Chris has written 24 reviews for films rated ★★★½ .

  • A Face in the Crowd

    A Face in the Crowd

    ★★★½

    I suppose films like this will always retain some relevance as long as mainstream media rewards whoever shouts the loudest with publicity and regular people repeatedly fall for the same old trick if it's given a new coat of paint. The narrative uses Lonesome Rhodes to epitomise these ideas, his fiercely boisterous attitude and fervent delivery are basically designed to whip crowds into a frenzy whilst pulling the wool over the their eyes. He turns out to be just as…

  • Carol

    Carol

    ★★★½

    I still feel almost exactly the same way about Carol as I did the first time around, it's so beautifully crafted yet just lacking the emotional connection it is evidently striving for.

    It finds Todd Haynes revisiting his trademark theme in scrutinising how the core values held by previous generations pressured people to conform to a life deemed socially acceptable. It uses the central same-sex romance between two individuals at different stages (the titular Carol who knows clearly what she…

  • California Split

    California Split

    ★★★½

    Robert Altman applies his free-flowing style to navigating the invigorating highs and the joyless lows found in the world of gambling, focusing on the zestful friendship between two seemingly dissimilar people and using their various antics to explore how they're both ultimately afflicted by the same malaise in their search for satisfaction. It manages to effectively capture the fiery nature of these dingy locations populated by unsavoury individuals through the fluid dialogue and the intense interactions. Easily the best thing…

  • April Story

    April Story

    ★★★½

    Thoroughly charming would be the most appropriate way to describe this straightforward story about the reserved Uzuki as she moves from the countryside to university in Tokyo and adjusts to her surroundings. It manages to capture those awkward feelings of apprehension and anticipation that everyone experiences when they're on the cusp of adulthood, still uncertain who they really are and what direction they want to go; being somewhere unfamilar amplifies every emotion, so comfort has to be found in the…

  • Audition

    Audition

    ★★★½

    Echoing what everyone else has said, it's definitely best to go into this as blind as possible. The contrast in mood between the initial plot set-up and the climactic section is pretty striking.

    The jaunty first act works as an enjoyable send-up of the typical romcom formula (two wounded people brought together through a zany circumstance), whilst still providing some interesting takes on misogyny. Particularly noteworthy is the way it looks how men in positions of power are so used…

  • Touch of Evil

    Touch of Evil

    ★★★½

    It's really unfortunate how Orson Welles' original vision for this film was compromised because there's enough intriguing elements here to suggest that he could have made something special. The restored cut patches things together to a satisfactory degree, but I feel like it's always blatantly obvious that something went on behind the scenes to affect the end product.

    This is a dark, seedy noir that really gets to the core of what the genre is all about by crafting a…

  • King Kong

    King Kong

    ★★★½

    I think it's easy to see why this is still considered to be one of the quintessential adventure flicks. It manages to evoke a fair share of mystery, tension, excitement and amusement that aptly encapsulates what makes the genre so enjoyable. The voyage into the unknown and the build-up to Kong's appearance are quite effective at creating anticipation, and once we get our first glimpse of the titular ape it's almost non-stop thrills until the climax. The pacing is impressively…

  • The Chaser

    The Chaser

    ★★★½

    The Chaser is cut from the same cloth as many of the other South Korean thrillers I've seen; an intense revenge piece meets procedural where the grisly subject matter is skilfully infused with an astute balance of fervent energy, dark humour and delicate moments of humanity. The most interesting addition here is depiction of the two central characters; the lead already has investigative experience which makes his knowledge plausible and the killer comes across as relatively pathetic which is a…

  • Jackie

    Jackie

    ★★★½

    I like how this sidesteps most of the trite formula that usually plagues biographical works, avoiding any grandstanding in order to craft something more reserved and contemplative. It's an astute decision to focus on a brief but arduous spell in Jackie Kennedy's life as it deftly presents the narrative as her painful recollections; a delicate deconstruction of the image she carefully constructed, exploring her mythmaking and grief under such immense public scrutiny. The solemn mood of the time is captured…

  • Before Sunset

    Before Sunset

    ★★★½

    Before Sunset continues the story of its predecessor 9 years down the line, Jesse and Celine reuniting in Paris as inquisitive as ever but with their bright-eyed youth now replaced by perceptive experience. Things are much more pragmatic and ruminative this time around; the duo's maturity leads them to contemplate the endless possibilities of life and the multifarious what ifs that have arisen as a result of that magical night they spend together years prior. Both Ethan Hawke and Julie…

  • Before Sunrise

    Before Sunrise

    ★★★½

    Escalating romantic attraction depicted via a series of conversations between two like-minded individuals; sincere, sensitive and carrying a dreamy lyricism that aims to capture the rush of connecting with somebody on a deeper level whilst ruminating on whether it is possible to find self-fulfillment through the eyes of another person. What's most noteworthy is how Linklater often frames the interactions between the central duo in either a stationary or methodical manner whilst the world around them appears to be in…

  • Walker

    Walker

    ★★★½

    Props to Alex Cox for basically torpedoing any chance he had of having a conventional directorial career in order to make something this vehemently left-wing and fiercely bonkers. The story of mercenary William Walker's stranglehold on Nicaragua as he becomes everything he swears he isn't (you never see people like that in positions of power anymore....) is used to reflect and scornfully critique American intervention in the Central America crisis at the time; Manifest Destiny, colonisation, imperialism and egalitarianism are…