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Rod has written 387 reviews for films during 2014.

  • The Long Goodbye

    The Long Goodbye

    ★★★★★

    Roger Wade aka Billy Joe Smith: ''I tell you what we're gonna do, Marlboro. You're gonna take that goddamn J.C. Penney tie off and we're gonna have an old fashioned man to man drinking party.''
    Philip Marlowe: ''Well, that's okay but I'm not taking off the tie.''

    One of the coolest flicks I have ever come across, and even though I have long known it to be a major inspiration on my beloved The Big Lebowski (which was quite apparent…

  • The Drop

    The Drop

    ★★★

    A mildly compelling drama that is in equal measure - bland and classy. Whilst I am usually a fan of anything Dennis Lehane, I was unconvinced and underwhelmed by the plot, characters and writing here and I am still yet to be impressed by anything Noomi Rapace has done since she rocked the world as Lisbeth Salander. The film is worth seeing for the final screen performance of James Gandolfini though and Hardy is adequate in his understated display. Michaël…

  • Lucy

    Lucy

    ★★★½

    I was going to skip this (not much of a Besson fan aside from Leon and Angel-A) as I had heard the film didn't really live up to its conceptual promise, but the wife wanted to watch something a bit more energetic and less melancholy than usual hahahaha. I was really surprised how compelling and enjoyable it was and the opening scene reminded me of how great Besson can be when he doesn't let his silly tendencies override (the Fifth…

  • The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears

    The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears

    ★★★

    I arrive at Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani's follow up to the disappointing Amer, hoping to see the potential that was hinted at in that film realized into something more satisfying. Whilst more consistent than Amer, The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears is less interesting overall for me. Over-edited, repetitive (the knife being dragged over a nipple - the first 10 times was enough) and visceral cinema with no substance or soul, and just past the half-way point I…

  • The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

    The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

    ★★★★½

    Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies and My Neighbors the Yamadas) offers up a special gift to the world in the form of a beautifully hand-drawn, water-coloured Japanese fable that took around six years to craft. I found the character and plight of Kaguya/Little Bamboo totally compelling, which is a key ingredient to the films overall success and despite being unclear on some aspects of her reason for coming to Earth, I am nonetheless eager to see it again to…

  • Norte, the End of History

    Norte, the End of History

    ★★★★★

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

    ''We make up our own histories...''

    My 400th viewing of the year is celebrated with Lav Diaz' shortest, yet still epic 4+ hour Norte, the End of History - in one triumphant sitting.

    If someone were to ask me "Does the film need to be this long?" I would say yes and no - the story could be told in less time, but I feel it would be less impactful if we weren't drowned in its world for 4 hours…

  • The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness

    The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness

    ★★★★

    A rare and intimate peek into the inner sanctum of Studio Ghibli and the creative process of Master Miyazaki whilst he attempts to deliver his final masterpiece The Wind Rises (which I recommend you see before approaching this film). The film marks a bittersweet curtain call for the end of an era, and evidence of a man who has lost his passion and is ready to punctuate his marvellous career with arguably his most personal film, which is confirmed by…

  • Winter Sleep

    Winter Sleep

    ★★★★★

    ''Now is the winter of our discontent''

    Opening night at my local small town cinema, myself and two elderly men two rows behind me - exactly what I expected (a Turkish subtitled 196 min film with no intermission), and also exactly what I wanted. Near silence and the darkness of the cosy theatre made way for complete immersion into the wintry Anatolian landscape that I had been craving ever since the film's Palme d'Or win at Cannes earlier in the…

  • The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

    The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

    ★★★★★

    'Every time I revisit THE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP, it seems to have become more resonant, more moving, more profound. You could say that it's the epic of an ordinary life. And what you retain from this epic is an overpowering sense of warmth and love and friendship, of shared humor and tenderness, and a lasting impression of the most eloquent sadness.’
    - Martin Scorsese

    I can't help but agree with Scorsese's quote up above (even after only…

  • Three Monkeys

    Three Monkeys

    ★★★★

    Nuri Bilge Ceylan is no stranger to the telling of bleak tales, and this is no exception. A family in complete disintegration due to the dark shadow from their past that looms heavily over them, and with communication breakdown and troubled hearts, we are privy to human nature at its most desperate and desolate. Ceylan owns the corner of the sand pit he plays in, and is not afraid to put the audience through the wringer as if we are…

  • Jauja

    Jauja

    ★★★★½

    ''The Ancient Ones said that Jauja was a mythological land of abundance and happiness. Many expeditions tried to find the place to verify this. With time, the legend grew disproportionately. People were undoubtedly exaggerating, as they usually do. The only thing that is known for certain is that all who tried to find this earthly paradise got lost on the way.''

    It was one of those rare Sunday mornings, my wife and baby were still asleep, the other kids were…

  • Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants

    Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants

    ★★★

    A cute little charmer for the kids, that does little to keep the parents interested with its well-worn staging and plodding pace. Whilst it tries to bring something new to the animated table with its blend of real-life scenery and cute as hell insects, the nods to Star Wars and Lord of the Rings just burden it with baggage that even the ants or ladybugs at its centre can't hope to carry. The kids had fun, so that is the main thing I guess :)