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irajoel has written 18 reviews for films during 2015.

  • Mad Max: Fury Road

    Mad Max: Fury Road

    ★★★

    I must say that I am surprised over all the love and awards being thrown at Max this awards season, who would have thought it possible. I saw it last night and although hardly (pun intended) terrible I would never pick it out for best picture honors. True its not been a great year in film, and somewhere I think that the carrying on the shoulders of this film might also be a backlash against the mediocre "Spotlight" that at…

  • Brooklyn

    Brooklyn

    ★★★★★

    Simply irresistible. Who would have thought that this kind of movie would and could be made at this time and place. It stands as a sort of testament that intimate relatively small character driven and emotionally loaded films can still punch us in the gut and reward us emotionally and yes visually and spirituality as well and pull in the crowds both female and male. Maybe its partially because we are so starved for films that have stories to tell…

  • Spotlight

    Spotlight

    ★★½

    I took myself to the Bam Rose Cinema yesterday to see what is probably the most hyped movie of the Fall season. The critics have been ga ga over this tight movie about a cover up in Boston of a sex abuse scandal in the Catholic church and the efforts of the Boston Globe to expose the dirty deeds. And expose they do. I must say that I wasn't that impressed with the film, and yes I know I'm in…

  • The Gangster

    The Gangster

    ★★★½

    This little ‘B’ pebble in my shoe film noir gangster movie came as a complete surprise to me. It has a great cast including several actors cast against type. Barry Sullivan who usually played nice put upon guys is the gangster with a scar on his cheek no less who runs some rackets out in Neptune Beach, which stands in for Coney Island.
    Sullivan is being pushed and learned on by a bigger gangster rival played by Sheldon Leonard who…

  • An American in Paris

    An American in Paris

    ★★★

    I needed something light and fluffy so I picked up my double disc of “An American In Paris” which has never been one of my favorite musicals, and is not it turns out all that light and fluffy. It’s like a stale 500pd French pastry but never mind I figured I’d give it another go.
    I will say that I liked it better this time than ever before, but still have some problems and qualms about it. The story is…

  • Pickpocket

    Pickpocket

    ★★★★★

    Robert Bresson’s superb 1959 film about a young handsome thief living on and off the edge in Paris played (not acted) by Martin LaSalle.
    Bresson who was against using professional actors and preferred to put non actors in front of his camera calling them his interpreters or models. In this taunt and austere take on the crime melodrama, (he was no doubt influenced by Fuller’s “Pickup (Pickpocket) On South Street) but puts his own aesthetic, and atheistic sensibility on it.…

  • Eyes of Laura Mars

    Eyes of Laura Mars

    ★½

    This can easily be renamed Eyes of Faye Dunaway since her peepers are the real stars of the film. Never one of our more subtle of actresses, Dunaway who by the way still looked great at 37 acts out the role of a famous and fabulous fashion photographer with basically two expressions shock and fear both of which are shown through her popping eyes, that at times I thought would fall out of her head on to the floor. Faye…

  • Olive Kitteridge

    Olive Kitteridge

    ★★★★★

    The other day, a facebook friend put up a post about the lack of opportunities for actresses 50 and over and mentioned a few who are still vital and working. She then asked her friends to name any actresses that we like who are of that age and still working. The list was impressive and I mentioned Frances McDormand who is 58. A woman who appeared to have had no success at all in her acting ventures and appeared angry…

  • Inherent Vice

    Inherent Vice

    ★½

    I suppose my hating this film with a passion might be seen to some as a recommendation. After all they might say I'm not hip enough or intellectual enough to get this shaggy dog movie of an L.A detective romp based on the novel by that extreme “in”and cool writer Thomas Pynchon who I have never read, and who I will never read. Directed by the hip, cool and smart Paul Thomas Anderson who made three masterpieces early in his…

  • Clouds of Sils Maria

    Clouds of Sils Maria

    ★★★

    Clouds Of Sils Maria 2015

    Anchored by two tremendous performances by Juliette Binoche as Maria Enders an aging but still beautiful world renowned actress of stage and screen and Kristin Stewart as her harried but very capable assistant Valentine who when the film opens are on a speeding train on their way to Switzerland. Binoche is to accept a lifetime achievement award for her mentor and friend a famous but reclusive playwright who we never meet or see as he…

  • A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

    A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

    What is it about Vampire movies that keep drawing us to them. I usually check out most of the new ones (the exception being the Twilight franchise which I have no interest in) including this one, a first feature by the young female director Ana Lily Amirpour a Iranian by birth but brought up in Los Angles. I had no notion about the subject of the film but was drawn to it by its title (the best title of 2014)…

  • The Babadook

    The Babadook

    ★★★

    The Babadook 2014

    Very sad (all good ghost movies are sad), grim ghost like movie with dabs of horror mixed in which tells the story of a mother trying to raise her troubled seven year old son by herself. The husband and soon to be father was killed in a car accident on the way to the hospital where she gave birth to her son Sam who is facing deep problems in his young life including his uncelebrated birthdays which…