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Jesse_Wroe has written 184 reviews for films during 2017.

  • The Wind and the Lion

    The Wind and the Lion

    ★★★★

    I'd love to know the background to the creation of this movie. How much of it is John Milius? Was the studio's grip strong enough to alter the entertainment value of the direction?

    The style is different than "Dillinger," but it deals with the same subject: the myth-making of Great Men, as they see themselves. The depression-era bank robber crafted an image as a folk hero, while the man on his trail, FBI chief Melvin Purvis, used state power to…

  • Songs From the North

    Songs From the North

    ★★★

    Informative and valuable for archival purposes, but there isn't much form. It's like the documentarians didn't have enough footage to make a satisfying feature. Still useful as an intro to the idea of North Korea as a myth maker for its subjects.

  • Laura

    Laura

    ★★★

    Overall it's well-made and well-acted (mostly), but the central mystery itself isn't that interesting and any love story in which a suspect falls for the cop is just disappointing and sad.

  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    ★★½

    Enjoyable entertainment. Insofar as an overtly episodic entry in a movie franchise can be dramatically satisfying, it's strengths come in particular moments, most of which are either visually appealing or effective action montages. Yet, there are a couple of thematically good moments too, which are strengthened by set pieces (dialog, fights, etc.).

    I actually liked this more than Episode 7 and Rogue One, but that's akin to saying that a particular transitory pocket in the greater story of, say, Harry Potter, is enjoyable as an isolated narrative.

  • Wake in Fright

    Wake in Fright

    ★★★★

    Still a great movie (with an unfortunate scene of animal cruelty).

  • The Bird with the Crystal Plumage

    The Bird with the Crystal Plumage

    ★★★★

    Watched the new blu-ray this time, looks great, much better than what I streamed on Fandor several months ago.

    Watching it again proves how hard a time I'm having quantifying and ranking the best gialli. Though it set the format that would be exploited throughout the giallo boom of the 1970s, I still kinda prefer the more overt horror stylings and gratuity of the subsequent rip-offs. But the movie has a unique look, doubtless provided by Academy Award winning DP…

  • Kuroneko

    Kuroneko

    ★★★★

    Finally got around to the Criterion Collection blu-ray I've owned for a year or two.

    I like the anti-samurai sentiment. Somebody should transpose this to the present, perhaps a ghost story in Iraq or Afghanistan, where war crimes are committed and civilians die, and US soldiers are haunted by their collateral damage.

  • What Have You Done to Solange?

    What Have You Done to Solange?

    ★★★★

    This went down a notch or two in my Gialli ranks, but I realized that there may not be a perfect Giallo. My top spots make a constellation, if anything, of the tropes and qualities of the genre, instead of placements won in strict competition.

    "What Have You Done To Solange?" has good storytelling, distinct and relatively developed characters, is notably melancholic, and is perhaps the best example of the London-set Gialli ("A Lizard in a Woman's Skin" comes second,…

  • The Other Hell

    The Other Hell

    ★★★

    Surprisingly slow at times. Much of the material seems to do nothing more than pad the running time. The film is nearly 90-minutes, I think tighter editing would improve it.

    Slowness is often intentional and fruitful, particularly when it's creepy and suspenseful, or when it reflects the convent lifestyle. But much of it meanders, which can induce sleep depending on the viewer's wakefulness (both viewings of this film happened very late at night and I couldn't avoid a doze or…

  • The Beyond

    The Beyond

    ★★★★

    My sister got a new flatscreen TV, around 40 inches I think, Samsung LED. It's an improvement from my smaller Sony Bavaria LCD. Basically, I want to rewatch my blu-ray collection, because it's apparent that the Samsung is better suited to handling the bits of blu-rays.

    There's more information all around: colors are distinct and vibrant, each object moves with stability, movement is fluid, all types of gradations—color spectrum, clarity, shades of shadows, and motion—are defined with natural brightness that…

  • Bride of Re-Animator

    Bride of Re-Animator

    ★★★

    Definitely has the sequel syndrome: rehashed, uninspired, flat humor, and less heart (except the one on the operating table). But, as a rehash it does produce more of the things that made "Re-Animator" so great.

    Brian Yuzna's direction is apparent, there's visual continuity from "Society" to this and even "Return of the Living Dead 3." It's not as assured nor classic like Stuart Gordon's style, but you get the stark angles and mild wavering that contributes to the zaniness. Screaming…

  • I, Madman

    I, Madman

    ★★½

    Notable as a kind of genre/aesthetic hybrid and the production value that feels like a transition from the 1980s to the '90s, but ultimately not that great.