Matthew Buchanan

Matthew Buchanan

Crew

Co-founder of Letterboxd.
“I’m twelve. But I’ve been twelve for a long time.”

Favorite films

  • Badlands
  • Shaun of the Dead
  • Love Serenade
  • The Favourite

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  • The Card Counter

    ★★★½

  • kid 90

    ★★½

  • Old

    ★★½

  • Den of Thieves

    ★★★★

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  • First Man

    First Man

    ★★★★½

    Grainy, noisy and claustrophobic, and that’s before we even set foot inside a Gemini module. It took me a little while to warm to Linus Sandgren’s extreme close-up camerawork, but it’s a stylistic choice that serves to reframe any mundanity that was present in the Armstrongs’ home life, and to propel an otherwise traditional narrative along in an unexpected way.

    The mostly male cast is teeming with worthy character actors, many of whom are underused, but only so we can…

  • United 93

    United 93

    ★★★★★

    Ruthlessly economical filmmaking that so effectively illustrates just how unexpected and unfathomable the events of 9/11 were for the passengers and ground crews involved.

    Once past the opening hotel room and boarding gate scenes, the film never strays beyond the walls of the hijacked aircraft or the military and civilian command centres that responded. Director Greengrass provides no explanation — other than perhaps nerves — for the hijackers’ delayed gambit on board, and deliberately downplays most of the day’s iconic…

Recent reviews

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  • Short Circuit

    Short Circuit

    ★★½

    Fascinating to revisit two-plus decades on. The story beats were familiar but I’d forgotten exactly how slapstick it is, and there’s new context to consider around Fisher Stevens’ South Asian character. Syd Mead MVP.

  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

    The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

    I didn’t make it to this third entry in theatres, having mentally checked out somewhere during the barrel scene in part two. This one is demonstrably worse, in almost every respect, but especially in the quality of the effects work—like the orcs and the dwarfs, bad CGI clobbers you over the head for the vast majority of its runtime, cutting to and fro between tight green-screen close-ups with soft-feathered mattes, and fully animated human characters that just don’t move right.…

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  • Drive

    Drive

    ★★★★★

    The tech writer John Gruber is fond of a Kubrick quote about the truth of a thing being in the feel of it rather than the think of it, a phrase that for me perfectly explains the appeal of Nicolas Winding Refn’s noirish adaptation of the James Sallis novel. Right from the first hotel room scene, through a near wordless 15-minute opening stanza, the foreboding atmosphere of an after-hours, back-streets Los Angeles takes hold. The ambient, minimal score by Cliff…

  • Les Misérables

    Les Misérables

    ★★★

    Golden boy director, hot off earnest 2011 Oscar winner The King’s Speech, cashes in open-slather offer for next project by committing to film universally adored hit musical about love at first sight and the redemptive power of student uprisings.

    Loses drunken bet over which member of the Master and Commander cast will play the pivotal role of Javert, and is forced to cast vocally-challenged Aussie rocker, only to have him murder ‘Stars’ and be thoroughly upstaged by pint-sized unknown Daniel…