Jesse_Wroe has written 64 reviews for films rated ★★★★ 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…

  • 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 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…

  • The Song of Stone

    The Song of Stone

    ★★★★

    Another good experimental short documentary about stone carvers. All shots are stills. It's an odd, creepy meditative look at the whole process of carving out stones. The music is almost mantric, as if the sounds of tools clanging and songs hummed and sung produce a trance.

  • The Weavers of Nishijin

    The Weavers of Nishijin

    ★★★★

    A very good short "documentary" that's heavy on experimental aesthetics. But, it's almost like a New Wave feature condensed to less than 30 minutes. The music is excellent, the photography phenomenal, and the chopped-up voice-overs are informative yet unsettling. Any fan of Hiroshi Teshigahara and Nagisa Oshima should like this.

  • Voice Without a Shadow

    Voice Without a Shadow

    ★★★★

    Hardly a classic, but it accomplishes everything it sets out to achieve. Anybody who likes to watch old black and white mystery flicks should like it.

    It's interesting to see Suzuki's direction in a more conventional style, before he became something of a renegade. Still, it looks very good; the Nikkatsu Scope lens is nice and wide and it's used to get a lot of detail from the settings.

    I enjoyed several familiar acting faces: Yôko Minamida (Auntie in "Hausu"),…

  • The Small Back Room

    The Small Back Room

    ★★★★

    Really good, better than Black Narcissus for sure.

  • Amélie

    Amélie

    ★★★★

    One of the few good rom-coms. I respect it.

    I like this idea of a woman who goes out of her way to get somebody's attention ("stratagems"), yet is too "cowardly" to confront them. Reminds me of me, but my heart is actually becoming brittle and dry like the old guy's bones. Oh well.

    Also, pretty sure I'll become that prompter in the cellar whispering comebacks to people on the street.

  • Born in Flames

    Born in Flames

    ★★★★

    Raw, radical, and spirited. The kind of thing that's great because it's rough around the edges—the kind that pierce. Reminds me of "They Live."

    I'm not a socialist, nor am I an idealist about democracy. However, I like this movie's critical approach to the sexism, racism, and classism that could (would) exist under a nominally Democratic Socialist regime. I've always found that black/intersectional feminism gets to the root of social injustice more than the moderate feminism.