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  • Enough Said 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 04 Aug, 2014

    Love is a many splendored thing; so we are told. It is also sharp and vicious and rare is the person who can traverse it without leaving scraps of their soul behind like hanks of cloth on a barbed wire fence. It doesn’t stop us from throwing ourselves at it again, but maybe with our expectations a little dimmed and the emotional baggage a little heavier.

    This is the take on the romantic comedy of Nicole Holofcener’s Enough Said. In…

  • Contempt 1963

    ★★★½ Watched 03 Aug, 2014 2

    I'm not at all sure that I'm fully on board with Godard. I found A bout de souflle somewhat interminable, despite the elfin beauty of Jean Seberg, and I found le Mepris somewhat maddening at the same time as I admired its structure, the self-reflexive film-within-a-film, and Bardot's arse.

    I liked the opening scene where Bardot is reeling off her perfect body parts for Michel Piccoli's delectation. I took Godard's decision to shoot this scene in alternately red, natural, and…

  • Quatermass and the Pit 1967

    ★★★ Watched 03 Aug, 2014

    A tight Nigel Kneale script is slightly hamstrung by some hilariously wobbly special effects in Quatermass and the Pit. Roy Ward Baker could certainly direct an action scene on a tight budget but the creepy and paranoid tone of the film is just undermined by the effects.

    In all honesty however it makes it all the more fun when the actors keep their impeccable gravitas among the various bits of stuff being wobbled about on strings. The ‘Martian massacre’ scene…

  • Belle 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 01 Aug, 2014

    As much as I enjoyed Belle, I came away thinking that it is an unconventional story told in the most conventional way possible.

    It is a relentlessly manipulative film in that there isn't a single moment that you aren't being led through it like an old lady being helped across the street. Every shot and every note of music is choreographed to tell you exactly how to feel at the risk of being every bit as constraining as the myriad…

  • The Raid 2011

    ★★★★½ Rewatched 31 Jul, 2014

    My dad is best described as a passive viewer of films. He will sit and watch any film that's on without taking any of it in. He's one of those, 'Oh, that's that fella from that thing who was in that thing with her from that other thing,' kind of people.

    'What are you putting on now?' he asked last night.
    'The Raid,' I said.
    'Ok.'

    I think it was a bonding experience.

  • Barton Fink 1991

    ★★★★½ Watched 31 Jul, 2014

    Well if this is what happens when the Coens get writers' block, then I want some of that. Barton Fink was written during a period of struggle during the creation of Miller's Crossing and is a darkly funny and densely symbolic critique of the creative process and the blurred boundary between ‘high’ and ‘low’ art.

    John Turturro plays Barton Fink, a Jewish playwright who has some success on Broadway in 1941 with his first play, Bare Ruined Choirs. His agent…

  • Guilty of Romance 2011

    ★★★½ Watched 30 Jul, 2014

    Megumi Kagurazaka gives an unbelievable performance in Sion Sono's conclusion to the 'Hate' trilogy Guilty of Romance. She plays Izumi, the prim and neglected wife of a loathsome misogynist novelist.

    Unfulfilled by her life of drudgery she gravitates toward nude modelling, which leads to porn, and finally a descent into prostitution after a meeting with Mitsuko (Makoto Togashi) - a university lecturer who moonlights as one of the more deranged streetwalkers ever put to film.

    Sono's Shobuya, the Love Hotel…

  • 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…