Matisse has written 50 reviews for films rated ★★★★½ .

  • Inglourious Basterds

    Inglourious Basterds

    ★★★★½

    There's a reason that Quentin Tarantino is one of my favorite directors of all time. It's that he knows how to have an insane amount of fun while still making an incredible movie. From the fairy tale title card that opens Inglourious Basterds to the gloating final remark from Tarantino (delivered by Brad Pitt), we're sent on a rollercoaster ride full of playfully self-indulgent quirks, loving nods to cinema, and a delightful disregard for history. The film's premise alone is…

  • Thursday.

    Thursday.

    ★★★★½

    Thursday is a very quiet experimental film that utilizes a series of stationary closeup shots to express the peaceful serenity of a fall afternoon. The simple beauty of this piece comes in the framing of its shots and the subtle movement and detail that can be picked out. There's a very acute sound image relationship that's wonderful to observe. Not a whole lot to think about when watching Thursday, but plenty to enjoy.

  • Frankenstein

    Frankenstein

    ★★★★½

    A Century of Cinema Challenge: 1931

    Horror is one of my favorite genres of film, and there's almost nothing I love more than watching old classic horror films that established the genre and set the gears in motion. James Whale's re-imagining of Mary Shelley's classic is now a classic in its own right, and though it is not very faithful to that novel, it is a wonderful film that gave us images that millions now associate with the story of…

  • Fruitvale Station

    Fruitvale Station

    ★★★★½

    Right of the bat, I have to say that I was incredibly impressed with Ryan Coogler's debut, Fruitvale Station, telling the true story of Oscar Grant, a man who was wrongfully gunned down by police on New Year's Day, 2009. I found that this film's strength lies in the fact that it doesn't make the shooting the primary scene of the film, rather focusing on the day leading up to that tragic event, allowing us to become acquainted with Oscar…

  • Capote

    Capote

    ★★★★½

    Watched this with a couple of friends in remembrance of the great Phillip Seymour Hoffman. He was a true talent, as this film proves and will never be forgotten.

    Check out my original review here:
    letterboxd.com/mvanrossum/film/capote/

  • Stagecoach

    Stagecoach

    ★★★★½

    I really enjoy Westerns, albeit, I've seen way fewer than I should have. There's just something about gunslinging adventure that gets me going! (I know I'm not the only one though.) Stagecoach is actually my first exposure to the enormously famous filmmaking duo of John Ford and John Wayne. And what a powerful duo they are! Combine Ford's strong, confident directing sense with Wayne's almost comically epic persona and you've got a film that's not only technically excellent, but also…

  • The Transformers: The Movie

    The Transformers: The Movie

    ★★★★½

    After watching Transformers: The Movie for the second time in the last 6 months, I somehow managed to have even more fun with it this time than last time. In my original review I gave it 3.5 stars, but this time I've decided to bump it up a whole star. This film is just great. Nothing but pure campy 80's fun.

    Check out my original review: letterboxd.com/mvanrossum/film/transformers-the-movie/

  • I Saw the Devil

    I Saw the Devil

    ★★★★½

    Before continuing with this review, I'd like to humbly encourage my readers to please direct your attention to my review of Only God Forgives.

    Go ahead, I'll wait.

    letterboxd.com/mvanrossum/film/only-god-forgives/

    You're back? Okay, let's dive right in then.

    The reason I mention my review of Only God Forgives is because in that review, I was pretty aggressive in my criticisms of Refn's overwhelmingly vapid film, and in my viewing of Kim Jee-Woon's I Saw the Devil, I was stunned by the…

  • Faust

    Faust

    ★★★★½

    A Century of Cinema Challenge: 1926

    Why Murnau's Nosferatu gets more recognition than this gem, I will never understand. While Nosferatu is certainly iconic and has carved itself an important niche in film history, Faust is a better film in almost every way imaginable. It's far more unified and better paced, excluding the second act, and Murnau seems to have a much stronger vision for this story. The effects are stunning, even almost a century after its release, and produce…

  • Broken Blossoms

    Broken Blossoms

    ★★★★½

    A Century of Cinema Challenge: 1919

    I've only just begun to delve into the world of silent film, but amidst my limited exposure, Broken Blossoms is the most beautiful silent film I've ever seen. Unlike his racist epic The Birth of a Nation, DW Griffith took a more minimalist approach with Broken Blossoms, an intimate story of racial tolerance and perhaps one of the most tender love stories I've ever seen in a film. The story follows a Chinese Buddhist,…

  • The Devil's Backbone

    The Devil's Backbone

    ★★★★½

    The first of del Toro's two films set during the Spanish Civil War (the second, of course, being the masterpiece, Pan's Labyrinth), The Devil's Backbone is a study in the harsh, cold nature of reality and the way in which everyone, no matter how small or insignificant, is affected by the brutality of war. Set in an orphanage populated by the children of Republicans killed in the war, the story follows Carlos, the newest resident of the orphanage, as he…

  • Donnie Darko

    Donnie Darko

    ★★★★½

    Watched as part of my "100 Movies to See Before You Die" Challenge.

    #15 of 100

    Despite its angsty reputation due to some of its most die-hard fans, Donnie Darko is still one of the best cult classics of its decade. Ethereal, ambiguous, and haunting, it leads the viewer through a labyrinthine story, which, though you eventually find your way out, has so much that lies unseen down dark corridors that require more than one viewing to explore. I've only…