Notes, page 6

  1. Casino Royale 2006

    Rewatched 8 January 2017

    “Yes. Considerably.”

    This is the best one, isn’t it? No other Bond film comes close.

    While some other entries in the series succeed on a sort of meta level of being good for a Bond film, this one dispenses with any rose-tinted glasses requirement. It’s the real deal.

    The absurd poker gets a pass. One sympathises.

  2. Titanic 1997

    Rewatched 2 January 2017

    Ah, Titanic. James Cameron proves that everything about a movie can be cheesy in one fell swoop. It’s an astounding cinematic achievement. Cheesy love story, cheesy dialogue, cheesy music… Even the editing is cheesy. Example: near the end, when the shot of the sinking necklace fades to the sleeping old lady, the necklace is briefly positioned over her head before it disappears. Do you get it? It’s like she’s dreaming about it or something! Truly poetic stuff.

    I congratulate James Cameron on making it all work — Titanic is a Good Movie. It brims with personality and is unquestionably memorable. Plus, I have to applaud his ethos in the search for complete cheesiness with the 3D conversion. Wish I’d seen that one.

  3. Prisoners 2013

    Watched 28 December 2016

    Just harrowing. This film hit me like a brick.

    Denis Villeneuve has definitely got a good thing going — he is proving himself to be a master of both tone and detail. Despite being two and a half hours long, the film never lets up. Not a moment feels wasted; every shot is packed with information and detail. The soundtrack is perfect. And my god, Roger Deakins.

    Jake Gyllenhaal is amazing in this, like I was promised. People should stop complaining about the quality of “new-school” American actors, because this guy exists.

  4. The Accountant 2016

    Watched 25 December 2016

    So much potential was wasted here, it’s kinda hard to watch. I had to deduct half a star to account for the simply insulting writing-numbers-on-windows math genius montage. This film should have learned something from its main character: focus and terseness.

  5. The Handmaiden 2016

    Watched 9 December 2016

    What an awe-inspiring juggling act. Not just in terms of story, but (more impressively) in structure, characterization, and tone. And yet, not a single ball is dropped. This film is excitingly original and delightfully well executed.

  6. Arrival 2016

    Watched 12 November 2016

    Beautiful, unconventional, relentlessly tense. Arrival nails the uneasy, humbling atomsphere of facing the unknown.

    Favorite detail: how the exact shape of the alien “pods” is kept ambiguous through clever camera angles, only to be progressively revealed throughout the film as different views are shown. Quite fitting.

    The Blade Runner sequel seems to be in very good hands.

  7. I Saw the Devil 2010

    Watched 31 October 2016

    An overall enjoyable film, thanks to good performances and some amazing visuals. The taxi scene sticks out as an amazing feat, and a cool nod to Children of Men’s oner.

    My problem is with the script. Being about revenge, it does a poor job of selling the main character’s taste for it. Not much attention is given to how the main character is transformed into a psychopath — the film seems only interested in exploring the gory end result of that transformation. There is no “descent into madness”; the main character seems to take an express elevator straight to the bottom floor.

    While other revenge flicks like Oldboy or The Man From Nowhere offer revenge as catharsis, this film seems content in presenting it as a fetish.

  8. Spirited Away 2001

    Watched 11 September 2016

    Instead of just being weird for weird’s sake (I’m looking at you, Alice in Wonderland), the bizarre setting is used to amplify the emotional punch of the story. Everything is there for a reason, and it all feels seamless and coherent. The writing is never preachy or heavy-handed, while delivering fascinating character development. A masterclass in “show, don’t tell”. Above all, I love the optimism this film places in the power of kindness. Such a simple, powerful concept — so well executed.

  9. Captain America: Civil War 2016

    Watched 30 August 2016

    It seems like action blockbuster increasingly means superheroes. That would be fine if not everything had to be part of an “extended universe”. These films all feel exactly the same, and it’s by design. Meh.

    Still, this was enjoyable; had some fun parts despite the thin plot and characterization. Only some of the main characters seem to have any depth at all, and (what could be) interesting plot points are instantly squandered in favor of more fighting. Oh, well.

    This is made to please as many people as possible, and it shows. I just wish more varied kinds of action films still fit that description too.