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Bryan has written 10 reviews for films with no rating.

  • Modern Romance

    Modern Romance

    Albert Brooks pushes his neurotic persona to the creepy breaking point, creating one of the most intensely self-centered characters I've ever seen. A very funny movie with a point.

  • Kung Pow: Enter the Fist

    Kung Pow: Enter the Fist

    This is probably the dumbest movie I’ve ever loved. I laughed uproariously throughout. Pretty much a one-man show from Steve Oedekerk, who is very clever at being stupid.

  • The Spirit of the Beehive

    The Spirit of the Beehive

    There are highly regarded films that are much praised but leave me completely unmoved, and so it is with Spirit of the Beehive, which is considered one of the great masterpieces from Spain. It's certainly a nice looking movie, and the child actors are solid, but the threadbare plot seems to go nowhere, and it doesn't have the nostalgic warmth of a childhood remembered. Perhaps something is lost in translation, or I just don't have the context to appreciate it. There's nothing really wrong with the movie - it's a very nice little film - but I can't place it among the greats.

  • Pépé le Moko

    Pépé le Moko

    Terrific proto-noir film about a gangster hero trapped in the impenetrable Casbah of Algiers, a criminal enclave where the police dare not venture. The movie paints an evocative portrait of life in the Casbah and deals with sex, crime, and violence in a realistic manner with a host of colorful characters. It's touted as a prime example of French poetic realism and the poetic moments are particularly powerful. Hollywood remade it as Algiers a year later, apparently shot-for-shot, and tried to destroy all copies of the French film. Written by director and film pioneer Julien Duvivier, with others.

  • Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles

    Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles

    Odd little film about a Japanese man trying to film an opera singer in a Chinese prison as a present for his dying son. There was obviously some significance to things I didn't fully understand - mainly the lead character's unwavering persistence and everyone's willingness to help him - but it also shines a light on modern Chinese culture and has some great emotional moments. The stunning mountain landscapes helped me through the dull parts. Written by Jingzhi Zou and director Yimou Zhang (Raise the Red Lantern, Hero, House of the Flying Daggers).

  • The Baader Meinhof Complex

    The Baader Meinhof Complex

    In the last decade or so there have been a lot of films about historical events that are little more than meticulously period recreations. A lot of them are European. The earliest I remember is Man in the Moon about Andy Kauffman. While they seem to get the events and details right, they all suffer from the same problems - impenetrable lead characters. The movies never show us what makes the characters tick, and it's impossible to like, dislike, or…

  • Silver Linings Playbook

    Silver Linings Playbook

    Two people with mental illness fall in love. This is my kind of romantic comedy, with a great performance from Bradley Cooper and strong support from Jennifer Lawrence, Robert DeNiro, and Jacki Weaver. The movie is too long and very clumsily forces a dance competition into the second act, but the sharp observation of mental illness is the script's strong point. Written by director David O. Russell from a book.

  • Harakiri

    Harakiri

    wow wow wow wow. This movie rocks. Very similar to Hero -- but it's more of a philosophical anti-Hero. Awesome stuff. Must see! Beautiful Criterion treatment. Script by Shinobu Hashimoto, who wrote a lot of Kurosawa's best movies (Seven Samurai, Rashomon, Throne of Blood, Hidden Fortress ) and is now one of my favorite screenwriters.

  • Life of Pi

    Life of Pi

    Life of Pi attempts something tricky, and I'm still on the fence about what I think of it. It's a movie inside a movie, and the movie inside is absolutely wonderful - a survival tale that's unique, thrilling, dramatic, humorous, and gorgeously photographed - everything you could want from great cinema. But the outside movie is dramatically flat and completely uninteresting. What's tricky is where the two movies meet. It presents a fantasy in all its cinematic glory, but presents…

  • Dark Passage

    Dark Passage

    Inventive noir where the first act is done in a first person camera POV, and it works better than Lady in the Lake which came before it. It's oddly unsettling and has a videogame feel to it. Luckily, the gimmick goes away just as it gets tiring, and we get Bogart in bandages and a weak little mystery with only a handful of characters. If it weren't for the great San Francisco locations, it would be a stageplay. First person…