Matisse has written 34 reviews for films rated ★★★★½ during 2014.

  • Ida

    Ida

    ★★★★½

    Pawel Pawlikowski's Ida is a beautifully haunting film that packs heaps of meaning into a sparse, 80 minute frame. In Poland, 1962, Anna, a young novice at a convent, is ordered by her Mother Superior to seek out her only living relative, whom she has never met, before she takes her vows. Not knowing what to expect, Anna travels to visit her Aunt Wanda, a hardened, bitter woman who tells her that Anna's real name is Ida, she's Jewish, and…

  • Jaws

    Jaws

    ★★★★½

    100 Movies to See Before You Die Challenge

    #18 of 100

    A true classic in every single way. I can't help but catch myself mouthing those iconic one-liners and "Smile, you son of a--" still sends the best chills down my spine. I don't think I ever won't love this movie.

    My original review:
    letterboxd.com/mvanrossum/film/jaws/

  • Touch of Evil

    Touch of Evil

    ★★★★½

    A Century of Cinema Challenge: 1958

    My respect and admiration for Orson Welles knows no limits. He was one of the truly greatest filmmakers ever and a master at his craft. It's really a shame that his career was such a difficult one, his struggles with Hollywood producers seemingly never ending. The version of Touch of Evil that was released to the public was, similarly to The Magnificent Ambersons, cut to hell and back and its only been in recent…

  • The Night of the Hunter

    The Night of the Hunter

    ★★★★½

    "Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms."

    My original review:
    letterboxd.com/mvanrossum/film/the-night-of-the-hunter/

  • Dial M for Murder

    Dial M for Murder

    ★★★★½

    A Century of Cinema Challenge: 1954

    Good ol' Hitchcock. Never failing to deliver the thrills and chills, the murder and the mystery. This one is a little different than most though, because it is essentially confined to one location, and I think this was an excellent choice for the master of suspense. Barring two, maybe three scenes, Dial M for Murder never goes farther than a single room, the parlor of Tony and Margot Wendice. Hitchcock takes us through a…

  • The Brood

    The Brood

    ★★★★½

    The Cronenberg Compensation Challenge

    #10

    I love David Cronenberg because of his uncanny ability to make the most unsettling and bizarre stories while still being whip-smart and original with his scripts. The Brood seems to be a more understated work of his. I've never heard much hype around it and that just made it all the more surprising when I got completely sucked in. The Brood has quickly risen in the ranks to become one of my favorite Cronenberg films.…

  • The Idiots

    The Idiots

    ★★★★½

    The Idiots is one of those film's that's kind of hard to gauge after only one viewing. But as usual, in his misanthropic way, Lars von Trier shows us a detestable aspect of society, this time in the form of a commune of people who pretend to be mentally handicapped as a method of self-exploration and discovery. However, here von Trier shows a glimmer of redemption beneath the muck.

    This isn't to say that his characters are likable, as they're…

  • Sunset Boulevard

    Sunset Boulevard

    ★★★★½

    A Century of Cinema Challenge: 1950

    Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard is a beautifully scathing commentary on the brutality of the Hollywood industry, sprinkled with touches of black comedy and satire. It's one of those films who's reputation precedes it, and there's not much for me to say that hasn't already been said to death about this classic. So I'll be brief.

    Sunset Boulevard is an example of near perfect storytelling complete with an unorthodox narrator. On top of that, Wilder…

  • The Prestige

    The Prestige

    ★★★★½

    Wow, this one took me by surprise!

    I've always really enjoyed Christopher Nolan and his "puzzle films," even if they get a little convoluted, I can almost always guarantee that I'll at least have a good time. The Prestige really takes the cake though (granted, I haven't seen Memento yet) at delivering some mind bending twists and turns that kept me glued to my seat and my eyes glued to the screen.

    It's hard to go into too much detail…

  • Mister Lonely

    Mister Lonely

    ★★★★½

    It's always difficult to know where to begin a review of a Harmony Korine film. They're always so layered and beautifully bizarre that it's hard to find a jumping off point. I think Mister Lonely is easily Korine's most accessible film, followed by Spring Breakers, but I also feel that because of this, it's also his least "Korine" film. Don't get me wrong, it's weird, but it's not that kind of aggressive, get in your face weird, that you would…

  • Bicycle Thieves

    Bicycle Thieves

    A Century of Cinema Challenge: 1948

    If there has ever been a film that has defined a generation, then Vittorio de Sica's Bicycle Thieves is the film that defined post-WWII Italy. A beautifully simple film, it follows Antonio Ricci, a poor man who finally is offered a job that would allow his family to start living comfortably again, after years of living in poverty. But once his bicycle is stolen, preventing him from doing his job, the rest of the…

  • The Night of the Hunter

    The Night of the Hunter

    ★★★★½

    The Night of the Hunter is a film that initially drove me into stunned silence, as I was blown away by its dark brilliance. A southern gothic fairy tale, it combines German Expressionism and noir thrills in equal measure, all held together with some of the strongest directing I've ever seen. It focuses on exploring duplicity and his characterized by opposites: light and dark, good and evil, love and hate, innocence and corruption, tenderness and cruelty, greed and selflessness, the…