Celluloid Junkie - 3314 Rankings
Member Since: Oct 21, 2010
Bio: "The complete filmgoer is open to the movie on the screen, and asks it to work in its own ways for its own purposes. He does not fault one for not being the other, but is grateful for both if they are successful." - Roger Ebert, Review of "Keane" (2004)
|69 T3||American Fable (2016) - Sep 15, 2017
"Intriguing drama/thriller too often at odds with itself tonally, whiplashing between grounded, realistic drama and more abstract, fantastical fairytale elements. Characterisations vary wildly too, at the whims of the story and plotting - is the man in the silo really there? If he is, is he a willing prisoner etc. However, the terrific performances all around help keep the film involving, and Kennedy's completely grounded, naturalistic performance ranks amongst the best child performances."
|46 T1||20th Century Women (2016) - Sep 15, 2017
"Aimless, hazy journey through the suburbs in the late 70s lacks any sort of narrative spine, which would be fine if the film could focus or bring any sort of insight to bear on its eclectic group of characters, who largely drift around waiting for something interesting to happen, which unfortunately never does. There is obvious personal passion which Mills feels for these people, but the significance is lacking to an outsider. Performances are fine, with Fanning becoming a reliable stand-out."
|80 T5||All We Had (2016) - Sep 15, 2017
"Creditable directorial debut for Holmes, who reveals an expert knack for drawing excellent performances from a well-chosen cast (even if she herself feels somewhat miscast as the lowly drifter). The underlying familiarity of the source material means that most of the story's dramatic punches are telegraphed well in advance, but the stop-short on a happy ending, and the clear passion brought to the project, gives it an urgency which outweighs its flaws."
|63 T2||Ali and Nino (2016) - Sep 15, 2017
"Game attempt to recapture the spirit of the David Lean school of epic film-making falls disappointingly short, thanks to Kapadia's laborious direction, and Bakri and Valverde's bland and lifeless performances as the title duo, not to mention a distinct lack of heat or tension in their chemistry. Patinkin fares best as Nino's father, and production-wise the film doesn't show it's fairly low budget, with lavish costumes and set design, married to beautiful location photography."
|70 T3||Harley and the Davidsons (2016) - Sep 15, 2017
"Amiable mini-series telling of the rise and fall (and rise again!) of the Harley Davidson motorbike falls well within the 'underdog' tale framework, but remains engaging and involving, especially thanks to convincing period detail and fine, heartfelt performances from its three leads. Appealing and fun, even for those not particularly interested in the subject matter!"
|52 T1||Baby Driver (2017) - Aug 27, 2017
"Haphazard gangster film born from the post-Tarantino explosion of the late 90s, but mixed with an even more 'modern' self referential style of film-making (Baby's iPod buds feel like a tip of the hat to GOTG.) With director Wright at the helm, this should have been more successful, but the film is too relentlessly obsessed with self-indulgent digressions and dialogue to be moving or involving in any meaningful way. Terrific chase scenes, and an inspired HALLOWEEN gag, are saving graces."
|72 T3||Office Christmas Party (2016) - Aug 19, 2017
"No better or worse than a hundred other 'Hangover' imitators, but a fine comic cast makes the experience enjoyable (as well as unexpected ring-in Vance, whose loss of control during a drug trip is the comic highlight). Disappointing that McKinnon is more or less wasted in a supporting part, which never gives her the chance to break loose; Bateman and Aniston are fine as the more-or-less straight guys."
|73 T4||Nina (2016) - Aug 18, 2017
"Middling biopic of Simone feels scattershot and uncertain for the most part, especially when dealing with Simone's drug issues and political activism -- it's unclear at most stages of the film what it is that drives her, either musically, politically, or towards self-destruction. Worthwhile for Saldana's terrific performance (which deserved a better movie) and her recreations of Simone's vocal performances."
|80 T5||Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016) - Aug 18, 2017
"Pretty much same song, second verse, but when the singers are this accomplished, and the song is a foot-tapper, it's hard to go wrong -- especially good this time is Efron's reformed bad-boy, and the scatological humour, while in questionable taste, hits far more often than it misses."
|79 T5||Neighbors (2014) - Aug 18, 2017
"Enjoyable comedy goes nowhere you don't expect it to, but a perfect cast wrings every drop of humour it can out of proceedings (even if the finale becomes a little too frantic and overblown). The excellent comic chemistry between Rogen and Efron is the highlight (though worrisome that Rogen should be seen as 'old' in this context!) but performance wise, Byrne steals the film. Kudrow's brief appearance as the face of bureaucracy is also good for a loud guffaw."