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Rod has written 149 reviews for films during 2017.

  • A Special Day

    A Special Day

    ★★★★★

    ''Order is the virtue of the mediocrity.''

    I only first heard of this film a few weeks or so ago, and it was due to one of those brief videos where certain film-world practitioners are invited into the Criterion closet to grab a bag of their favourites and make some enticing comments on why they love certain films. This happened to be a recommendation by Alexander Payne, and his affection for it really attracted me to putting it straight on…

  • My Dinner with Andre

    My Dinner with Andre

    ★★★★★

    Louis Malle’s famous restaurant dialectic, which features barely more than a two handed conversation for its entirety, struck me as something quite extraordinary and profound.

    The opening moments of the film feature an almost didactic voice-over (which upon a second viewing feels much more integral to the film’s themes) by Wallace Shawn as he journeys both on foot and by train through the streets of New York to a dinner engagement with an old friend and theatre colleague he has…

  • Hugo

    Hugo

    ★★★★★

    Still a masterclass family film multiple viewings later and one of my favourite in all of Scorsese’s impressive oeuvre.

  • Hamlet Goes Business

    Hamlet Goes Business

    ★★★★

    A severely underrated adaptation of one Shakespeare’s most beloved works, and one that is imbued with all the delicious traits that make Kaurismäki’s cinematic sensibilities so damn appealing. The climatic scene which sees a man killed by a radio is one of the most hilariously memorable scenes I have ever witnessed!

  • Crime and Punishment

    Crime and Punishment

    ★★★½

    Aki tackles Dostoevsky for his debut feature and does so rather successfully. Whilst it might smack of a filmmaker attempting to find his own unique voice (which he will certainly arrive at with his following film), it is a confident and assured affair no doubt.

  • Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses

    Leningrad Cowboys Meet Moses

    ★★½

    A film in which it feels like no one involved gave a flying f@#k!

  • Calamari Union

    Calamari Union

    ★★★★

    A clever little premise that swiftly drifts into Buñuelian absurdity and surrealism. 

    I was really taken in by the whole striking aesthetic and atmosphere as well as the multiple ways one could interpret the film (it is certainly the beginning of Aki’s journey into themes he will continue to explore of his oppressed homeland and the downtrodden individuals locked within). 

    The humourous satire and inventive charm are what will bring me back here again, and even though I felt it…

  • Good Time

    Good Time

    ★★★★½

    What an utterly thrilling and kinetic piece of filmmaking!

    Robert Pattinson delivers an electrifying and memorable performance and the Safdie bros. are impressing with each film they deliver. This reminded me of 2015's Victoria with its similar freshness and gritty exuberance.

  • Lights in the Dusk

    Lights in the Dusk

    ★★★

    Whilst visually striking and impressive on a technical level, there is just something amiss with this one for me. It carries on Aki’s thematic obsessions, but is almost devoid of humour and his trademark warm notes and tends to fall flat and be a tad dull as a result.

  • Juha

    Juha

    ★★★½

    Silent and deadly!

  • La Vie de Bohème

    La Vie de Bohème

    ★★★★½

    So much to love here, but mostly just to hear (well read if you do not speak French) three losers spouting delicious dialogue!

  • Le Havre

    Le Havre

    ★★★★½

    What a charming and splendid little fairytale!

    It might be a slight detour from Aki Kaurismäki's prior works, but it shows him broadening himself out in delightful little ways as well as nodding back to influences from cinema of the 50's and 60's.

    A better crafted film than the similarly themed The Other Side of Hope which came six years later.