Philip Seymour Hoffman impressed me greatly in Synecdoche, New York, so when he passed away earlier this year and various people commented that his best role was in Capote, I knew I had to watch this film. Unlike my wife however, I don’t really read mainstream fiction so I only have the vaguest of ideas of who Truman Capote was. Furthermore, I tend not to like biography films, so I went in with reduced expectations.
Continue reading Capote (2005)
The Winter Soldier (I’m not going to use the unwieldy full title) marks the ninth instalment of the ongoing Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s hard to believe that Marvel’s streak of hits has continued for so long but it has, and with this film, it continues to do so. I’m not a big fan of The First Avenger. I liked how it subverted the point of having a superhero but felt that its action scenes were underwhelming and its story too simplistic.
Continue reading Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Having won the Academy Award for Best Picture of 2013, 12 Years a Slave surely needs no introduction. It also won Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay. As flawed as the Oscars are, I think it is also illuminating that despite being nominated, it neither won Best Director nor Best Actor, categories which you would normally expect a film like this to sweep up.
Continue reading 12 Years a Slave (2013)
This film was one of wife’s picks to add to our regularly maintained “to watch” list. It’s ostensibly an Italian film, with an Italian director, filmed in the province of Venice and making use of a largely Italian crew. Yet it has a Chinese lead and many supporting roles with Chinese actors and actresses. The dialogue is pretty much half Italian and half Mandarin Chinese.
Continue reading Io sono Li (2011)
Shane Carruth’s debut film Primer achieved Internet notoriety by spawning a variety of charts and diagrams to describe the events of the film. They were of such complexity as to surpass those created for Christopher Nolan’s Inception. Even with the aid of these charts, most viewers still walked away without really understanding what happened in the movie. Upstream Color is the same director’s second feature and like its predecessor, it is not an easy film to understand.
Continue reading Upstream Color (2013)
Some films have become so strongly entrenched in popular culture that you almost don’t have to watch them to know all about them. Their tropes, jokes and characters have been referenced endlessly in subsequent works and more pertinently in forum and blog posts on the Internet so much so that you might not even realize that you’re watching the source material. Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove is an example of such a film.
Continue reading Dr. Strangelove (1964)
I’m not much of a Mark Millar fan but the first Kick Ass 2 hinted at enough of a subversion of the superhero genre and had enough shock value that it intrigued me. I would have loved a story that wholeheartedly embraced the idea that dressing up as a superhero and going out to fight crime isn’t just silly, it’s also utterly ineffective. Unfortunately the second half of the movie completely reverted to type, becoming yet another poorly executed superhero action movie.
Continue reading Kick-Ass 2 (2013)