Matisse has written 5 reviews for films rated ★★ during 2014.

  • Insidious: Chapter 2

    Insidious: Chapter 2

    With Insidious: Chapter 2, James Wan could have gone two directions. He could have stuck with the quiet eeriness of the first two-thirds of the original film (what made Insidious so effective), or he could have carried on the unbelievable, ridiculous melodrama of the final act. Unfortunately, he decided to go with the latter, and that's why Chapter 2 ended up as an uninspired, unnecessary sequel to a solidly self-contained story.

    Wan's now familiar visual style is one of the…

  • Hellraiser: Bloodline

    Hellraiser: Bloodline

    Hellraiser: Bloodline is a film with a lot of ambition, but never really lives up to it. It attempts to explain the origin of the Lament Configuration in an original and unique manner, but is just so slow and boring that I found myself just not caring. I don't remember being so bored the last time I watched this, but I think it's because I was doing something else while watching it, so I could divide my attention. This time,…

  • Secret Weapons

    Secret Weapons

    (Short) Film #9 of my Cronenberg Compensation Challenge

    Another made for TV short directed by Cronenberg. Directing was the only role he had in the making of Secret Weapons, and the direction is fine. Not remarkable, not revolutionary, but fine. It's everything else that really hurts this film. The production value is just terrible, all of the acting is flat and uninspired, and it's just dated to hell and back. The story is intriguing but really underdeveloped. The script tries…

  • Picnic at Hanging Rock

    Picnic at Hanging Rock

    Peter Weir's Picnic at Hanging Rock is hailed by most as a masterpiece and it really makes me wonder if I saw a different film than most people. It completely missed the mark with me. It's a film that tries to be ambiguous and tantalizing by withholding answers, but it withholds so much that it just ends up being insanely frustrating.

    For the first 30 minutes, I admit, I was exceedingly intrigued. Weir sets up an interesting environment with a…

  • American Hustle

    American Hustle

    Overrated. Wildly overrated. Almost criminally overrated. I cannot say enough how overrated American Hustle is. I've been reading the reviews from all of my LB friends as they've come in, one by one, and they've been divisive to say the least, proclaiming it to be either a masterpiece or a mess. I'm a pretty late guest to the party, but I finally got around to watching American Hustle last night and as the credits rolled, I was so frustrated with…