of a grandparent. Children seem to be able to assimilate information by a strange osmosis, and there can be any kind of trigger or stimulus that can set off a chain reaction of half-formed ideas…

  • Frankenhooker 1990

    ★★½ Watched 12 Jul, 2014

    A genuinely bonkers take on Mary Shelley's classic. Frank Henenlotter takes the nuts and bolts (fuck you very much, I'm here all week etc) of that cautionary tale about going beyond the ethical limits of science, and presents us with a cautionary tale about going beyond the ethical limits of science while also informing us that all hookers will go fucking mental for crack.

    A genuine public service I think you will agree.

    Its really impossible to review this on…