Archive for January, 2014


Wings (William A. Wellman, 1927)

January 31, 2014


Wings, one of the final big Hollywood productions of the silent era, is most famous for being the Best Picture winner at the inaugural Academy Awards, or rather the winner of what was first called ‘Best Picture, Production’ (F.W. Murnau’s Sunrise picked up ‘Best Picture, Unique and Artistic Production’ the same year). A wartime melodrama of an enormous scale, whose DNA can be found in many a film that went on to win the same accolade (e.g. Gone with the Wind) and many that disastrously tried (Pearl Harbor), it contains camerawork and set pieces that still marvel today…

Click for the full DVD review for The Skinny


Seen Your Video #32: Best of 2013

January 25, 2014


On the latest episode of Seen Your Video, Chris Ward and I discuss our favourite films released in the UK during 2013, plus some of our biggest disappointments.

Stream the episode here.
Alternatively, you can download the episode or subscribe to the podcast by looking up Seen Your Video on iTunes.


August: Osage County (John Wells, 2013)

January 25, 2014


William Friedkin’s last two directorial efforts (Bug and Killer Joe) were Tracy Letts adaptations, and it’s a crying shame he didn’t helm the film version of August: Osage County, the playwright’s 2008 Pulitzer Prize winner about a brood coming home to rally around a cancer-stricken, monstrous matriarch (a scenery-gorging Streep) when their father (Shepard) vanishes. Tensions and dark revelations naturally come to the fore…

Click for the full review of The Skinny


You’re Next (Adam Wingard, 2011)

January 13, 2014

You're Next

Actors and directors from a certain subset of American independent cinema star in this knowing slasher film. The first of You’re Next’s two genre twists is that an attack on a family reunion at an isolated luxury home does nothing to quell the bickering and pettiness from before the first crossbow bolt is fired. The second is that one of You’re Next’s would-be victims happens to be adept at not just defending themselves, but unleashing their own brand of brutality upon the attackers…

Click for the full DVD review for The Skinny


Museum Hours (Jem Cohen, 2012)

January 9, 2014


In this documentary-fiction hybrid, a guard (Sommer) at Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum strikes up a friendship with a lonely Canadian tourist (O’Hara) present in the city to visit her estranged cousin in a coma. Though there is this narrative through-line, Museum Hours is more a collection of diary musings on larger issues of culture, perspective, art and its relation to life, and the inevitability that all things will fade. The closest comparison might be to say it’s like a non-romantic cut of Before Sunrise blended with Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil

Click for the full DVD review for The Skinny


2013 in Review

January 4, 2014


Number of films seen, excluding shorts: 343
Number of films seen for the first time, excluding shorts: 278

Pre-1920s: 1 (1 first time viewing)
1920s: 2 (1)
1930s: 6 (4)
1940s: 10 (8)
1950s: 13 (8)
1960s: 18 (17)
1970s: 18 (11)
1980s: 29 (15)
1990s: 32 (15)
2000s: 18 (9)
2010s: 196 (192)

I didn’t exactly succeed with my resolution with older cinema from the 2012 entry, but I did see enough great films for the first time this year to justify expanding the following list from 50 to 75.

75 best first time viewings of 2013, in alphabetical order
Much of a tentative selection of my favourite 2013 films can be found within. Podcast episodes and relevant writing of mine, where available, are linked.

Act of Killing, TheThe Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, 2012, Denmark/Norway/UK/Finland)

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