• A Clockwork Orange

    A Clockwork Orange

    ★★★★

    A Clockwork Orange presents a multitude of mismatches between style, subject and fascination. Showing vicious violence and bare nudity accompanied by manic laughter and music by the great Ludwig van, A Clockwork Orange draws us into Alex' madness.

    For some reason it is not revolting. Instead the combination of Shakespearean English and random childish words as well as the seemingly commonplace perspective on violence establishes a certain curiosity. Mixing in moral ambiguity, mental programming and politics Kubrick bypasses the disgust usually connected to sadism and makes A Clockwork Orange a compelling picture.

  • The Informant!

    The Informant!

    ★★★

    The Informant! is a comedy that very well could have been a thriller. Whistleblowers can easily be portrayed as civilian undercover agents with the added benefit that they tell a story of importance.

    It is hard to maintain this image when the people involved are naive middle-aged men stumbling from one offense to the next and the whistleblower calls himself 0014 - twice as smart as 007. Incompetence is a core theme and makes the whole affair seem 50% unintentional…

  • Trafic

    Trafic

    ★★

    Trafic begins in a car factory. It will be all about cars. Its scenes play on the streets, on parking lots and garages. And it is car that provides the biggest laugh. The only laugh next to the windshield wiper one.

    If it was not for the sympathetic Monsieur Hulot one would have a hard time identifying the majority of Trafic as a comedy. An annoying PR lady and two macabre jokes involving a crashed wedding couple and a seemingly dead dog only worsen the situation.

    Trafic stands as the worst of Tati's movies.

  • PlayTime

    PlayTime

    ★★½

    For some reason, Arthaus, the publisher of the blu-ray I am watching deemed it unnecessary to include subtitles for PlayTime. Luckily this is a movie about sounds more than about dialogue.

    Lost in modern architecture the clumsy Monsieur Hulot experiences a number of harmless mishaps. The jokes are minimalist and convince as such. With the change of location towards the restaurant, the humour becomes more physical and sadly loses some of the minimalism.

    There are some great subtle jokes in PlayTime but not enough to entertain for its 2h runtime.

  • Dune

    Dune

    ★★★

    Dune, or rather Dune - Part One is the point of entry into a vast new world of epic scale. It introduces us to a multitude of characters, to skills, politics and dangers for 2.5h. Having its hands full with worldbuilding, it sacrifices the classic dramatic arc to concentrate fully on exposition.

    The world is a piece of beauty with its muted colours and architectural designs. It is a marvel to look at but looks better than it feels. Comparing…

  • The November Man

    The November Man

    ★★½

    Pierce Brosnan is back. But he is not 007 and he is not on her majesty's service. Quite the opposite really. Stuck in the crossfire of the CIA and the Russian president he plays the role of an ex-agent next to an ex-Bond girl.

    The November Man only just manages to achieve the status of a standalone. Not a great one but an average spy thriller that works mainly because it has Brosnan & Kurylenko at its front. Beyond them there…

  • The Dead

    The Dead

    ★★★

    Playing in Dublin in the year 1904, The Dead invites us to a christmas party hosted by two elderly ladies. They talk and dance. There is a speech, a piano recital and a song. Conflict only arises from the drunkenness of one of the guests.

    Time goes by rather quickly although little happens up until the end where two monologues bring an unexpected melancholy to the picture.
    Then again, The Dead is based on a short story and thus only…

  • Jour de Fête

    Jour de Fête

    ★★½

    Tati's Jour de Fête is a charming look at a village where the travelling fair has arrived. Tati plays the clumsy mailman who takes in all the action on his bicycle.

    Knowing Tati, the action and the physical comedy remain low-key and move gently. I use the word 'gently' to avoid the word 'slowly' which could applied if one graded Jour de Fête purely on its comedic value. At least for the majority of the movie. In its final quarter…

  • Scream 3

    Scream 3

    ★★½

    Number three of the successful franchise is the first one that can be titled a failure. It is a lackluster effort guilty of everything that one usually throws at sequels.

    The first two movies were self-concious, funny and brought in many ironic movie references. Scream 3 plays on a movie set but still manages to be further away from the 'movie within a movie' feeling. It is too obvious, too bland, too predictable. The same goes for the jokes which…

  • Scream 2

    Scream 2

    ★★★½

    Scream 2 is one of the few examples where the concept 'more of the same' works. By now we have settled into Craven's style and know what to expect. The movie has a lot of humour and constantly pokes fun at itself while the light horror keeps it lively.

    It is a movie about movies that taps deeply into the comedy streak. I was laughing a lot and was also very invested in figuring out whose face was hidden behind…

  • Scream

    Scream

    ★★★

    I am not familiar with horror. I watched the parody Scary Movie before I saw the movie it was referencing. But even I can recognise Scream as one of the movies that shaped a genre. It stands next to Halloween, A Nightmare on Elmstreet and Friday the 13th as the fourth major franchise.

    In contrast to the other franchises, Scream does not aim to scare. It is comical and self referential to a point where I started to wonder whether…

  • To Catch a Thief

    To Catch a Thief

    ★★★½

    With To Catch a Thief Hitchcock once again employs his favourite theme of the innocent man wrongly accused. Set on the French Riviera it is one of his most colourful and funny movies. Seeing how he made The Trouble with Harry in the same year, 1955 must have been his year of comedies.

    But it is not only the movie of the master of suspense. Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, the queen of the Hitchcock blondes, have an equal part…