Matisse has written 8 reviews for films rated ★★½ during 2014.

  • Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth

    Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth

    You know, the first time I saw Hellraiser III, I don't remember enjoying it nearly this much. There's no doubt that it's a bad film, but what makes it such a mess also makes it really funny. Anthony Hickox took Hellraiser from oppressive horror to campy action, and as a story, it widely misses it's mark, but I must say, it looks great doing it. Hickox has an excellent visual sensibility, as it's a really well shot film with some…

  • Wuthering Heights

    Wuthering Heights


    A Century of Cinema Challenge: 1939

    The reason I give William Wyler's Wuthering Heights such a low rating has more to do with my general distaste for romances (especially 19th century British ones) than cinematic incompetence. The direction, writing, and acting are all fine and it's beautifully shot, but I quickly found myself bored with the characters and the story. I haven't read the novel this film is based off of, but I know the film only covers the first…

  • Tell Your Children

    Tell Your Children


    A Century of Cinema Challenge: 1936

    Reefer Madness is a terribly made film that plays off the 1930's fear of literally everything using ham-fisted exaggerations and misinformation. It begins at a PTA meeting where Dr. Carrol, a school counselor (or something) who just so happens to be THE authority on marijuana, is relating a story to troubled parents about some youths who ended up in deep shit by smoking some joints. According to Reefer Madness, smoking marijuana will cause you…

  • All About My Mother

    All About My Mother


    All About My Mother is a Spanish dramedy by Almodovar that, while visually beautiful, felt so much like a telenovela that I quickly found it tiresome. It's a meandering, sometimes convoluted story involving transvestite prostitutes, drug addicted actors, and a pregnant nun with HIV, and when put in this simple context, it sounds utterly ridiculous. Fortunately, Almodovar is a rather talented storyteller and he manages to weave these aspects into a narrative with a degree of taste and poise. Thematically,…

  • Killer's Kiss

    Killer's Kiss


    Killer's Kiss is a horribly bland effort from the great Stanley Kubrick which would have been a substantially larger flop if not for Kubrick's absolutely masterful directing. Stretched into a 67 minute film that feels substantially longer, the story is tepid at best and contains flashbacks within flashbacks that only serve to make it contrived and confusing. It doesn't help that the cast delivers bland performances all around. A sparse narrative, a completely unthreatening villain, no real sense of consequence…

  • Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

    Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones


    I took my girlfriend to see this last night for her birthday. We both agree that this franchise has worn out its welcome, but we've seen all the others, and what can I say, we're invested, no matter how trashy and predictable they get. And trashy and predictable is exactly what these films are, so we went in with the lowest possible expectations. And because of our low expectations, we actually enjoyed ourselves. We had the whole theater to ourselves…

  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame

    The Hunchback of Notre Dame


    A Century of Cinema Challenge: 1923

    I remember reading Victor Hugo's classic, The Hunchback of Notre Dame when I was a sophomore in high school. Hugo's overly descriptive writing style wasn't really my cup of tea at the time, and my memory of specific plot details faded over the years. Watching this adaptation brought back a lot of these details from the novel, and I was impressed to see how true to Hugo's work this film was. That being said,…

  • Aziz Ansari: Buried Alive

    Aziz Ansari: Buried Alive

    Aziz Ansari is one of my favorite modern comedians. I've seen his first two specials several times and laughed my ass off each time without fail. After seeing Buried Alive when it came out a few months ago, I was pretty underwhelmed and disappointed. Today, I gave it a rewatch with my girlfriend (who hadn't seen it yet) and apart from a few chuckles, we were both pretty bored throughout.

    The problem with this special is that Aziz, upon reaching…