The Equalizer (2014)

Tattoo Signals Standard fare: good guy is endowed with superhuman killing capability, presumably used in the past for what the Agency thought was good. In simple retirement, he is drawn by his sheer goodness into massive, efficient elimination of the bad guys. There isn’t much else to this. What’s interesting here are three stereotypes that… Continue reading The Equalizer (2014)

In Bruges (2008)

The Setup There are a lot of writerly things going on with this script. Most of them are standard devices. Almost too standard. But there is something I noticed. The spoiler here is that the story takes over by the very end and the structure of the story forces the characters to knowingly act as… Continue reading In Bruges (2008)

I Am Cuba (1964)

Sculpted Spatial Force Is this the best film ever made? For me today in its afterglow it is. I’m so fickle. I think if all else were equal, I’ll always take embodied, real cinema that is coherently integrated. The way of telling the story is ideally complex and folded, using tricks to make the story… Continue reading I Am Cuba (1964)

Double Indemnity (1944)

The Match is Out Filmviewing is like most things in life: there are a few predefined roles among which it is convenient to pick. Once you define who you are in the world of cinema, it determines a lot of what you think about what you have just experienced. One of these roles is the… Continue reading Double Indemnity (1944)

Rikyu (1989)

Broken Black Bowl Film can be something thinly exploited for pleasure, or it can serve as tool for living. Many films span the two existences, but not this one. If you are looking for a way to amusingly spend time, this isn’t for you. But if you want something that is intensely lush and explicitly… Continue reading Rikyu (1989)

Siberiade (1979)

2001: Blondsongs, Gasroads and Fogsex Inexplicably this is compared to “Doctor Zhivago,” I suppose because there are Russian revolutionaries. Egad. The films couldn’t be more different. This is inspired by “2001.” Equally inexplicably, “Solaris” is called the Russian 2001 because. Heck, because it has space hardware. Jees. The structure of “2001” is its reason to… Continue reading Siberiade (1979)

Indochine (1992)

Communism as Theater Nothing has the same flavour of sadness as a film gone awry, especially a film with weight. And this has weight at least from its aspirations and budget — even more from the much delayed European examination into their colonial crimes. There’s some lovely photography here, but none of it is cinematic.… Continue reading Indochine (1992)

Snatch (2000)

Style, But to What End? This kind of film superficially resembles what I really yearn for: heavy cinematic qualities in the filmmaking. I look for a harmony of vision among how the camera is managed, the edits are composed, the music punctuates the image. Snatch has this, and sustains a pace almost frenetically conducted. I… Continue reading Snatch (2000)

Sparkling Cyanide

Useless Cushions I could have put up with the silly detectives and their dated witticisms. The similarly dated use of technology… I could have overlooked the cheapness throughout, if they had only preserved the core element of a Christie mystery: we have to be surprised in a very special way at the end. We don’t… Continue reading Sparkling Cyanide