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simplicio

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Movie Buff - 140 Film Ratings

Member Since: Jan 24, 2010

Location: NYC, USA

more Recent Ratings

79 67% The Revenant (2015) - Sep 18, 2016
"DiCaprio's good here, though the real draws for me are the Sakamoto/Nicolai score and the Canadian landscape (despite Lubezki's showy overuse of wide angle distortion) that pull the film along. Iñárritu does a nice job forging a vision of visceral bodily fragility, but undercuts that with flat story, silly dream sequences and Native Americans used mostly as props and signifiers. That's galling when Howard's father probably presents the most interesting opportunity for character and motivation."
87 86% Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011) - Nov 15, 2012
"Really impressive, masterfully liminal debut from Durkin. He projects a palpable sense of disorientation in cutting between ill-lit, indeterminate houses; it's a technique that gives real insight into Martha, and becomes truly riveting as the menacing potential of the cult begins to envelope the film. Hawkes and Paulson are both strong, and Olsen is a perfect conduit: unanchored, disturbed, terrified, luminous and petulant. Wonderful soundtrack- beautiful heavy ambiences and Jackson C Frank."
70 47% Young Adult (2011) - Aug 20, 2012
"There are some elements of Theron's character that feel very perceptive and true, and she nails them when they're allowed to breath, but that doesn't happen often enough. Cody's script is too expository and working too hard to hit perceptible bullet points, which is a shame because the supporting cast seems to find a very natural default when not being pushed around by the plot. Nice use of music here, somehow outdoing the cast at setting the scene and the palpable tension, and doing so quietly."
80 69% Drive (2011) - Jun 10, 2012
"Refn is most effective here when detailing precise causal mechanics, whether those are the functioning of a car part on a workbench or the gush of a sliced artery. The detachment on display serves as an effective window into the head of the driver, wherein people (barring the neighbors) are afforded only as much consideration as cars. The film weakens considerably in its steps back from this M.O. however, as the writing never allows its characters any humanity beyond the barest outlines."
64 33% Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey (2011) - Jun 03, 2012
"As short as Being Elmo is, it still feels unfocused and rather slapped together, which is especially unfortunate given the rich veins left mostly unmined. The conflict between work and family seems a source of great tension, but gets little more than sloppily constructed lip service. While there are plenty of intriguing and powerful moments presented, there's no real flow to the doc, and the interviews lack any special insights into Clash's character; we learn more from the shots of his work."
42 10% The Help (2011) - Dec 31, 2011
"Fundamentally broken from the start- Taylor decided to make a BIG THINGS HAPPENING biopic based around the day to day racism experienced by southern black maids. So in lieu of big civil rights events, we get BIG ACTING HAPPENING. You can hardly blame the actresses; it's a terrible script full of half-baked signifiers and cliched archetypes instead of human interaction or development, and a director who's creatively incapable of anything beyond strictly utilitarian, mass market film-making."
83 74% Eye in the Sky (2007) - Oct 11, 2011
"Yau spent enough time working for Johnny To to assemble some seriously craftly structures here. The opening sequence in particular is an incredible piece of pinpoint geometry, a breathless introduction to a typically great ensemble of To players, made effortless by a perfect display of efficiency. The rest of the film has a slower, more peculiar cadence, emphasizing the melodrama and absurdity of a drawn out punchline, as it mirrors the fishhooks of an artificial, constructed version of karma."
78 65% Slacker (1991) - Oct 10, 2011
"Hazy, addled, softly paranoid, characters drifting like a swarm of gnats. Linklater conveys simultaneous empathy for and dismissal of his characters, while quietly, humorously toying with verity and viewer expectation. The meandering camera works well at underpinning all the emotionally stagnant weirdo discourse into an oddly lulling brew, and while the final segment isn't a violent revolution, it does provide a fitting catharsis, a tumbling swirl of film and the joy we've been lacking."
61 29% Cold Weather (2010) - Sep 10, 2011
"Not so much a melding of mumblecore and thriller as it is a schoolyard scuffle between the two. The dialogue attempting to tie them and provide plot points is weak enough to be distracting, especially as delivered by torpid hipsters. Rikoon brings in a breath of life at least, nervy and other and intriguing despite her bum lines and frequent absences from the screen. Really, it's Andrew Reed's camera (along with whoever did the beautiful Oregon location scouting) that deserves top billing."
18 0% Unstoppable (2010) - Jun 05, 2011
"So I watched this due to some coverage of it on a sound design website, and sure enough that lone element held some interest, a creative bright spot persevering in the face of extreme idiocy. Otherwise, Unstoppable feels oddly out of time, like it was made in an era before every single other thing here was crafted from the rotting undead flesh of cliche. And try as he might, Scott is unable to fully disguise the fact that his trains appear to be running at 1/3 their advertised speeds."