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Rod has written 402 reviews for films during 2013.

  • The Selfish Giant

    The Selfish Giant

    ★★★★

    Well isn't this devastating beast!

    I will resist spoiling the film to keep it fresh for virgin eyes and minds though, and instead will take a moment to mention the way the film utilises it's working class British setting and characters to its advantage, drowning us in thick accents and forcing us to wallow in the mire of troubled and desperate lives dealing with true social hardship, with kids stealing and selling scrap metal to earn a pittance. This is…

  • American Hustle

    American Hustle

    ★★½

    ''You're nothing to me until you're everything.''

    I am actually astounded at the praise that is being heaped on David O'Russell's latest offering. I expected to be entertained out of my skull, yet I every few minutes I had to give myself a response check to ensure I was keeping up with the messy plot, and if I had a mirror nearby it would reflect that I was stone-faced throughout. The simple fact for me is that I did not…

  • Leviathan

    Leviathan

    ★★★★

    ''Job 41:31 He maketh the deep to boil like a pot: he maketh the sea like a pot of ointment.
    32 He maketh a path to shine after him; one would think the deep to be hoary.
    33 Upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear.''

    Imagine David Lynch decided made an documentary about commercial fishing. Now if you are thinking avant-garde, experimental, nightmarish and hallucinatory and a wild cacophony of sound design, then you are…

  • Fires on the Plain

    Fires on the Plain

    ★★★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    ''Come back! You can eat me!''

    Kon Ichikawa offers up a very bleak anti-war film in Fires on the Plain, almost the antithesis of his more optimistic and contemplative The Burmese Harp from only a few years earlier, as we journey into the depths of degradation and the darkness of the human soul with our lonely wandering protagonist Tamura (Eiji Funakoshi) as he strives to survive the ravages of starvation and the morally depraved psyches of his fellow man.

    From…

  • Nebraska

    Nebraska

    ★★★★½

    ''Have a drink with your old man. Be somebody!''

    Another fine character piece from Alexander Payne, that eases you gently into it's rhythm, never rushing it's journey but rewarding with gold along the way. The stark monochrome is as grey as the lives of the characters, with no colour to brighten their world, living from day to day. Bruce Dern's Woody Grant is on a mission to cash in his million dollar sweepstakes prize that he received in the mail,…

  • Rush

    Rush

    ★★★

    ''That wind you can feel is me breathing down your neck. Next time, I'll have you.''

    And with dialogue like the quote above, how can one expect anything less than Formulaic One from chief Hollywood hack Director Ron Howard. As Ebert once said: ''It's not what a movie is about, it's how it is about it.'', and boy did I try hard to apply that mantra to a subject I am completely ambivalent to, but Howard just could not crank…

  • Her

    Her

    ★★★★★

    ''Falling in love is a crazy thing to do. It's like a socially acceptable form of insanity.''

    I heard a critic describe Spike Jonze as a 'comic poet', and it feels an appropriate assessment on this increasingly brilliant modern auteur. This is one of those rare films where no superlative can express how I feel in its afterglow, how deeply it moved me, how wonderfully complex its exploration of human emotions actually is, yet I feel I need to write…

  • In the House

    In the House

    ★★★★

    François Ozon adapts a Juan Mayorga play called The Boy in the Last Row to serve up a delicious little film about narratives and the art of the written word. With nods to Rear Window where voyeurism can start to let peoples imaginations get the better of them, French language teacher Germain shepherds the talent student Claude who's writing reveals personal details of a household he has been spending more and more time in. Germain begins to live vicariously through…

  • Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro

    Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro

    ★★★★½

    ''This is a treasure for all mankind. Too big for my pocket, anyway.''

    Damn this film is a blast!

    My second viewing of Miyazaki's debut full-length animated feature and it sets the template for the next few films to come. Think of a big mish-mash of Indiana Jones style action and adventure, Sherlock Holmes mystery, tie it together with a string of memorable characters and wrap it up in a sharp and witty script. The narrative is thrilling and engaging…

  • Camille Claudel, 1915

    Camille Claudel, 1915

    ★★★★

    An extremely compassionate biopic observation on a agonized artist, as laid out with minimalist execution by Bruno Dumont. Juliette Binoche delivers an incredibly tortured performance as the titular Camille Claudel as we spend time with her in the asylum she is imprisoned in, against her will and with broken soul. She spends most of her time trying to escape the bellowing and wailing inmates, detaching herself from them, wishing to not be associated with their kind, yet it seems that…

  • Post Tenebras Lux

    Post Tenebras Lux

    ★★★★★

    After Darkness, Light

    My first Carlos Reygadas film comes in the form of what has been described as his most elliptical work, yet I chose to walk into this blind, not reading, hearing or knowing anything. That feeling you get when you watch a film in a state of hypnosis and audibly gasp as the credits roll as you start breathing again. That was my experience watching this stunning film.

    What struck me immediately was the most beautiful opening scene…

  • Kung Fu Panda

    Kung Fu Panda

    ★★★½

    DreamWorks animation are coming along nicely, and may just get a whiff of Pixar's crown while the kings are on the decline, yet despite the appealing setting and vivid eyegasm animation, I was not overly invested here. The plot is generic and it doesn't try to do much to escape it's tired formula, but is slapsticky good fun for the most part. Is it just me or did this try to ride on the back of Kill Bill's success?