Bradley Kurushima's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

On Dangerous Ground

Unlike anything I've seen in the noir-genre. Unique for all of it's contradictions: stylistically in the mixture of noir and melodrama, and thematically for the contrast of majesty and sleaze. Also, visually interesting use of nervous steady-cam shots,

Interstellar
Interstellar(2014)

How is Nolan not recognized as the Kubrick of our generation? He is truly a master of the medium of film. This is science fiction in the strictest sense, a story about scientific ideas and the dramatic conflict that results. Beautiful and profound.

China Girl
China Girl(1987)
½

It's not perfect and it may not even be relevant anymore but it is a compelling glimpse back into New York in the late 80s. It has all of Ferrera's typical musical and visual flair and his usual bravado in spades. If the 2 leads had been stronger, this would have been a masterpiece.

48 HRS
48 HRS(1982)

I feel conflicted about this. On one hand, Walter Hill has created a visually rich and musically engaging old-school(though not at the time) action flick. Nolte and Murphy gave incredible chemistry and SF is treated as third star. However, it is extremely hard to get over how incredibly racist, sexist and just plain offensive the ideas are in this film. It is certainly a product of it's time, and that in itself is fascinating, but it has certainly not aged well. What was once risquà (C) now comes off as being simply mean-spirited.

Nightwatch
Nightwatch(1998)
½

A mediocre english language remake, despite the great cast. Treat yourself to the original.

Stormy Monday

A fine example of lat 80s chic. A young Sting playing a solo on a contrabass is reason enough to see this film, but the Newcastle setting is also exploited for the smokiest, dreariest mood possible.

The Trip
The Trip(2011)
½

You will either love this or hate this, depending on your tolerance of droll British humour and never-ending impersonation contests. And while the plot is quite weak, the ad-libbed performances are remarkable.

Nightcrawler
Nightcrawler(2014)
½

Jake Gyllenhaal is in top form and his performance is not short of mesmerizing. The supporting cast is sharp, the writing is poignant and the cinematography oozes colour. Treat yourself to this unique thriller. It's not always pleasant but it is 'awesome'.

Up
Up(2009)
½

A great film for kids that will satisfy adults as well. On top of the predictably fine animation is a commendable level of tastefully restrained jokes and observation on morality. I was particularly struck by the absence of pandering to gross gender/age/class generalizations that often plague children's films. Classy, touching and genuinely funny.

Nebraska
Nebraska(2013)

Stark, beautiful and touching. Both the cinematography and the performances are mesmerizingly good.

The Big Easy
The Big Easy(1987)

Great atmospheric crime/romance drama that oozes with style. It is successfully enjoyable despite the cringeworthy un-PC moments, that really date the film.

Phantasm: Remastered

Ok, it's not Shakespeare but it's just as inventive and so much funner. The occasional cringe moments are far outweighed by the delightful surprises.

Blue Ruin
Blue Ruin(2014)
½

Wow. A great new take on the revenge genre. This film elevates the exploration genre to the level of high drama.

The Double
The Double(2014)

Visually arresting though perhaps too bleak for most to enjoy. Reminiscent of 80's era Gilliam.

The One I Love

Great debut film! Looked crisp, the dialogue felt authentically loving and the central premise is unique to say the least.

The Entity
The Entity(1982)
½

Barbara Hershey does the most she can with this fairly average script, and while the central concept is terrifying and some cinematography interesting the cumulative effect is not very entertaining. Not a bad film by any means but far too dialogue laden.

Stricken
Stricken(2011)

Just terrible... in nearly all aspects.

Topkapi
Topkapi(1964)
½

A dizzying kaleidoscope of action, comedy and technicolor. Dassin proves his mastery over colour film as he did with black and white.

National Lampoon's Animal House

It's a shame that all the even stupider films influenced by this one have actually sullied it's merits. Animal house is both irreverent and on-point though perhaps increasing offensive in millennial viewings.

Gone Girl
Gone Girl(2014)

Not at all what I expected, and I was pleasantly surprised by how bizarre and subversive this film was. Fincher still has A-game!

The Dark Knight Rises
½

A perfect final instalment to the Nolan trilogy that ties all three films together satisfyingly. This film would not be perfect as a stand alone but it also makes no claims to do so. What it does do perfectly is find a satisfying conclusion to the ongoing story arcs without pandering to cliche.

The Abominable Dr. Phibes

Insane. I have quite seen another film like this. And while not totally effective as a comedy or a horror, it does show great visual flair and great creativity.

Daughters of the Dust

Intriguing, and at times sumptuous but far more academic than entertaining.

The Glass Shield
½

Gorgeously lit, but infuriatingly heavy handed and therefore not very enjoyable. Burnett's Killer of Sheep is something to watch for the same commentary on institutionalized racism but far more engaging and poetic.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Not revolutionary but well crafted and a pleasure to watch.

Dead Presidents
½

Both stylish and poignant.

Holy Ghost People
½

Not sure what to make of this. Was it a fever dream state or just poorly paced? There are some key times when things really clicked and at other times the viewer is left wanting more cohesion.

Coherence
Coherence(2014)
½

Wow. A very unexpected gem and a promising debut. The less you know about this film, the better.

The Narrow Margin
½

Tight little b-production, with a handful of great scenes but mostly triumphs due to the snappy dialogue and execution.

Boyhood
Boyhood(2014)

Wow. Probably, objectively, the best coming of age story I've ever seen.

Maleficent
Maleficent(2014)

Entertaining and at times enchanting but plagued by very average character development. I love the revisionist-feminist take on this old story but it didn't quite go far enough. Not that we expected more from Disney...

The Ipcress File
½

Toned down Bond? And them some. This film captures more than the idiosyncrasies of the times, it presents a sharp, paced take on the procedural that is deeply rooted in a cold 60's aesthetic. In a way, much cooler than Bond, because it tries much less to be cool.

The Bling Ring

Timely but unsatisfying. Touching on much of the same issues as Bring Breakers, Bling Ring fails to create to real 'wow' moments that transcend the morality. While breakers feels tragic, bling merely feels sad. That is perhaps the point but it doesn't encourage a rewatch.

Robot Jox
Robot Jox(1989)

Not really a good movie by any conventional standards but good trashy fun.

Stuck
Stuck(2008)
½

Pretty riveting but also oddly pointless.

Village of the Damned

While the original squeaked by on ingenuity the follow-up, though I love carpenter, fails on nearly very level.

Ne le Dis à Personne (Tell No One)
½

A welcome surprise, labyrinthine and rich in atmosphere.

The Unfaithful Wife (La femme infidèle)
½

The central mystery that drives this film is so engrossing that the viewer almost relishes in the most mundane details, searching for meaning.

Hustle
Hustle(1975)
½

Deeply unsatisfying. Not because it lacks anything in acting, script or direction but because it is such a deeply sad and cynical film.

Proxy
Proxy(2014)
½

A very odd and difficult drama to watch, though strangely compelling thanks to the careful pacing and intriguing visual non sequiters.

The Transformers - The Movie
½

There is some weird stuff going on in this film. Aside from all the moral absolutism and cringe-worthy stereotyping, the film has an odd medieval vibe. This film will probably not win-over any new fans at this point but it is a truly awesome way to nostalgically slum it for a few hours.

My Beautiful Laundrette
½

Odd, odd, odd. Despite truly bizarre pacing, this film has all the classic elements (albeit, in the rough) of a Stephen Frears film: unique colour palette, marginalized Brits, classy soundtrack. Plus, Daniel Day-Lewis is mesmerizing. This was a film that needed to be made.

Moonrise Kingdom

A stunning film, though possibly my least favourite Anderson film after Fantastic Mr Fox. I found myself wishing we could spend more time with some of the adult supporting cast.

Comfort of Strangers
½

Venice never looked so good on film, but the narrative push never quite sits in. I mostly enjoyed looking at this film and hated almost all of the plot driving dialogue (which fails to drive the plot anywhere). Helen Mirren steals all of her scenes, as usual.

Knowing
Knowing(2009)

Not without some reservations, I would argue that this film is not the train wreck it has been made out to be. There are some plot ambiguities and the leap of faith required to enjoy this film may ironically be greater than most can afford. However, this is still a Proyas film and as such is blessed with interesting art design and high aesthetic merit. I confess that I was mostly captivated by this film, though slightly put off by the ending.

Pompeii
Pompeii(2014)

In a word: unnecessary. This doesn't necessarily mean bad, more of a guilty slum viewing. Gladiators? Volcanic apocalypse? It's more than a little entertaining, just not very potent.

Under the Skin

Wow. What a great art-house sci-fi pic. The strong feminist undertones give some thought provoking substance to the unbelievable visuals and arresting score. It's worth waiting 5-8 years for Glazer film if this is the result.

X-Men: Days of Future Past
½

Everything you could possibly want from Singer's return to the X-Men franchise.

I Will Follow You Into The Dark

Very uneven. At times the dialogue is excruciating and at other times the tension is delightfully uncomfortable.

RoboCop
RoboCop(2014)
½

A fairly routine action flick and totally unnecessary remake. Worth the price of a rental but not very memorable. It's a shame really, Jackson, Oldman and Keaton deserved a better script.

RoboCop
RoboCop(1987)

Classic 80s excess delivered with a keen wit and subversive intentions.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

A very satisfying reimagining for this franchise, which successfully avoids all of the mistakes made by Tim Burton in his attempt to remake the the seminal 1968. This version will not alienate those unfamiliar with the franchise but still gives some cheeky referential jokes for à 1/4ber fans. The CGI allow the advancement of the plot and aid the characterization of simians, rather than just wowing the audience (which they also succeed in doing). After a second viewing I was impressed by how personal this film is.

Her
Her(2013)

Wow. Fantastic from art direction to characterization. Finally a (soft) science fiction that poses some serious questions about how communication mediating technology has already radically shaped our private lives and society at large. It's greatest achievement is to do all of this without coming off as preachy, clinical or overbearing.

The LEGO Movie
½

You are right to approach this project with extreme skepticism. How good can a movie about a toy franchise be? You may also be surprised how well it all comes together. The animation is a remarkable achievement and the written ranks among other family films that pleas children with quick action but still satisfy adults with ironic referential humour.

Quatermass and the Pit (Five Million Years to Earth)(The Mind Benders)

Enjoyable pulp viewing but not very memorable. Though the potboiler tension is effective the great premise is never fully realized.

Anna
Anna(2014)
½

Despite the hackneyed start, the film does boil to a very satisfying climax, and it we'll worth the weight. I'm very interested to see a sophomore attempt by this director and see what Ombra films tackles next.

Silent Running
½

Some aspects of this film will please movie goers, the rolling exterior shots and Bruce Dern's performance, but the is too much unrealized potential for this to be a truly great film. The story meanders and a times drags. Recommended for sci-fi fans, and for anyone who is generally tired of Hollywood sci-fi clichà (C)s.

Strictly Ballroom
½

A very pleasing taste of Luhrmann's future work, stamped with his now familiar hysterical, colourful, and cheeky trademarks.

Snowpiercer
Snowpiercer(2014)

Wow. You have certainly never seen a film quite like this, and while it is at times unpleasant, it is so creative that you are drawn right into the murky dystopian cautionary tale and taken along for the ride. Great international cast and fabulous art direction.

The Gate
The Gate(1987)

Odd. It's no gremlins but it is unexpectedly satisfying by cheap matinee fright flick standards. The story is borderline asinine but the special effects are quick good, like a Harryhausen flick of yesteryear.

The Hole
The Hole(2001)

Very unsatisfying...

Trauma (Dario Argento's Trauma)

Ok, admittedly not Argento's finest work but there s still plenty to admire. The hazy perpetual dusk of Minneapolis is perfectly translated to widescreen in rich autumnal colours. My biggest complaint with this film was the belaboured acting. Beautiful to watch (in a grotesque sort of way) but painful to listen to. Brad Dourif's brief cameo is almost worth a viewing alone.

The Big Lebowski

Masterful! This is Coen brothers at their finest, with everything including the kitchen sink thrown in.

Sleuth
Sleuth(1972)

Fun. The cat and mouse performances are a delight to watch but I often wonder why plays are made into films. I would have loved to see this on stage!

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Excellent sophomore effort. Like Thor 2, this also was darker and more challenging than the original. And while the social commentary was not quite as challenging as conspiracy films of the 1970s (nice use of Redford) it is after all a Captain America film and as such did a splendid job of posing difficult questions without sacrificing the breakneck action!

Cosmopolis
Cosmopolis(2012)
½

More of an essay than a film. Myself, I don't appreciate that. I prefer a little more narrative in my entertainment but the film is surprisingly visually dense considering almost the entire thing is conversations between people sitting in a car. Great ending though!

Welcome to the Punch

Borderline incoherent but what flair! This film had the grit of Shallow Grave but the dazzle of Sunshine. Fans of Danny Boyle will appreciate this but probably few will recommend it to their friends. It remains a rich hidden pleasure that merits a rewatch.

A Little Princess
½

If I had children, I would want to watch this film with them.

Noah
Noah(2014)

Not Aronofsky's finest, but still far more interesting and successful than most other directors' better efforts. The biggest hurdle is simply the source material. It's tough to do
Old Testament! It seems to me an endeavour that is bound to create camps and ultimately disappoint both. Purists will object to creative license, and those with aversion to gospel in popular cinema will get their hackles up. But I will say this... Imagine how disastrous this film could gave been say if Michael Bay or Zach Snyder had taken the helm. We should all be thankful for that!

The Machine
The Machine(2014)

Perhaps loftier in ambition than it actually delivers, this film is still visually stunning at times and mostly thought provoking throughout. Certain key elements shine, such as the economic art direction and pulsating score. However, this film, like so many other contemporary sci-fi films, never fully commit to ideas and instead sacrifice screen time for, what feels like, mandatory post-Matrix action sequences.

The Anderson Tapes

Singularly unique... Bizarro Quincy Jones moog soundtrack paired with typically dialogue busy Lumet tone and unorthodox editing throw some real curveballs.

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty

Is this a great film? No. But it is very satisfying, from the soundtrack to the beautiful cinematography. This is the kind of film you keep on standby for a rainy day.

Blood Ties
Blood Ties(2014)

Comparisons to Lumet's work aside, there are some fine performances that keep this film grounded and carry the very discouraging narrative. A great homage to Melville, Lumet and so many other fabulous crime-drama directors from the 1970s.

Brainstorm
Brainstorm(1983)
½

An exceptional science fiction film that seems to just miss the mark. In this open ended meditation on the applications and abuses of technology, ontology is placed front and centre. Though the film seems to meander and plaid a bit, there is great momentum as the film approaches it's unlikely and ambitious finale.

The Getaway
The Getaway(1972)

Don't bother with the remake, this is the real deal. A film that could only be made in the 70s. Raw and explosive.

The Counselor

Not Ridley's finest work, nor is it McCarthy's most compelling but it was an interesting watch with enough meat to merit a rewatch in the future. The characters are for most part pretty despicable yet strangely fascinating along with the whole lurid set up.

The Wolf of Wall Street
½

Surprisingly engaging at 3hours in length. I was surprised at how successfully comedic this film comes off given it's subject matter. DiCaprio turns in another fine performance.

Dance with a Stranger
½

Lurid and heavy handed but richardson's performance is mesmerizing.

Mirror Mirror
½

I'm not sure what to make of this film. The sound editing was certainly a challenge to appreciate but the overall art direction had all of the flair and pomp you'd expect from a Singh joint. I found the lighthearted comedic treatment compelling at times and disappointing at others.

Enemy
Enemy(2014)
½

Fantastically obscure and irresistible until the final frame. Upon finishing the credits, I immediately wanted to start the film from the start all over again. Fans of the book may not appreciate the liberties, but it is definitely the work of an auteur.

Somewhere in Time
½

Some moments really shine in this film thanks to the classy location shoot, interesting script and Reeves' and Seymour's chemistry. However, the horrendously saccharine score detracts from the over all feel of the film, resulting in an a made-for-TV atmosphere.

One Dark Night

Though not a terrible film it does suffer from all around cheapness and general listlessness. Considering how much banal "character development" the audience must endure the pay off is a weak reward.

12 Years a Slave
½

Astonishing. Great from the performances down to Zimmer's score!

Playtime
Playtime(1973)

A masterful example of physical comedy that also asks some important questions about modernity. Anyone who is remotely interested in history will find this film a fascinating documentation of the the daily routines, idiosyncrasies and the concerns of Parisians during the 60s. The attention to detail is impressive. And fun! Watching Tati is a sublime pleasure.

Murder by Decree
½

Though if meanders and eventually preaches by the end, the overall atmosphere is spot on. The chemistry between Holmes and Watson is prefect and Bob Clark gives The Ripper some very disturbing treatment without the excesses of horror.

Trance
Trance(2013)

This may be a sleeper hit. It certainly doesn't resonate the way Trainspotting did, in fact it feels much closer to Shallow Grave in that it's surprisingly low-key. But there is just enough dazzling camera play and pulsing music to secure a cult following.

Out of the Furnace
½

Lurid and lyric. The performances are top notch, especially Bale who carries the whole picture on his nuanced character study of man uprooted and searching for meaning.

After the Dark
½

A noble but very unsatisfying attempt to dramatize philosophical discourse. Will this become a cult classic as A Boy and his Dog did? Time will tell.

Ain't Them Bodies Saints

Lyric beauty. The closest thing to a Malick film without being Malick.

Eddie and the Cruisers
½

Pretty atrociously obtuse plot and very questionable acting at times, but man us the soundtrack great. It's worth it for the performances alone.

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
½

An ordeal to sit through, though very rewarding if you can. Slow as molasses and as dense as well.

Horror of Dracula
½

Adequately entertaining. Christopher Lee's creepy Dracula is the only really interesting aspect of this film.

Brighton Rock

I had hoped for more out of this remake given the superb cast and alterations to the source material. In the end, the youth riots of 60s Brighton probably stand out as the most interesting aspect of this film.

Choose Me
Choose Me(1984)
½

A little on the slow side but what it lacks in energy it makes for with beautifully constructed tableaux of LA 80s chic!

Room 237
Room 237(2013)
½

Very interesting and totally absurd. Anyone who loves film should see this.

A Single Shot

Heavy. Sam Rockwell is, as always, astonishing and he carries the entire picture. But, wow is it bleak. Very hard to find enjoyment in this pic, outside of the formal brilliance.

Kill Me Again
½

Not a bad film but not impressive either. A modest neo-noir entry that fails to capitalize on the potentially dazzling setting and accomplished cast.

We Are The Night

An unexpected surprise. I went into this film hoping to slum into the escapism and instead discovered an unlike gem in the vampire cannon. Slick without being exploitative and introduces some new food for thought in the discourse of vampire morality.

In the Heat of the Night
½

An important film for it's time that has aged very well thanks to Quincy Jones' soulful soundtrack, great performances and stylish direction.

3:10 to Yuma
3:10 to Yuma(1957)

Beautifully shot anti-western potboiler. In my opinion, not quite as classy as High Noon but very poetic.

The Last Days On Mars

Not a bad piece of pulp genre writing but nothing that merits a rewatch either.

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

Utterly divine madness! A little too esoteric for children. Better suited for the young at heart.

Upside Down
Upside Down(2013)

Beautiful visual can't quite compensate for all of it's flaws. Jim Sturgess' narration nearly made me turn this off after 3 minutes of viewing. And while I'm glad I stuck it out for the panoramic vistas, I couldn't shake the feeling that a great opportunity was squandered in this film. What should have been a great film was merely an enjoyable 2hours of fluff.

Closed Circuit
½

Fine acting can't really save this film that tries to say a lot and manages to convoy very little. In the end it has the feel of a very compelling made for TV movie.

Bad Lieutenant
½

Formal brilliance and powerful performances but not a very satisfying viewing.

American Hustle

Terrible hair, terrible suits and everything else is pure genius. Wonderfully executed crime pic that manages to inject comedic complexity in all of it's characters without detracting from the narrative whole.

Tenebre (Unsane)

Classic Argento giallo complete with insane disco music and mind boggling plot twists. Some stylistic notes such as epic crane panning shots elevate this film to the level of high art despite it's lurid themes and the trashy characters that populate it.

Sorry, Wrong Number
½

Barbara Stanwyck's frenetic performance really propel this film above the standard melodrama fare. Her escalating hysteria is achieved perfectly and, with some nice narrative techniques, allows the audience to escape the confines of the single room set. Some brilliant compositions and boom shots give the film a nice sense of visual style, which makes up for the rather tame story. Forget that you know the ending after 10 minutes of watching and enjoy the ride.

Dead End
Dead End(2003)
½

WTF? Seriously, what did I just watch? This film film defied almost all of my expectations for better or for worse.

The Seventh Victim
½

Good, though I had hoped for slightly more.

The Set-Up
The Set-Up(1949)

Nice little fight picture that achieves a lot through great economy.

The Outfit
The Outfit(1974)
½

Omg this is an unexpected gem with a hypnotic performance by Duval.

Wait Until Dark

Great economical potboiler studded with fine performances all around, especially the young Alan Arkin.

Superman II
Superman II(2006)
½

Who knows how to review this film. I love Superman and while this is a fascinating project/release it is still not very good. You really get the sense that this film is the end result of cobbling together some very compromised source material (with the best intentions) the best it could be. This is a brilliantly thrown together "what's in the fridge" pasta made from questionable leftovers.

Nattevagten (Nightwatch)
½

I squirmed delightfully throughout this film and occasionally laughed out loud at the black humour.

Beyond the Door II (Schock) (Suspense)

This film is nearly unwatchable for it's horrendous dialogue and/or English dubbing. Bava still manages to impress with visual flare but it is only a shadow of his former brilliance. Fantastically creepy premise though...

Il Profumo della Signora in Nero
½

Hypnotic fever dream that is only occasionally betrayed by some sloppy synched dubbing that makes the dialogue nearly intolerable. Overall, this film is exquisitely impressive in it's juxtaposition of gaudy baroque flourish and stark economy.

Twilight
Twilight(1998)
½

Great washed up neo-noir concept but never really lives up to the promise because it fails to exploit any sense of mystery.

Still of the Night
½

An odd neo-noir that succeeds when it exploits the strong Jungian undertones but mostly plods and struggles to find an identifiable character.

A Band Called Death

Not as interesting as I had hoped. This film could well gave been told in an hour.

The Limey
The Limey(1999)
½

I had thought, until recently, that I did not like Soderberghs body of work but this film was a delightful surprise. Incredible editing, storytelling and ability to get nuanced performances from his actors.

Errors Of The Human Body
½

Visually taught and emotionally murky. Cool colour palette and cool emotions run deep through this production.

The Iceman
The Iceman(2013)
½

I had high expectations for thus film and consequently found it a little underwhelming. Mostly, this film succeeds solely through Shannon's electric performance.

Thirst
Thirst(1979)

A very uneven film. Some very interesting themes and camera work but ultimately it fizzles put under it's own absurd weight. Worth watching for some hallucinatory special effects.

Blood and Black Lace (Sei donne per l'assassino)
½

Phenomenal. Dazzling from the opening credits right until the final frame.

The Beguiled
The Beguiled(1971)

Weird... but still an interesting Freudian drama that boasts some flamboyant cinematography and terribly voice over monologues.

Hammett
Hammett(1982)
½

Fantastic set pieces in this unusual neo-noir.

Prisoners
Prisoners(2013)

Wow. This is a film that will stay with you if you can stick with it.

We're No Angels

2 things shine in this film: Neil Jordan's fantastic location shooting and Robert DeNiro's comedic timing.

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

Hilarious! A great Xmas alternative if you're feeling uninspired by the classics.

Little Caesar

Pretty tame by modern standards but hard to ignore it's stamp on nearly all rags-to-riches gangster narratives since.

Dark Mirror
Dark Mirror(2007)

Showed some promise and final was particularly labyrinthine and impressive but most sort of cheap.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

An improvement on the first instalment though it still begs the question "why has this taken 3 films to tell this story?"

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
½

Just as good if not better than the first!

About Time
About Time(2013)
½

A film that flirts with some saccharine and trite territory and comes dangerously close to derailing at several points but manages to maintain it's charm. Definitely a notch above standard rom-com fare.

Zero Dark Thirty
½

A difficult viewing but one that poses many open-ended questions. Neither an endorsement nor a condemnation of the tactics used to seek justice and enact revenge, and that is this films greatest strength.

The Shop Around the Corner

Pretty entertaining orchestration of meet-cute scenarios. Not overwhelming as a whole but perhaps the best ending for a rom-com ever!

The Spy Who Loved Me
½

In general, this film starts out wonderfully and then about 2/3 the way through something derails and all of the charm becomes self indulgent, wrapped up with an insulting ending. Great title song though!

Thunder Road
Thunder Road(1958)

Awesome. Mitchum is the original baaaaad-ass!

High Noon
High Noon(1952)

Sensational, lean, crisp western. The black and white cinematography still looks gorgeous today, in the world of digital 3D.

And as a footnote, the fact that John Wayne hated this film because the sherif had to ask the townsfolk for help and is eventually aided by his wife, is another reason why I loath John Wayne.

Cloud Atlas
Cloud Atlas(2012)
½

Wow. A truly impressive undertaking.

Carrie
Carrie(2013)

Not bad in its own right but terribly compared to the original. While Moretz is often better than Spacek the film lacks DePalmas visual flair, resulting a rather cheap looking film. This biggest fault is simply being unnecessary. Why was this remade?

Carrie
Carrie(1976)
½

Classic. Miles better than most contemporary horror films, teen films and Steven King adaptations.

Body Double
Body Double(1984)

Awesomely trashy homage to Hitchcock!

From Beyond
From Beyond(1986)

Woah. Not for the squeamish but fans of horror may be interested to see 80s excess in all it's fluorescent pink glory. Brilliant, but a little too gross for my tastes.

The Man with the Golden Gun
½

Great location shooting and great villain but nearly everything else is groan inducing!

Live and Let Die

Offensive forays into blaxploitation aside, this film does carry enough flare to compensate, namely Jane Seymour as the best Bond girl in the entire cannon. It's also a refreshing break from diabolical plots to enslave the world.

Diamonds Are Forever

While parts of this film still dazzle (Las Vegas in particular) the film is weighed down by insufferable camp, groan inducing henchmen and unpalatable Bond girls.

On Her Majesty's Secret Service
½

Often overlooked, this is in fact one of most enjoyable early Bond films. And while Lazenby is no Connery, he is also a welcome respite from Connery's increasingly campy character treatment.

You Only Live Twice

Both grandiose and modest. Much is done to make use of the Japanese location shooting. Unlike other Bond films, which rush from one corner of the world to the next, giving only the most cavalier treatment of geography, we a treated to an almost intimate view of then contemporary Japan. (Which must have seemed very exotic to western audiences in the late 60s) Not as flamboyant as other instalments but treat yourself to the epic ninja army invasion at the end... Now that's a finale!

From Russia With Love
½

The best of the original Bond run with Connery.

Dr. No
Dr. No(1962)

Slightly underwhelming considering the legacy that follows, but an enjoyable yarn.

4:44 Last Day on Earth

Disappointing. Not necessarily bad but disappointing from such a great director. The only thing this film seems to have in common with Ferrera's body of work is that it's set in NYC... And the protagonist scores dope. For a much better philosophical treatment of the apocalypse, see Don McKellar's 'Last Night'.

Laura
Laura(1944)
½

Entertaining but underwhelming. I had hoped for a little more style in this film, but it ultimately relies almost entirely on the mystery narrative. Nice yarn but too tame.

The Wicker Man - Final Cut
½

Full of randy pagan eccentricity! Xenophobia takes on it's oddest incarnation in Britain during the 70's with Christians fearing the return of the old gods. This film is lush, colourful and brimming with eccentric characters that offset the heavy religious overtones nicely to create a truly unique film experience.

Blue Valentine
½

Wow. Incredibly nuanced performance and brilliant editing but what a bummer. This film is riddled with images that are hard to shake, the closing in particular, and as beautiful ad it is, it seems like a difficult rewatch. The real beauty is in how the viewer hopes for the romantic best even though the inevitable worst is painfully evident even from the opening scene.

John Carpenter's Vampires

Not nearly as terrible as the similarly timed release of From Dusk Till Dawn but pretty lacklustre. Some interesting ideas about the origins of vampirism were squandered in favour of attempting a surprisingly dry vampire killing procedural. Do you self a favour and treat yourself to any of Carpenter's 80s films instead.

The Pact
The Pact(2012)
½

Very nice debut film that benefits from tight control and the ability to work to attainable goals. This us a small budget film, and as such it employs natural lighting and slow boiling tension rather than attempting big budget visual flair. The story, and ultimate twist, are enough to keep the viewer strung along until the bizarre climax. Mega horror genre tropes? Yes, but interpreted with the playfulness of an up and coming director.

Haunter
Haunter(2013)

From what seems like what is going to be a very derivative concept comes a surprisingly inventive and visually stylized story. Stick with it.

The Bishop's Wife

Ok, the film does slip into some trite territory in moments but it's such fun and that can certainly be forgiven in a Christmas film. Grant, Young and Niven have a magical chemistry and the cinematography captures all of the romance if a white Christmas.

Garden State
Garden State(2004)
½

A minor opus for the early 2000s. The strength of this film is not, as we are encouraged to believe, the quirky yet flawed leads and the calculatingly hip soundtrack but rather the strong supporting cast that people the suburban landscape. They, ultimately, provide the context in which the predictable leads can overcome their clichéd typecasting.

Magnificent Obsession
½

A very compelling story about redemption. Perhaps not Sirk's strongest work but fabulous set design and location shooting come alive in the brilliant technicolor.

Leave Her to Heaven

Gorgeous rich technicolor! And oddly low key noir that boasts incredible interior designs and location shooting as well as strong leads.

When Harry Met Sally

As far as Rom-Coms go, pretty satisfying. It does little to exploit the possibilities of the film medium but the writing us sharp and Ryan and Crystal really make the dialogue work.

Black Sunday
Black Sunday(1960)
½

Wow! From the living tableau opening credits to the hyperbolic final confrontation, this film oozes rich colour and style. Full of Decadence and debauchery.

The Wolverine
½

This was surprisingly good. I was not interested in seeing this at when first announced but after reading more about the director and the approach to the source material I became more interested. There a few really logistically baffling plot moments that require a great suspension of disbelief but the over all downbeat approach to a superhero film really works well.

St. Elmo's Fire

Not without merits but generally confusing and hard to get behind the trite problems of the central cast. I found myself thinking about this film for the rest of the night. Why wasn't it great?

Voices from Beyond

Setting aside the insufferably bad dubbing, this film is plagued by plot deficiencies, lacklustre editing, scoring, and a general laziness.

Some Kind of Wonderful

Some interesting moments here are overshadowed by the perplexing 1980s psychological motivations of characters. Not quite as iconic as Pretty In Pink and consequently harder to forgive for it's flaws.

Crazy, Stupid, Love.
½

I have to agree with most other reviews I have read of this film, it doesn't break any new ground but the strong writing and ensemble cast elevate this project above the typically low standards of the "rom-com" genre.

The Purge
The Purge(2013)

Incredibly bad. Not only is this a terribly predictable slasher scenario but this film manages to be offensive on several levels. A wasted allegorical premise that could have been very provocative.

The Ward
The Ward(2011)
½

Lacking some most of the minimalist visual aesthetic of Carpenter's golden years but still strong for what it doesn't pander to. Carpenter is still a director who understands the medium and has an auteurs voice.

Hard Eight
Hard Eight(1996)

Tight. This is an early work of a director with a mastery of the medium.

Blue Caprice
Blue Caprice(2013)
½

Very good and very challenging but ultimately not a very entertaining watch. The somnambulist pace of the film and subtle edit do much to enhance the very bleak philosophies examined.

Ender's Game
Ender's Game(2013)
½

Not nearly as good as it could have been, but a solid effort in adapting some very complex source material. There could only have been two approaches to this film based on the the themes of the novel, a very morally challenging adult drama or a YA adventure. Unfortunately, we were given the later and consequently the story loses much of it's bite and ultimate redemption in the dumbing down.

Moon
Moon(2009)

This film is a great redemption of the science fiction genre, thought provoking, beautiful and compelling. After two decades of abusing CGI this film feels refreshing for anyone interested in the intellectual, emotional and philosophical possibilities of science fiction.

Whistle
Whistle(2002)

Unexpectedly compelling little short.

The Curse of the Cat People

Surprising good, despite being totally misunderstood.

From Dusk Till Dawn

Don't believe the hype. There are a few priceless moments in this film, but they are fleeting moments and they are few and far between. Most of the flashy editing, sharp dialogue and irony is ruined by the terrible CGI and the irritatingly nonsensical plot turns. Though it is at times fun, it is also the very definition of pointless.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
½

With the exception of the painfully clumsy and gratuitous flying scenes, this is a solid fantasy tale, which bites off a lot and mostly chews it!

Horror Hotel
Horror Hotel(1961)
½

Surprisingly good. Often compared un favourably to Psycho, due to the timing of it's release and some structural similarities, when in fact it's much closer in tone to some of the classic Tourneur / Lewton collaborations. Great finale!

The Fog
The Fog(1979)
½

I had originally reviewed this film very unfavourably, feeling very disappointed by how un-scary this film felt. A few years later, I came around, realizing just how fun this film is. Carpenter is a master of minimalist aesthetics and is clearly making films to be fun. Ironically, it took a mature viewing to feel this young. Light on story but, rich in style.

Cypher
Cypher(2002)
½

Not entirely satisfying though all the pieces are there.

The Limits of Control
½

As much as I love Jarmusch, and as much as I respect the intentions behind this project, it still fails to be entertaining. Visually, it is, of course, delightful. But falls in the cracks between meditation and narrative, satisfying the criteria of neither. However, I will still say that jarmusch's worst films are still better than most other directors' better efforts.

Shadow Dancer

Heavy and taut, but engrossingly so, and successfully evades any sort of moralizing.

Birth
Birth(2004)

Hypnotic, eerie and thought-provoking. I loved the scoring of this deliberately paced thriller. Great sense of space used to create the sense of isolation and claustrophobia.

Happy Birthday to Me
½

There are some perversely satisfying moments in this film that are lost in the general plodding, but the surprise ending is so left field that it nearly justifies the whole project. Ranks high on the odd charts.

The Woman in Black
½

Solid haunted house flick. Nothing groundbreaking but an apt entry in ghost story genre. Rich in mood and filled with all of the appropriate clichà (C)s.

Thor: The Dark World

Going into this film with skepticism, I was pleasantly surprised. It's strongest asset is it's commitment to fun. The premise may be rather flimsy and bound to the greater franchise (rather than standing alone a a film in it's own right) but it is a very satisfying instalment.

The Adventures of Robin Hood

A technicolor feast boasting huge scale studio production and great stunt work. Incredibly campy, but bestowed with an innate sense of childlike wonder. You feel young watching this film, and it's nearly impossible not to get swept up in the adventure.

Halloween III - Season of the Witch
½

Ran-dom! It's nearly impossible to rate this film let only try and explain the plot. This, and the fact that there is absolutely no connection to any other Halloween film, alienated a lot of viewers. For myself, the later is not an issue but it's hard to totally get behind thus film. Great score and Carpenter-esque minimalism but terrible leads and distractingly confusing plot.

Let's Scare Jessica to Death

Forget the terrible, this film is a cut above the usual schlocky 70s exploitation B-flick. A very effective use of limited resources to create atmosphere rather than cheap shocks.

Exorcist II: The Heretic

A colossal misfire in terms of a franchise instalment, which is much easier to see now that we know the franchise continued, but not as worthless as the pundits make it out to be. In many way this a fascinating and ambitious project that dazzles as much as it disappoints, but ultimately the flaws are too distracting. Principally, the convoluted plot with continues to grow labyrinthine and metaphysical, secondly, the slew of ideas offensive theologians, psychiatrists and Africans, topped of by the third, Burton's totally creepy and dubious characterization of a priest who takes teenage girls to his hotel room, punches them to in order save them and then whisks them away from their families in the night?!? Sure, these things all happen in a context but it does make for an uncompelling protagonist. Final verdict: fascinating, at times glorious, but ultimately confusing and offensive. 3 out of 5 reflects the great disparities in this film.

The Thirteenth Floor
½

Every time I have seen this film since it's release I am always torn between loving the creeping noir pace and bring offended by the questionable character development. A lot of the pieces are excellent but the whole is somehow lacking.

The Exorcist III

Surprisingly much better than one would expect. With all of the big names attached to the Exorcist franchise this third instalment holds it's weight in all departments, with some genuinely eerie moments and very thoughtful pacing. Tremendous performances, but Brad Dourif steals the screen every time he appears!

The Visitor
The Visitor(1979)

This psychedelic mashup of 70s esoterica is a lost gem. Totally compelling from start to finish though head-scratchingly puzzling. The strong cast and production design elevate this from the b-movie / knock-off dredges to a the ranks of minor opus.

Re-Animator
Re-Animator(1985)
½

Zany b-horror opus that is much better when viewed as a teen. But as such, it is gloriously trashy.

Only God Forgives

Refn nails the visual style and pacing to make this film work, however, the characterization that offsets the violence which elevated Drive to masterpiece is missing. It's an interesting career move for Refn, poised to make in roads in Hollywood if he so chooses, to insist an art house auteur voice instead. I for one can't wait to see what he'll do next.

The Resident
The Resident(2012)

Totally unnecessary. However, it does succeed in what it sets out to do. Beautifully lit as well.

Dark Touch
Dark Touch(2013)
½

Uneven. At times chillingly moody and at other times cheap. The strongest aspect of this. Film is jackhammer allegory of domestic abuse. Definitely food for thought though not always enjoyable to watch.

All I Desire
All I Desire(1953)

Good period piece but not one of Sirk's best. To truly appreciate Sirk you need to soak up his palette in technicolor.

The Great Gatsby

An epic post-modern opus despite what the pundits gripe about. It seems to me that if you are familiar with Baz Luhrmann's body of work the lush, dizzying, frantic delivery should be no surprise. For a grotesque film about excess and hedonism you could do far worse.

Crimes of Passion

Ken Russell madness in top form but the production is weighed down by the murky and opaque content. It doesn't really work with the bubbly delivery. An interesting 80s cult gem, nonetheless.

Pretty Maids All in a Row

Cute 70s babes aside, this film is so dull it is nearly unwatchable. Definitely something that can be sealed away in the vaults.

Bram Stoker's Dracula

For all it's faults (Keanu an Winona) it's still fantastic.

Pacific Rim
Pacific Rim(2013)

Great popcorn flic, born out of love of monster movies, that mostly avoids the pitfalls inherent to this project. It us a very fine line that separates Pacific Rim from it's schlockier cousin, Transformers, but that line is still very clear.

Passion
Passion(2013)

Although entirely unnecessary as a remake DePalma makes some interesting aesthetic and narrative changes to make this film his own. Opposite in almost every detail except for the basic plot, this foil works.

Elysium
Elysium(2013)
½

Perhaps one small notch beneath District 9, this is still hands down a fabulous film, with great social commentary. This is happening now!

Written on the Wind

All of the usual Sirk trappings, dysfunctional families, impossible loves, social conservatism and gorgeous colour and set design.

Sexy Beast
Sexy Beast(2000)
½

Great character study presented as a crime thriller, peopled by incredibly flawed and fun lowlifes.

The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane

Perversely restrained given the subject matter, and huge props to Jodie Foster for her standout performance but ultimately a fairly uninspiring film.

The Conjuring

A nice old school addition to the contemporary horror cannon. Not quite as inventive as Insidious but successfully avoids most of the clichà (C) trappings of the true haunting genre.

Images
Images(1972)

Phenomenally unsettling from start to finish.

Léon: The Professional

Besson in top form! Nathalie Portman's role is still very unsettling and Gary Oldman is ever as manic nearly 20 years later.

Gravity
Gravity(2013)

I would go so far as to say that this is a perfect film. It certainly has everything I want in a film. I cannot think of anything that could have made this a better film. And by far the purest application of 3D as art I have ever seen.

Much Ado About Nothing
½

As far as updating Shakespeare goes, this is a playful an intelligent effort.

Gun Crazy (Deadly Is the Female)

Classic noir with a sublime finale.

The Master
The Master(2012)

Stellar performances and handsomely shot on film,

The Orphanage
½

For all of the hype, I found this to be a serviceable film, better than most contemporary American horror but still lacking. House of Voices is much better.

Emmanuelle
Emmanuelle(1974)
½

Pulp, yes, but gorgeous pulp.

House of Voices

Though I love Cuaron, I feel that this is a better film than Devil Backbone. It's ambiguity is carried longer and in turn propels the tension. The finale is truly terrifying both conceptually and artistically.

La Haine
La Haine(1996)
½

Though quite hard to watch at times, this is a beautifully realized film about an extremely ugly theme, hatred.

The Shooting
The Shooting(1967)
½

Drags a little in it's bare bones minimalism but succeeds marvellously on an existential level.

The Friends of Eddie Coyle

Phenomenal. Dense narrative with a somber aesthetic, that gives real depth to the plight of people at their limits.

Melancholia
Melancholia(2011)
½

The most interesting LVT film in ages, and evidence of his mastery of the medium but a major bummer to watch.

Don't Look Now
½

Wow. A genuinely scary film with loads of style and atmosphere.

Chronicle
Chronicle(2012)

As far as "found-footage" films go, one of the laziest and least rewarding genres, this is as compelling as it could be.

The Innkeepers

Not quite as good as House of the Devil but still very good and far better than most contemporary horror movies.

All That Heaven Allows
½

Fabulous, both bound to the period and light years ahead of it's time.

The Cabin in the Woods

Inventive but very disappointing.

Black Widow
Black Widow(1987)

Awesome! And awesomely bad.

The Hole
The Hole(2012)
½

It's no Gremlins but it is an interesting attempt to return to old school fright flicks.

Red Riding: 1983
½

Wow, both in affirmation and emotional exhaustion.

After Earth
After Earth(2013)
½

Why people continue to hate M Night is beyond me. Yes, he made mistakes but I would take this film over most recent bloated action franchise instalments any day.

Time Masters (Les Maîtres du temps)

For the young at heart... And the europhiles.

D.O.A.
D.O.A.(1988)

A bizarre remake. Stylish at times and repugnant at others.

White of the Eye
½

Highly stylized and huge WTF factor. I loved it but not for some.

Betrayed
Betrayed(1988)

Great cat and mouse tropes but the bewildering 80s logic will give the mind a real workout. So many questions...

La Chiesa (The Church) (Cathedral of Demons)

Uneven. At times grande but more often than not, confusing and erratic.

Ms. 45
Ms. 45(2013)
½

The queen of revenge B-movies!

Night of the Comet

Awesome in an 89s cheeseball way.

Presumed Innocent
½

Meticulously sets up the revealing final act. We'll worth the wait.

Fear
Fear(1996)

Not without merit but supremely disappointing.

To Die For
To Die For(1995)

A forgotten gem from GVS, that proves why he and this films stars are where they are now.

Side Effects
Side Effects(2013)
½

Though I have long despised Soderberghs inflated reputation this is actually a surprising little mystery. And it mostly surprising how much love of a good yarn shines through, rather than his typical fear-mongering.

Mississippi Burning

Tight potboiler with great ambiance and performances from the central cast.

The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc

Not the disaster it has been labelled but most of the magic of the first bald of the film is undone in the second. Perhaps too ambitious and definitely not marketed well.

Sleep Dealer
Sleep Dealer(2009)

Nice entry into the sci-fi genre. Political and topical, but not without rough edges. I'm curious to see a sophomore effort.

A Boy and His Dog

Odd. Illiterate rogue and tutor/pimp mongrel... But far more literate and lucid narrative than should be expected.

Brainscan
Brainscan(1994)

Bunk. Neither thought-provoking nor particularly savvy. Filled with annoying characters and contrived idiosyncrasies. Also, this film is guilty of one of my biggest film pet-peeves... Ludicrously erroneous application of computers and/or internet. Your computer can't make some else's dial tone talk!!!

The Chase
The Chase(1966)

Though difficult viewing, this film is thoroughly compelling as it subverts clichà (C)s and allows us the time and space to really pose questions about these characters. Penn manages to orchestrate the rising tension masterfully until it concludes in utter madness.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
½

Not a good film by any conventional standards but very entertaining. And I would also go so far as to say that this film may actually improve with age as it is such an astute reflection of the early 90's.

The East
The East(2013)

Meh... For all of it's good intentions the end result is neither shocking nor very entertaining. I feel as though this is a film about counter culture produced by those who nothing about said culture. Bad anthropology.

Oblivion
Oblivion(2013)

A little light in narrative but the music and art direction more than make up for the paper thin plot (and not a bad one, mind you).

Reckless
Reckless(1984)

Flawed but beautifully captures the insanity of the teenage psyche.

Thief Of Hearts
½

Terribly gaudy, but still pleasing to watch.

Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters
½

Phenomenal vision archived in splendour, though overly opaque at times.

Homicide
Homicide(1991)

A phenomenally opaque and nuanced gem from Mamet.

Le Doulos
Le Doulos(1962)

As cool and understated as Melville can deliver at his best.

Purple Noon (Plein soleil)

A French thriller that mesmerizes in it's matter of factness. Alain Delon steals the show.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie
½

What to say about this film... It is as good as it could have been considering it a film about teenage mutant ninja turtles marketed towards Tweens in the late 80's, not nearly bad as it could have been. The strength of this film lies in Henson's animatronics, which still look remarkably good 20 years after the CGI domination of action/fantasy films.

MirrorMask
MirrorMask(2005)
½

Visually sumptuous but a little disjointed and meandering in terms of plot.

Heathers
Heathers(1988)
½

Classic in all of it's late 80âÂÂ(TM)s excess.

Scarface
Scarface(1983)

Though unnecessarily idolized and unceasingly quoted by douchebags, the film potency still endures.

Clocking in at nearly three hours, it feels as if we are watching an alcoholic make a series of escalating worse choices and get angrier in real time. But three is much to admire in DePalmas direction, the sheer gawdiness of the colour palette and art design works excellently to undermine the depiction of wealth and success.

College students, please stop hanging Tony Montana posters in your dorm rooms and just enjoy this film for it's artistic splendour.

Deadly Blessing
½

An overlooked gem from Wes Craven. And while the film's odd pastoral setting for a slasher is oddly satisfying, the final act is so gonzo it totally redeems any flaws in the film.

Primer
Primer(2004)
½

A promising start to a directorial career.

Three Kings
Three Kings(1999)
½

An unexpectedly sharp satire that looses it's punch in the final reels but is very engrossing throughout.

Drag Me to Hell
½

Raimi's welcome return to old school horror is delightful in every absurd detail.

Die Hard
Die Hard(1988)

Even through the liberal sprinklings of xenophobia and neo-conservatism this film radiates a certain high intensity claustrophobia that makes the most of the simplest of dramatic conflicts. The additional instalments are completely unnecessary.

Mud
Mud(2013)

Exceptional from writing to performance. Nichols is an authoritative new voice in American cinema, poetic and bold with important stories to tell.

The Grapes of Wrath

A naturalistic masterpiece that has it all: cinematography, character studies, social commentary, philosophy and humanistic treatment of the disenfranchised. This film will only improve with age.

The Crying Game

20 years later this film remains as powerful as ever, but the big "twist"... How could anyone not see that from the start? That's not really the point. Go along for ride.

Ondine
Ondine(2010)

Only Neil Jordan could take this absurd story and make it poetry.

King of New York
½

Wow. Crime drama filmed as a gothic horror. Not for the faint hearted but explosive from start to finish.

Byzantium
Byzantium(2013)

Very dark but tasteful vampire mediation on family, debt and responsibility. Neil Jordan masterfully reveals information only as necessary to build a creeping potboiler narrative.

The Last Wave

A surreal masterpiece.

Upstream Color
½

Perplexing but beautiful and engaging from start to finish. I must admit that after this film and Primer I am eagerly awaiting new project from both Carruth and Duncan Jones as the new redeeming voices in sci-fi.

The Thomas Crown Affair
½

Big on style and light on plot.

The Prophecy
The Prophecy(1995)
½

A very literal interpretation of a fantastic premise.

Rogue
Rogue(2008)

Solid nature gone awry flick, not groundbreaking but neither is it insulting to one's intelligence or exploitative. Beautifully shot and full of tension.

Deep Cover
Deep Cover(1992)

A little rough around the edges, but more often than not that roughness results in unexpected pleasures. A fresh neo-noir that does more than simply rehash clichés. Jeff Goldblum steals the show.

The Departed
The Departed(2006)
½

Scorsese's sleeper opus. This is to the Irish mob in Boston what Goodfellas was to the mafia in NYC. My only gripe is that Vera Farmiga is underused as was Lorraine Bracco. In films so rooted in male discourse the subtle brilliance of the female leads is often over shadowed.

Dead of Winter

Awkward and at times baffling internal logic but filled with unexpected treats. Definitely an overlooked gem.

The Proposition
½

On a technical level, brilliant, but nearly unwatchable without a break in the middle to remind yourself that you're still alive.

Take Shelter
Take Shelter(2011)
½

Brooding, powerful and sublimely shot in way that puts the emphasis on the humane treatment of characters.

Starship Troopers
½

Oh man this film is sublime. It is so absurd and cheeky that it transcends blockbuster into the realm of satire. I think it must be even more ingenious than even Verhoeven envisioned. A scathing incitement of the military-industrial complex, the way in which media is used to propagate fear, sexism and xenophobia.

The Host
The Host(2013)
½

How to review a film like this... Stunning visuals but equally irritating voice-overs. This is to sci-fi what Twilight is to vampire lore, solid premise undermined by remarkably weak content. William Hurt is this films saving grace in terms of performance. We're this film HIS story it would have been much more engaging.

5/5 style
1/5 performance

Spring Breakers

Fascinating as Korine's work tends to be, and also infuriating. I think in this case it works as an indictment of class and privilege but many might argue that this film is more damaging that provocative in how is sexually the worst kind of senseless, crass violence of every sort.

Evil Dead
Evil Dead(2013)
½

If someone tried to convince you that they had improved the hamburger by replacing the patty with a steak, the bun with 2 wassa crackers, and fixings with an arugula salad, simply because all of the constituent parts are better, you would be correct to assume that not only is that BS but also totally disgusting. The same holds true to this vapid revisiting. Not only was it disgusting and joyless but also a hackneyed propagation of clichà (C)s. I'll take the flawed original any day!

Back to the Future

What is not to like about this film? Answer this.

Man of Steel
Man of Steel(2013)

Even with the high expectations I had going into this, I was still moved. I, though in the minority, welcomed a more dramatic and somber take on Superman.

Zardoz
Zardoz(1974)

Absurdly psychedelic and delightful allegory.

Dead Man Down
½

Terse crime drama with an unmistakeable Scandinavian sensibility. It may come off a little slow and opaque to most north american audiences for the first 3/4 of the film but I found the Hollywood geared finale perhaps more problematic.

Star Trek Into Darkness
½

While quite as exceptional as its groundbreaking predecessor, awesome in its own right. A very ingenious use of the alternate time line to revisit earlier exploits and to address the theme if fatalism.

Star Trek - Nemesis

A nice finale to the next-gen films. It nearly goes as far as the reboot in terms or reshaping the whole aesthetic of the Star Trek universe but falls slightly short.

Rabid
Rabid(1979)
½

As much as I love Cronenberg I found this film lacking. Shivers is a far greater pleasure.

Star Trek: Insurrection

A glorified episode instalment of next generation Star Trek and probably of little interest for those unfamiliar with the franchise. F Murray Abraham is the best perk of this film and a very overlooked antagonist in Trek mythology.

Star Trek: First Contact
½

Awesome! Best of the Next Gen flicks.

The Descent
The Descent(2006)

A little grizzly for my tastes but it delivers on all fronts. I found the premise terrifying enough without the monster third act.

Dark Skies
Dark Skies(2013)
½

Had me strung along but culminates in a very disappointing third act.

Oz the Great and Powerful

Entertaining but lacking the depth to make it a classic.

The Last Stand
½

Fun! Woon's love of westerns is evident even if this homage is not groundbreaking. Treat yourself to my new favourite Arnie quote "you fucked up my day off!"

Black Christmas

Archetypal slasher film that establishes a dark rich mood early and never wavers. Gorgeous textures and psychedelic patterns. Fascinating to see a genre film that predates the clichés of the genre.

Django Unchained

Exceptionally entertaining and effective if a little long winded. Tarantino pulls off another nostalgic ode to American genre cinema but this time infuses enough revisionist bite to elevate the film beyond the Western film ghetto. Part revenge, part blaxploitation, part revisionist western and fabulously acted.

52 Pick-Up
52 Pick-Up(1986)

Similarly offensive as "Fatal Attraction" but for different reasons. While Lynne vilifies the home wrecker, Frankenheimer turn the adulterer into the hero. In both cases the husband and wife dynamics are scary as they ultimately are unbelievable drawn together through the ordeal of infidelity. Frankenheimer's vulgar cinematography works surprising well to enhance the dramatic conflict and to give texture but the the protagonists are so ultimately false that it's hard to really care. Vanity plays the most interesting character and is criminally underused. Overall an interesting failure.

Dagon
Dagon(2001)

Not bad at all for a DV release exploitation genre pic. It's not groundbreaking but it is definitely entertaining.

The Lair of the White Worm

Absolute madness. If Beetlejuice had been a British film it might look something like this. Though the acting and the abrasive editing nearly derail at times, the frenetic pace of the film keeps us swept up in the insanity. Unbelievably entertaining, the hallucinatory montages in particular.

At Close Range
½

Foley's sense of pastoral texture and space make this lurid story both compelling and palatable by allowing the audience to focus on the riveting performances all around.

Revenge
Revenge(1990)
½

Not without it's inherent narrative flaws but flamboyance smoothes over the rough edges, resulting in a bewildering forgotten gem.

Logan's Run
Logan's Run(1976)
½

Camp! But sensational in what it strives for.

Prime Cut
Prime Cut(1972)
½

Wow. You've never seen such a lurid, satirical take on the crime genre. Part western, part noir, part exploitation result in a grotesquely entertaining fever dream.

Lincoln
Lincoln(2012)
½

Spielberg has down to a science and unfortunately that doesn't make it as engaging as his earlier works because the audience has been groomed to expect a perfect package. While the execution of the film was nearly flawless in every way, from performances to cinematography, the whole project is a little self indulgent and consequently drags at times.

Stoker
Stoker(2013)
½

A stunning English language breakthrough from Park and one of the few Hitchcock adaptations that can boast the same level of competence and visual flare as the original. Both brutal and grotesque without becoming distasteful.

Samsara
Samsara(2012)

Breathtaking, beautiful and challenging.

Time After Time
½

This film can justly be described as a "romp" for what that's worth. Given the rather silly premise it is about as poignant and clever as it could have been. And it is often charming and clever, in premise and execution. Nice pre-CGI science fiction that has to work hard to keep the viewer entertained without glitz and dazzle.

Broken City
Broken City(2013)
½

It takes a while to figure out Allen Hughes' strategy in portraying everyone involved in politics as being essentially xenophobic and self-absorbed. Even those on the fringes are so corrupted and moral bankrupt that it's difficult to engage with the central mystery plot of the film. We simply stop caring about all of the characters. Ultimately, this gamble undermines a lot of the films potential, which is washed over in this perpetual autumn twilight palette. Beautiful visuals aside, the film was more frustrating than thought provoking.

Starman
Starman(1984)
½

A great science fiction film that focuses on ideas and emotions rather than flashy action. Having said that, Carpenter's controlled minimalistic aesthetic is used to achieve a sublime, transcendental mood that enables the us to see the wonder and absurdity in the most minute details. This film is also an oddity from Carpenter as his only purely dramatic effort, and it proves that he has mastery of direction even outside of genre confines.

Death Valley
Death Valley(1982)
½

Entertaining for a single viewing but nothing to gleeful beyond the surface.

Slacker
Slacker(1991)

A classic film for what it is, a meandering voyeuristic glimpse of early 90's twenty somethings. Some might find it slow if you are not invested in the subject matter.

D.O.A.
D.O.A.(1950)

Despite some very distractingly silly moments, DOA stills keeps the viewer engaged with some pleasing cinematography (in particular the Beatnik club, elaborate Broadway exteriors and the the legendary Bradbury building). Campy dialogue, head scratching plot elements and some questionable sexual politics don't seem to derail the frantic joyride, in fact they add a certain unique quality often missing in other dead serious noirs.

Flatliners
Flatliners(1990)

A visual delight. The look of this film, from colour palette to lighting is stunning. And while I appreciated the restraint from gore and schlock, the film does lack a certain adage that would have made many of the scenes more menacing. The pacing is smooth and it reeks of early 90s chic. Flatliners boasts most of the style later echoed in Batman Forever but is restrained enough to save us from the flamboyantly messy performances.

Trick 'r Treat
½

Not unwatchable but seriously lacking in cohesion. More often then not I wished that the narrative would simply choose one facet and give it the requisite space needed to develop. Certainly clever, but not clever enough to succeed.

Trouble in Mind
½

Not for everyone but unlike anything I've ever seen. At times there is a sort of cheapness that plagues the production but more often that economy brings something unique. Great music and a bizarre use of Seattle as a dystopia.

The Midnight Meat Train
½

A film of uneven constituent parts. The Clive Barker short story is stretched far beyond its potential. And as for the gore, there's about as much as you'd suspect from the title but it is distractingly poorly delivered. In some ways this saves the film from taking itself too seriously but I'd prefer to simply read the Books of Blood.

Gone Baby Gone

Great performances but I found Affleck's directing to be only competent. As an actor he knows how to get great performances but there is little authorial voice.

Gangster Squad

Despite being a gorgeous looking film, Gangster Squad portrays some extremely disturbing and offensive right-wing ideas about gender, ethnicity and violence. To be sure, there are some very good performances, from Penn in particular. This feels like the kind of morally absolute action film that was produced in the 80's, like Red Dawn, just dolled up. I also feel that this is irresponsible film making in this day and age to promote fear, glorify violence and endorse vigilantism.

A Tale of Two Sisters

Visually, very impressive. Never have I been so interested in curtains and wallpaper. A kind of film that is just not produced in Hollywood. However, the plot is just convoluted enough to detract from the final reveal.

Panic Room
Panic Room(2002)
½

A competent thriller that does a lot with the most meagre of plots and scenarios. An exercise in economy and utilitarianism.

Experiment in Terror
½

If Spielberg created the high concept summer blockbuster then Edwards certainly pioneered this style of contemporary psychological thrillers. With a strangely lyric pace this film contains scene after scene of dynamic montages and now-classic scares. Another great film that showcases the geographical and demographic uniqueness of San Fran.

Mama
Mama(2013)
½

Wow. A rare pleasure to see a genuinely frightening film that doesn't pander the worst exploitative violence that seems to plague the modern American horror genre. And while all the curtains are pulled in the third act after so much ambiguity throughout the rest the film, this dissonance works remarkably well. The strongest aspect of this film is the emotional change we see in the central characters instead of the usual morally absolute characterization common in horror films. Strong predominantly female cast was a pleasure to watch.

Texas Killing Fields
½

This bleak procedural is in many ways is the opposite of the film Se7en. A big city cop goes to the sticks to find redemption. If Se7en is a narrative from the perspective of the young, optimistic atheist trying to make future and understand a perversely moralistic killer then this is a film from the perspective of a struggling yet pious man trying to reconcile the past and understand an irrational and amoral killer. And while this film is obtuse at times it is a promising work of a director with much potential. Great central performances.

The Collector
½

An enjoyable view, though admittedly a little disappointing after hearing so much praise. The strength of the film lies the the chemistry between Stamp and Eggar.

The Onion Field
½

A film of great conviction, strong performances and nuanced direction that begins to sag under it's own pessimistic weight. I enjoyed it thoroughly but would probably not watch it again. Comparable to Sidney Lumet's work.

Jaws
Jaws(1975)
½

This film is evidence that great art persists. A film in two halves, but both of them succeed on their own and juxtapose each other nicely.

Fortress
Fortress(1993)
½

Nearly genius. Some really provocative ideas are squandered as the film mostly panders to the lowest sort of vulgarity.

Criss Cross
Criss Cross(1949)

Of all the noirs I've seen, this film is the most ruthless in exploiting fatalism. Fantastic finale and some great direction in the club and during the heist.

Minority Report
½

Upon first release I remember being frustrated with the inordinate amount of product placement and all that all Philip K Dick stories seem to get adapted as action films. 10 years later, those complaints are still present but it's much easier to see this film as an interesting take on neo-noir and a nice mystery. Today, I see Spielberg's work more compromised by his attempted to satisfy too many different groups of viewers. The end result is a compromise of his incredible technical talent as a filmmaker and his voice as an auteur. This film entertains; the source material challenges, and yet it still misses the mark to be truly provocative.

Beyond The Black Rainbow

First of all, I have a bias. I was so intrigued to see this feature length after I learned of it's existence, and my reaction was similar to seeing the gig poster Panos designed for my band in the 90's... Ok, that's what you'd do with that medium.

For any viewer who is more interested in characterization and narrative, they may feel disappointed by this film. But for those who enjoy letting themselves be swept away in surrealist montages, treat yourself to this film.

A very impressive debut.

Something Wild
½

Despite terrible promotional art, this is an instant gem and iconic 80's film, not because of it's popularity but because of it's exploitation of hip 80's sensibilities. This film oozes style, a vivid colour palette and an irresistible soundtrack.

Ghost Dog - The Way of the Samurai
½

A transitional film which departs from jarmusch's earlier nostalgic work. Rare in it's lucidness and fantastic vision. RZA's soundtrack is no small asset.

Searching for Sugar Man
½

Beautiful, inspirational and told with compelling charm.

Sleeping Beauty

Such potential for greatness squandered in this average effort. Though the subject matter and narrative are anything but average, the film is weighed down by Emily Browning's detached performance. And while that's kind of the point, it still doesn't make for good viewing. I prefer Breillat's execution though I am interested to see where Leigh will go from here.

De rouille et d'os (Rust and Bone)
½

Wow! Perhaps slightly less impressive than Un Prophete, still an incredibly taut and ultimately optimistic film. What is most impressive about Audiard's work is the implicit trust between director and audience. Though we are shown some harrowing things we never feel that the director is manipulating us by exploiting the hardship of others. The audience is both kept on the edge of their seats but never insulted by what is portrayed onscreen. For all of the hardship and imperfection we are shown in the characters we learn that these weakness are foils to a greater redemption.

Equus
Equus(1977)
½

Though the performances were stellar and Lumet's direction both intriguing and masterfully subtle this film is predicated on one of the worst fallacies in cinema, that a great play or novel makes a great film. I would have much preferred to see this on stage and a more uniquely cinematic film in it's place. However, I was fascinated by the narrative and the characters, always wanting to peel back that next layer.

PS. No one ever insists that great video games, essays or paintings would necessarily make great films...

This is 40
This is 40(2012)

Predictable Apatow fair which is neither groundbreaking nor dull. A great way to waste 2 hrs.

Prince of the City
½

An ordeal to consume due to the ambitiousness of the narrative but ultimately carried through by fine performances, an eloquent script and nuanced direction.

9 1/2 Weeks
9 1/2 Weeks(1986)

Essential viewing to understand the 1980's mindset, it's values, aesthetics and fears. Why people preferred Fatal Attraction over this film is beyond me. This film is, incidentally, far more disturbing in sub context though likely not for the reasons that Lyne intended.

Slam Dance
Slam Dance(1987)

Though plot wise the film is a little obtuse, there is great visual flair. An unusual neo-noir follow up after Chan is Missing, and equally inventive.

Killing Them Softly
½

Very impressive to see a 70's style crime drama executed with such subtlety. Action seekers will be disappointed but those interested in character acting will be delighted. Very reminiscent of "The Friends of Eddie Coyle" though less tragic and more cynical. Definitely food for thought.

Nightbreed
Nightbreed(1990)
½

Unparalleled in ambition though never quite reaching opus stature. I have seen this film three times and I'm still not entirely sure what to make of it. It is neither the lemon or the rough diamond that opposing camps would purport. It is a very ambitious and inventive concept that was marred by poor marketing and editing. It nonetheless is both entertaining yet still imperfect. But great queer politics in the subtext!

The Intouchables
½

Fluff... But nourishing fluff.

True Romance
True Romance(1993)
½

What is going on with this film score Hans Zimmer??? This is part of the fun of seeing a Tarantino script lavishly produced by another director with a much different visual style. And it works. The ensemble cast helps but I found the direction in some ways more interesting than Tarantino, which goes to show his strength as a writer, that someone else can helm his script and still capture all of his wit a ferocity.

Red Riding Trilogy

A phenomenal if bleak miniseries. On top of the at times indecipherable Yorkshire accent, the method of story telling is so opaque that it demands constant attention. As a viewer, I enjoy this task but it may be off-putting for some. The second installment is particularly difficult to make all of the implied connections but the third does well to tie up as much of the lose ends as possible. And seemingly despite all odds there is light at the end of the tunnel, though we are given no evidence until minutes before the series concludes. Heaviness.

Red Dust
Red Dust(1932)

If you can get past all of the blatant sexism, racism, classism and general political incorrectness endemic of the time there is a shrewd and wicked little comedy. I found this film much more comedic than romantic as Clark Gable is almost wholly unappealing. Very impressive that this was filmed on the MGM lot and not on location.

Raw Deal
Raw Deal(1948)

Top notch noir with great finale. The mole as the narrator was a nice touch and helped to give the picture another dramatic depth.

Amer
Amer(2010)

If Argento were making his debut in the contemporary world of cinema I would expect him to produce this. And while the film struggles to cling to anything plot-wise it is a visual delight, leaving the viewer squirming.

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

Probably only truly appreciated by eastenders but still manages to find a more universal voice. Frenetic, witty and never takes itself too seriously.

Argo
Argo(2012)

Perhaps not quite as awesome as the accolades would have you believe but very
Entertaining and effectively thrilling.

Battle Beyond the Stars
½

Not good in any conventional sense but very entertaining for the same reasons: a ship with boobs, a character known only as "cowboy" with a whiskey soda dispensing fannypack, references to sex as "mating", buxom Amazonian space warriors... Knowing this should either sell the film or turn you off.

WALL-E
WALL-E(2008)

Smart, endearing and full of great art design. Another kids flick that avoids condescending it's audience.

Sinister
Sinister(2012)

Genuinely creepy at times but all the methodical work to create mood is undone by cheap idiosyncrasies and Mr Boogie's cgi head jumping out at the screen. Much more effective in it's low key moments. Nice soundtrack!

Ratatouille
Ratatouille(2007)

Great family flick that will enchant kids with phrenetic physical comedy and dizzying sequences but will also charm adults with character depth, a great positive message and a lack of condescension. "Anyone can cook!"

Berlin Express

An odd installment in Tourneur's filmography but a very entertaining international espionage thriller. The odd Rod Sterling-esque voice over somehow works with the post war Europe setting, achieving a satisfying dissonance. This dissonance is found also in the motley crew of protagonists including a clown (?). Very entertaining stuff, and an interesting take on the noir format but be sure to check out Tourneur's psychological-horrors and true noirs!

A Prophet (Un prophete)

Outstanding. Tough, gritty, labyrinthine and ultimately nourishing.

Twixt
Twixt(2012)

Very reminiscent of a Polanski style black comedy but much more playfully campy. Despite Luke warm reception, I loved this movie. While it may only be a minor work in Coppola's filmography it is still sharp and challenging.

Hanna
Hanna(2011)

Exceptional on every front: score, pacing, characterization... This was the best I had seen for quite some time.

Anna Karenina
½

I'm not sure what is a more accurate way to describe the disparity between narrative and visuals, that visual flare and set design save the clumsy characterization or that the dispassionate acting weighs down the otherwise impeccable production design. Either way, this film was very enjoyable to take in but it ultimately falls short of being a great film. I respect the effort but much preferred Hanna.

Tequila Sunrise
½

Amazing cinematography anchors the jarringly anachronistic narrative aesthetic and campy dialogue. It is fascinating to see a post-war noir script essentially transplanted into the late 80s. And the blazing sax soundtrack somehow works despite everything.

The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog
½

For fans of cinema and fans of Hitchcock alike this a great historical artifact. There are moments in this film that are truly remarkable: glass ceilings, prophetic footprints and endless staircases. Mostly it is fascinating to see rough ideas that would later be flushed out into masterpieces.

T-Men
T-Men(1947)
½

The incredible cinematography save this film from questionable source material and acting, but it's such a joy to watch for the shadow/light play alone. Every scene is delightful to watch and mind boggling to listen to. The bizarre, listless voice-over narrative and quasi documentary format is jarringly incongruous with hilariously campy dialogue, but it all somehow works.

My Bloody Valentine

Top notch for a slasher-genre flic. The rereleased version with the restored cut sequences is the only way to see this film. I can understand why audiences were underwhelmed with the original declawed theatrical release, but the reissue is simply riotous. A must for genre fans!

The Bedroom Window

A minor addition to the neo noir canon. Some interesting moments are mostly dwarfed by the absurdity of each plot turn. In defense of the film though, it is thoroughly entertaining

Mystery Train
½

Classic early jarmusch installment that balances all of his frequent motifs: vignettes that intersect during a single day/night, fixation on geography, awkward black humour, international cast, hip cameos, and fatalism.

The Hitch-hiker
½

An interesting installment to the noir genre, though ultimately more of of stripped down, raw Hitchcock-style psychological thriller. A few scenes really catch they eye and aid the acting in propelling this above a B-film production. The narrative is a little bit to literal at times it works in context of the hostage premise.

Fat City
Fat City(1972)
½

An exceptional boxing drama with very humanistic character treatment and rich cinematography. All three lending performances are great and are accent nicely rich supporting performances.

V/H/S
V/H/S(2012)

With the exception of a few genuine but fleeting moments his film is beyond irritating. For the record, "found footage" is an interesting movie premise not a genre. The brevity of the shorts helps slightly but begs the question "Why am I watching this if I'm still craving shorter shorts?" Does the premise of a novel written in a form of a diary about someone finding other diaries and reading them sound interesting? (And is that in fact a novel?) If your answer is no, then don't bother with this film.

One final gripe, why does almost every vignette include the premise of making amateur porn? Is that the only reason people film anything anymore?

Lake Mungo
Lake Mungo(2009)
½

An interesting exercise in getting the most out of the inherently limited "found footage" genre, this film relies more on exploring the complexities of emotional interiority than scares. In this respect it is a compelling mystery/drama but it is still plagued by the preposterous internal logic of the genre. I would be curious to see what Anderson might do with another genre.

Hesher
Hesher(2011)
½

Aside from Joseph Gordon Levitt's incredible character study and a handful of pop-culture nods the film is actually fairly conventional. Still, this is likely to become a cult favorite.

The Innocents

Beautiful and compelling from the opening credits, and surprisingly scary as the film progresses.

The Awakening

Outstanding, classy old school ghost story that is bursting with atmosphere and well paced jumps. Very reminiscent of "the Innocents" in that it succeeds both maintaining a very calculated eerie tempo and in exploring the emotional and philosophical relationship between the dead and living.

Ginger Snaps
Ginger Snaps(2001)

Feminist horror realized with exceptional whit and ferocity. This is a real gem and succeeds much better than most horror or teen genre pics. Mega props for using old school prosthetics and make-up effects over CGI.

Quills
Quills(2000)
½

The saucy performance by Rush is not to be missed. Although this film is at times difficult to watch, there is a very stimulating dialogue on censorship and pornography.

The Killers
The Killers(1964)

An odd bubblegum technocolor noir. Considering this was to be a made for TV film it's incredible. Considering its a remake of the Siodmak classic, it's an interesting interpretation. But its heavy handedness is at times grating. If this film existed in a vacuum I would have loved it all the more. Still, Don Siegel manages to thrill us.

Dust Devil
Dust Devil(1992)

Without equal, for better or worse. A strange mixture or southern gothic and psychedelic mysticism set in rural Namibia. All of the pieces fit together nicely resulting in a dissonant minor opus.

Slipstream
Slipstream(1989)

This should have been so much better because the underlying premise is so intriguing and the actors are of high calibre, but as it is the philosophy is somewhat hampered by a few rather campy scenes and music production. If Cameron Crowe had directed Blade Runner it would probably have ended up like this.

The Killers
The Killers(1946)

Flawless execution of mood, suspense and narrative. Perhaps the most archetypal noir I've ever seen.

Champion
Champion(1949)

Remarkably introspective if melodramatic. Later fighter-dramas borrow much, thematically and narratively, from Champion. In particular, Rocky and The Wrestler each explore very different elements both present in Champion, the will to prove and redeem oneself vs the self destruction of narcissism. This film reinvents itself twice over during it's run so that, although the elements seem archetypal, we're never quite sure of what kind of film we're watching.

Red
Red(2010)

This could have been much better but it was definitely a fun watch regardless. The real strength here is watching an ensemble cast of legendary actors, often cast against type for ironic pleasure, relish in their roles as elite killers.

The Verdict
The Verdict(1982)

If you're curious about the mechanisms of Law and not particularly impressed by the Grisham school of saucy legal intrigue, then this is for you. With the exception of a rather weak about face in the third act this film broods, smolders and pulls you into Newman's performance of a broken man desperately fighting for redemption.

Killer Joe
Killer Joe(2012)

Rich in colour, dialogue and details but terse to the point that a rewatch may not be very enjoyable. Most of the fun of this movie is watching the madness unfold.

Krull
Krull(1983)

Utterly absurd. There are so many head scratching moments and it is outrageously fun to watch this mess unfold. It's like watching Star Wars wasted on rum and cokes.

Eyes Wide Shut

I know this film garnered a poor or divided reception but I still feel after a rewatch 10 years later that this is an exceptional film. It oozes with rich colours, philosophic meditations and head scratching nuances.

Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut

This is another classic example of the artistic perils of not knowing when to call a project complete. The film is so strong that it weathers Kelly's needless additions (eg. swapping one 80's band for another in the soundtrack) but the original cut is still far more compelling because of the ambiguities that Kelly attempts but ultimately fails to address. This is still a great film.

Donnie Darko
Donnie Darko(2001)

Loved this film when it came out and it still feels inventive and compelling. Do not bother with the director's cut; Richard Kelly totally Lucased his own baby.

Experiment Perilous
½

As much as I love Tourneur, I must concede that this a minor work. The opening is so atmospherically compelling and the finale so outrageous it makes the body of the film feel oddly out of place and disappointing. Most of the film is carried (or not carried) by expository dialogue rather than mood and the central dangers of the protagonists are never truly understood until the final confrontation. All in all it's a shame because there are some really fine moments in the film.

Monument Ave.
½

A compelling if low key crime drama, mostly carried by the strong performances. These characters are sometimes likable, sometimes despicable but always credible.

Absentia
Absentia(2012)
½

Well crafted effort. The project seemed to drift at times but there are plenty of redeeming moments. I was quite interested in the character development, their differing approaches to coping with grief. The internal logic was a bid muddled but managed to capture something primal, the fear of being forgotten. I was uneasy about going to sleep in the dark after watching this.

Basic Instinct
½

A return to the erotic-thriller genre that launched his career in Holland, this film works quite well in an American setting. It is particularly reminiscent of "The Fourth Man" though not quite as inventive.

Possible Worlds

both cerebral and poetic.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth(1998)

Lavish, lurid and full of nuanced performances.

Devil in a Blue Dress

Do not be fooled by the questionable cover; this is a tightly constructed revisionist-noir with a knockout Don Cheadle performance.

J. Edgar
J. Edgar(2011)

Interesting though short of being fascinating. I am troubled by the social implication of this film. Is it merely a character study or are we meant to sympathize with and applaud the architect of the modern surveillance nightmare we now live in?

Dredd
Dredd(2012)

More Verheoven than Verheoven.

The Blood of Heroes
½

Perhaps snot a great film, but a great pleasure to watch.

Looper
Looper(2012)
½

Rian Johnson along with Duncan Jones give me great hope for the bloated, wilting and abused sci-fi film genre and I eagerly anticipate future endeavours. This film goes to show that action and good science fiction are not mutually exclusive as so many big budget sci-fi block busters would have you believe.

Altered States

Nothing short of awesome!

Boxcar Bertha

There are some sublime moments, if only sporadic, when we see Scorsese potential as a great director. Visual flare, great music and a captivating performance from Hershey carry this film beyond the confines of exploitation B-film.

The Witches
The Witches(1990)
½

Classic Henson puppetry magic.

Clueless
Clueless(1995)
½

By no means a great film, but a great time capsule into the mid 90s, on par with Buffy.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

For the Tolkien fan this will come as the start of a new much anticipated trilogy that endeavours to follow the source material even more religiously. It may not be compelling enough to pull in new viewers as it is very dense and somewhat convoluted.

Shutter Island

I love how much Scorsese gets out off a somewhat simple premise. Everything is presented through a glass darkly and the end result is far more disturbing than the typical Hollywood heavy handedness. Instead of being brutal it evokes the impression of slow decent into madness, and not a caricature or madness but a sense of how murkily psychosis colours our perception of the world. This evocative of an old school Polanski thriller.

The Silence of the Lambs

Classic early nineties aesthetic realized with flair.

Manhunter
Manhunter(1986)
½

Huge props for using 'In a Goda Davida' in it's entirety in this forgotten and underrated gem.

The Spiral Staircase
½

Campy and pedantic dialogue aside, this is a cinematic gem. Engaging and eerie with incredible textbook film noir cinematography.

Thunderball
Thunderball(1965)
½

Entertaining, but not a very good film. Mired by many long baffling underwater scenes.

Stir Crazy
Stir Crazy(1980)
½

This comedy dream team succeed best when they allowed to run wild and feed of their synergy. The plot itself is pretty dopey.

The Brood
The Brood(1979)

A uniquely Cronenberg experience: intellectual horror set in a bleak Canadiana-modernity, empty public schools, hospitals and suburbs. The film progresses slow and steadily but does not relent in providing a shocking tell for the finale. A must see in the Cronenberg canon.

Hannibal
Hannibal(2001)

I wanted so much more from Mamet and and Scott, and while it's true that the story was taught and the cinematography was often eerily beautiful, the overall product was slightly underwhelming mostly because it was so sadistically gross.

Lone Star
Lone Star(1996)
½

A very compelling meditation on revisionist history. Elegantly shot and subtly acted.

Quantum of Solace

Entertaining but not a masterpiece. The films starts off impressively but is soon mired by the plot complications of it's prequel and adds little substance.

Skyfall
Skyfall(2012)
½

Glorious!. This is the 'Rocky Balboa' of the Bond franchise. No frills, full of treachery and and belaboured action. "Welcome to Scotland!"

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

So effectively terse and heart rending and will likely never watch it again. Not pleasant but an engrossing watch.

Anonymous
Anonymous(2011)

My curiosity about what Emmerich's take on the poet might have been was surpassed in this tawdry Elizabethan drama. Even the CGI was masterfully applied to enhance the atmosphere.

Showgirls
Showgirls(1995)

How can a movie with that much T'n'A, glitz and dancing be so boring?

Ronin
Ronin(1998)

Recaptures the simplicity and brutishness of 70's hardboiled thrillers. I can see a lot of Friedkin or Melville in the themes and mood. A pleasure to see this kind of film being made post-CGI.

Cop Land
Cop Land(1997)
½

Somewhere in between The Unforgiven and Rocky.

Insidious
Insidious(2011)

Although slightly baffling it is none the less terrifying and far better than either the Saw or Paranormal Activities franchises.

The Howling
The Howling(1981)

Subversive and darkly comic werewolf gem. It far exceeds what one might expect from an early eighties fright flick. There is a certain De Palma or Lynchian illogical charm to it and the visuals are exceptionally odd.

The Tall Man
The Tall Man(2012)

A nice attempt at a genre subverting allegory but ultimately a little flat. I look forward to seeing what Pascal Laugier does in the future.

Donnie Brasco

Pacino's performance is superbly nuanced however the film suffers from the unfortunate outcome of doing everything exactly right. All of the constituent parts are pleasing and seemingly aptly executed but it somehow lacks resonance and feels predictable. It's a classic example of how doing everything exactly perfect is often wrong because it doesn't feel unique. In the long run I think we are more touched charismatic flaws more than perfection.

Maelstrom
Maelstrom(2000)

Difficult but also beautiful.

Blow-Up
Blow-Up(1966)
½

Interesting visually, culturally and historically but not entire enjoyable as entertainment.

Saint Ange (House of Voices)
½

Ambiguous. Perhaps to a fault. Visually, the film is perfect in tone and never panders to the CGI trappings of the horror genre. In terms of emotional impact it lies a little flatter. Unlike the strength of visual ambiguity, the logistics and thematic implications are a somewhat betrayed by that same ambiguity.

Demon Seed
Demon Seed(1977)

A product of extremes that unfortunately does not achieve synergy. Half of this film is solid science-fiction presented with an art-house aesthetic the other half is an infuriating melodrama with questionable sexual politics. It's worth seeing for the metaphysical monologues and stoner montages.

The Parallax View
½

Oddly beautiful in a cold, clinical aesthetic. Physical space is masterfully organized with striking geometry and paced to evoke a waking dream. This is one of Beatty's under-appreciated performances.

Dangerous Liaisons

No matter how many times I see this I'm always struck by the sheer genius in Close and Malkovich's performances.

The 'Burbs
The 'Burbs(1989)

Classic cornball 80's comedy that rises above it's peers.

Straight Time
½

Standout performances give the cycles of poverty and crime the emotional depth needed to be truly tragic. Not a fast paced or voyeuristic approach to crime-drama but instead chooses (as a strength) to focus on the characters that are touched by crime.

Robbery
Robbery(1967)

Bare bones heist romp around London town. A little slow at time but showcases some embryonic Yates flare.

Stranger on the Third Floor
½

Though hampered by pedantic voice-over and melodramatic acting, the cinematography alone is gorgeous enough to merit a viewing. The dream sequence is perhaps one of the finest I've ever seen and John McGuire gives a performance eerily close to Kyle MacLauchlan's "Agent Cooper".

Zong heng si hai (Once a Thief)
½

Hard to know what to make of this film of disparate halves, part hard-boiled heist and part rom-com. As such, it definitely works half of the time but is littered with questionable gags and an unspeakable score..

Curse of the Demon
½

I would love to see Tourneurs intended cut of this film but despite the uncouth studio treatment it remains fantastic! Intellectual, atmospheric and thoroughly entertaining.

Cat People
Cat People(1942)

Much better on the second viewing and after seeing some of Tourneur and Lewtons other works. Simon's performance is stand-out and Tourneurs direction is both fantastic and understated.

I Walked With a Zombie

Builds with a measured pace and uses that time to really develop dramatic conflict and inferiority. As the tone of the film grows increasingly bleak and murky the visuals become fantastic. The cumulative effect is very rewarding.

The Hole (Le Trou)

I have never seen a more raw and detail-oriented prison escape film. And if you've ever wondered why prison-bust films insist on being so predictably over-stated and flamboyant then this is a film for you. Painstakingly meticulous and relishes all of the mind-numbing details of how 5 men crammed into a small room might fathom regaining freedom.

Lawless
Lawless(2012)

Shy of being phenomenal but definitely engaging and powerfully acted against some beautiful production design.

Beauty and The Beast (La Belle et la bête)
½

Visually stunning! A real treat for anyone interested in craft and anyone willing and eager to be swept away.

The Mist
The Mist(2007)

Much more interesting for it's social commentary than it is exciting. Seriously hampered by poor CGI and ignores the good sense that what you can't see is inevitably scarier, which is a shame because what takes place between characters is quite scary.

I Want You (Beloved)

Gorgeous colours and a fascinating snapshot of 90's UK but falls a little short of great.

The House of the Devil
½

After years of mostly being disappointed with contemporary horror sub genres a film like this is so refreshing. Found footage and torture porn films have taken away all of the magic of the horror genre and subsequently we have lost out. We have forgotten how scary just being alone in a house at night can be. This films reminds us that less can be more and that we often simply settle instead for lesser quality. What's most evident in this film is the love of the genre and it is hard not to get swept up in that.

Jack Ketchum's The Girl Next Door

A similar experience to watching a Lars Von Trier film, intellectually and emotionally challenging, aesthetically interesting but so heavy handed and disturbing that it's probably not watchable a second time. Both fascinating and sad that this is based on true events; it works as an allegory.

I Know Who Killed Me

Kind of an easy target for hit lists like the Raspberry Awards but not as bad as the media who have you believe. I've read comparisons to De Palma, Argento and Lynch and they are all merited but the end result is definitely not synergy. Instead, we treated to moments of genuinely interesting visual flair and direction that are mostly weighed down by poor acting. Like a Vin Diesel film, it's predominately failed by the star because the films spends to so much time and energy invested in vacuous lead performance.

Beetlejuice
Beetlejuice(1988)
½

Despite being riddle by nonsensical internal logic this film is a triumph of mood, aesthetic vision and a frenetic performance by Michael Keaton. Such a gem and unlike anything else, even Tim Burton's other films.

I Saw the Devil

Nerve-racking, harrowing and oozing with visual flare, but disturbingly graphic. I'm so glad that I saw this film, and enjoyed it but probably would not willingly subject myself to that again.

Nightfall
Nightfall(1957)
½

Superb film noir with a mixture of urban and rural settings. What really makes this film is the cinematography: at times crisp and angular but often lyrical. Awesome finale given an homage in "Fargo".

Dirty Pretty Things

Spellbinding and challenging from start to finish.

White Heat
White Heat(1949)

Not quite as legendary as I had hoped but I can see why this film seemed so shocking at the time. James Cagney is brilliant and the procedural aspect is interesting but the film does lack a certain quality that would elevate it from good to great. Great closing sequence.

The Naked City

The fascinating narrative style works so well to make the vast impersonal city of New York seem familiar, even claustrophobic. As a police procedural, it is equally fascinating as a record of ways of living and working that have almost disappeared in North American cities.

Zodiac
Zodiac(2007)

Despite the length of this film I was thoroughly engrossed from start to finish. The scope of the narrative, especially in terms of time, is a rewarding oddity, an anachronism of Victorian novel structure dealing with the most modern of subjects "the celebrity of serial killers".

See No Evil, Hear No Evil

Not quite as funny as I remembered it being from childhood viewings but the Pryor/Wilder dynamic is tight. They are a finely tuned old-school slapstick machine. Definitely worth a watch on a rainy day or sick in bed.

Stereo
Stereo(1969)

Not very entertaining in terms of narrative but wildly pleasing in terms of tableau composition. Almost every scene is a stunning exploration of angular minimalism.

Shivers (They Came from Within) (The Parasite Murders)

An interesting glimpse of ideas later to be refined by Cronenberg. Ultimately bound to the limitations of an exploitation piece but still manages to insert some surprisingly provocative imagery amidst clichà (C)s.

Mr. Majestyk
Mr. Majestyk(1974)

An interesting interpretation of the Western in a modern setting, filled with car chases filmed like horse pursuit, old school Mexican stand-offs and sociopolitical commentary.

Out of the Past
½

Why film buffs praise "The Big Sleep" over this film (or Bogart over Mitchum) is beyond me. Alternating from exotic vistas atmospheric studies, this film never stops dazzling while maintaining emotional and narrative complexity. While Bogart comes off as a creepy leering geography teacher to the modern viewer, Mitchum remains tough as nails and sharp as a tack.

Farewell, My Lovely
½

Mitchum is incredible as Marlowe, far superior to Bogart or Gould, though I don't fully understand Hollywoods love affair with the character. Some great atmosphere and production design is unfortunately mostly hampered by flimsy direction, with the exception of the the whole brothel segment of the film, which is effectively grotesque and thoroughly entertaining.

Kingdom of Heaven

Historical inaccuracies aside, the film is far better than other post millennium epics (Troy and Alexander) although suffers from the same weakness in leads. Having said that the supporting cast is great, in particular Edward Norton who steals every scene. In terms of direction, it is supported by Scott's typical measured coolness and does a fine job of embedding social commentary.

Eyewitness
Eyewitness(1981)

Anachronistically offensive in almost every respect but so uniquely bizarre that it some how emerges as a greater product than the sum the of its faulty parts. It's like watching a David Mamet's "Homicide" and John Hughes' "Pretty In Pink" concurrently.

Red Riding Hood

Ridiculous in every possible way, and yet... thoroughly entertaining as a study of mood. Infinitely less offensive that the Twilight franchise and not nearly as flawed as critics companied. Should we complain Rice Crispy Squares are flawed "treats"?

The Stranger
The Stranger(1946)
½

A fascinating glimpse into the fearful post-war psyche and a subtle foreshadowing of the frantic and grotesque "Touch of Evil". Beautiful skewed cinematography, melodrama, and phenomenal climax.

The Box
The Box(2009)

Not perfect, although, not nearly the train wreck most reviews would have you believe. Similar metaphysical overtones as Kelly's previous work but presented with much more restraint. This film displayed a lot of what I like about M Night's films without ever talking down to the audience.

Runaway Train
½

Incredible old school action film with an Akira Kurosawa screenplay??? Strong morally ambiguous characterization builds into a phenomenal and eerie finale. Jon Voight is mesmerizing. This is a real hidden gem.

Possession (The Night the Screaming Stops)

After reading so much about this film I'm still unsure what to make of it. Both disgusting and gorgeous. It thrills and infuriates. Incredible in its formalism but not really entertaining beyond intellectually.

The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos)
½

A beautiful, passionate and elegant crime drama

In the Mouth of Madness

What is especially impressive about this film is the use of solid editing, make-up and animatronics instead of the CGI. This is an example of a mature directer-auteur at the helm, fine tuned, restrained and cerebral (with a dash of straight up camp). A throwback to old school horror, I mean Lovevcratian old school!

Irréversible

Visually intriguing but completely morally reprehensible.

Batman Forever

Any nostalgia I had for this film has drowned by the loud and offensive offensive performances in the first 15 minutes of this film. Visually this movie is still very striking and the use of dramatic stage lighting is fascinating but the dialogue and campy sound editing is so distracting I had to turn the film off. Anyone who knows me knows that this is a rare defeat. I think what ages these Schumacher films especially poorly is the existence of the Nolan films. I agree with Grant Morrison's assessment that these films undo all of the work Burton had done in establishing a more serious tone in comic-to-screen adaptations.

The ONLY thing worth seeing in this film is the Schumacher's interpretation of the Batman origin mythology. This scene is so out of place and manages to hold a starkly beautiful tone.

The Hunger
The Hunger(1983)

Beautiful, puzzling, and uber-cool although slightly hindered by questionable vampire mythology logic. Definitely subversive in the vampire film canon and sublimely rich in visual falre.

The Hunger Games

Such refreshing treatment of YA-lit after being inundated with such condescending and offensive Twilight knock-offs. The narrative is compelling and effective as science fiction outright but more importantly it succeeds as a potent YA text. Having never read the source material I can objectively say that this works a film.

Intruders
Intruders(2012)

Don't believe the dull hype this movie is exquisite, with very interesting meditations on the power of narrative.

Immortals
Immortals(2011)
½

almost visually perfect but so lacking in narrative.