Matisse has written 13 reviews for films rated ★★★ during 2013.

  • Civilization

    Civilization

    ★★★

    A Century of Cinema: 1916

    For my 1916 entry for this challenge, my original plan was to watch DW Griffith's Intolerance. But not wanting two Griffith films in a row, and frankly not wanting to sit through Intolerance's three and a half hour runtime this soon after watching The Birth of a Nation, I went with the lesser known Civilization, a film only three others on Letterboxd have seen and which none have reviewed, so I'm the first!

    Civilization is…

  • The Birth of a Nation

    The Birth of a Nation

    ★★★

    A Century of Cinema Challenge: 1915

    Just to make something clear right off the bat: the three stars I give DW Griffith's The Birth of a Nation are earned solely through its technical achievement as being a major pioneer of cinema as we know it today. Griffith was a brilliant, if incredibly misguided, filmmaker, paving the way for modern cinema with techniques that were unheard of in his time, but which filmmakers still use to this day. That being said,…

  • Caught in the Rain

    Caught in the Rain

    ★★★

    A Century of Cinema Challenge: 1914

    Charlie Chaplin's directorial debut suffers from many of the mistakes of first time directors, but still delivers some perfectly timed slapstick. It's a fun little short, plagued by sloppy jump cuts, but still entertaining enough to elicit a few laughs. Chaplin's acting is (unsurprisingly) stronger than his directing here, however, the young director's potential is certainly evident, showing an unsteady but enthusiastic first step into the world of directing. The comedy is a tad inconsistent, and comes in waves, but when it's good it's spot on.

  • Super High Me

    Super High Me

    ★★★

    There's not too much to say about Super High Me. Started as a joke turned experiment, comedian Doug Benson abstains from smoking marijuana for 30 days, during which he takes all kinds of tests, physical, intellectual, academic, and psychological, in order to determine weed's lasting effect on the human body. You can probably guess where this is going. He then smokes all day, every day, for 30 days, taking the same tests to see if the results differ any, but…

  • Bronson

    Bronson

    ★★★

    After my incredibly boring experience with Valhalla Rising, I was told by a couple of friends that I should watch Bronson and Drive because they're Nicholas Winding Refn's best films. I sat down last night to watch Bronson with some trepidation but still with high hopes, because I really want to like a Refn film. After watching it, I came to the easy conclusion that though it's quite a bit better than Valhalla Rising, I'm still not buying what Refn…

  • Reincarnated

    Reincarnated

    ★★★

    First off, this is my 100th review since joining Letterboxd!! Woohoo!

    Anyway, now to the point. Reincarnated is a documentary that I've seen twice now, and I've noticed that it gets a lot of hate from the Letterboxd community. Don't get me wrong, it's nothing incredibly special as documentaries go, and it's certainly nowhere near the quality of films such as The Act of Killing. But it's a competently made film, it's shot quite nicely, and it's interesting for anyone…

  • eXistenZ

    eXistenZ

    ★★★

    Film #5 of my Cronenberg Compensation Challenge.

    This film is a mess. Confusing, convoluted plot, cheesy dialogue, some almost unforgivably bad acting from big name actors, and some of the worst accents I've ever heard. But here's the thing: the surprise ending completely makes up for, and even justifies all of it. I'm not going to spoil it for those who haven't seen it, but it's on a level that I would loosely call genius. When it was over, I…

  • Death Proof

    Death Proof

    ★★★

    Tarantino says that he considers Death Proof his worst film. Well Quentin, I agree with you. Compared to the likes of Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and Inglorious Basterds, Death Proof really doesn't hold up. But I enjoy Tarantino-isms so much that they make me smile no matter how cheap they are. Watching this film, I just got the feeling that Tarantino wasn't very invested in it from the get-go, and he just decided to fall back on one of the…

  • The Dead Zone

    The Dead Zone

    ★★★

    Film #3 of my Cronenberg Compensation Challenge.

    In my experience, adaptations of Stephen King novels tend to be pretty shitty, barring a few exceptions (The Shining, The Shawshank Redemption, etc.). While The Dead Zone isn't a terrible film by any stretch of the word, it does leave a lot to be desired. I think the biggest problem is that the first act sets a bad tone for the film. Almost every aspect, from the script to to Christopher Walken's performance,…

  • Iron Sky

    Iron Sky

    ★★★

    As much flak as Iron Sky gets, surprisingly, I enjoyed it. It doesn't take itself too seriously, it's irreverent, and it's got a weird combination of good CGI and bad green screen that I found oddly amusing. The premise itself is great, and while the way it's handled is a little clumsy, it's still decent enough to be fun. The acting is bad, but that fits with the classic B-movie style it tries to emulate. I also appreciated the plethora of references it made to other films. Not too much else to say. It's nothing magnificent, but it's entertaining.

  • The Stuff

    The Stuff

    ★★★

    The Stuff is a weird film. It's just weird, and I'm not really sure how else to describe it. While it's a pretty clever satire of 1980's American consumerism and it actually has some pretty well done sequences (see the hotel room scene where the Stuff is in the pillows and mattress) there are some things that just don't make sense and confused me so much that I wasn't sure if I thought they were funny or not.

    It's pretty…

  • Army of Darkness

    Army of Darkness

    ★★★

    I thought Evil Dead II hit the absolute high point of ridiculous. Boy, was I wrong. Although while Evil Dead II was just a series of ridiculous turns and overacting still set in a story that maintains some semblance of the horror genre, Army of Darkness just takes the bold leap into silliness. There's nothing even remotely scary about this film, or much that would even place it into the horror genre in my opinion, unless you consider the presence…