Archive for December, 2014


Big Eyes (Tim Burton, 2014)

December 22, 2014


With Big Eyes, Tim Burton takes a break from his spate of auto-pilot adaptations (be it butchering Alice in Wonderland or remaking his own early short films) to tell a more engaging tale than the dreary films of his recent creative slump. Based on true events which took place in the 1950s and 60s, it explores a decade in the life of Margaret Keane (Amy Adams, reliably strong in the lead), who spent years producing cutesy paintings of big-eyed, miserable children that captured the public’s imagination (and their cash). The only problem is that no one knew the paintings were hers, as emotionally manipulative husband Walter (Christoph Waltz) passed himself off as the artist and claimed all the fame…

Click for the full review for The Skinny


Exodus: Gods and Kings (Ridley Scott, 2014)

December 17, 2014


In one key scene of Exodus: Gods and Kings, Ramses (Joel Edgerton) addresses exiled foster brother Moses’ (Christian Bale) suggestion to free the Hebrew slaves of 400 years service with one memorable line: “Just from an economic standpoint, what you’re suggesting is problematic to say the least.”

Anyone especially critical of the production history behind Ridley Scott’s latest might be inclined to read this dialogue as a meta defence of the film’s virtual absence of anyone in a major role who could plausibly have been an Egypt resident circa 1300 BCE. Bar a couple of Middle Eastern actresses in supporting roles, the cast is largely comprised of British, Australian, Spanish and American thespians, all bronzed up (except for Sigourney Weaver, white as a sheet and given a completely thankless role by her former Alien director)…

Click for the full review for The Skinny


The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (Peter Jackson, 2014)

December 10, 2014


What began with An Unexpected Journey ends in an altogether expected fashion, as Peter Jackson wraps up his frequently misguided three-part adaptation of The Hobbit with basically no (pleasant) surprises and most of the same weaknesses that plagued both …Journey and The Desolation of Smaug. There is a smattering of fantasy fun amid the po-faced gloom, though. On a minute-by-minute basis, The Battle of the Five Armies – by far the shortest of Jackson’s Middle Earth films – is the most solid entry of this prequel trilogy…

Click for the full review for The Skinny


Manakamana (Stephanie Spray and Pacho Velez, 2013)

December 8, 2014


From Harvard’s experimental Sensory Ethnography Lab, which gave us 2012’s haunting fishing vessel doc Leviathan, comes Manakamana. This is an altogether different beast from that previous effort, with a new directing team: while Leviathan was a forceful sensory overload, Manakamana is more tranquil in tone and visual setup, but it’s no less affecting for it.

Click for the full review for The Skinny


My Month in Films: November 2014

December 1, 2014


22 films, 18 first time viewings

Best first time viewings
1. Playtime (Jacques Tati, 1967, France/Italy)
2. The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (Preston Sturges, 1944, USA)
3. Goodbye to Language 3D (Jean-Luc Godard, 2014, France)
4. Mr. Turner (Mike Leigh, 2014, UK)
5. The Babadook (Jennifer Kent, 2014, Australia)
6. Born in Flames (Lizzie Borden, 1983, USA)
7. Scandal Sheet (Phil Karlson, 1952, USA)
8. Love at First Fight (Thomas Cailley, 2014, France)
9. Leviathan (Andrey Zvyagintsev, 2014, Russia)
10. My Prairie Home (Chelsea McMullan, 2013, Canada) Read the rest of this entry ?