Rod has written 122 reviews for films rated ★★★★ during 2014.

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Funeral Parade of Roses

    Funeral Parade of Roses

    ★★★★

    "All definitions of cinema have been erased..."

    Having known nothing about this before venturing into it, I was pleasantly surprised at the experimental and unconventional storytelling techniques on display, and soon began to excitedly anticipate every crazy editing decision that would be launched at my eyeballs, in fact Funeral Parade of Roses might even be the most 'New Wave' of the era of cinema it belongs to.

    Using the underground gay scene of Tokyo in the 1960's as its setting…

  • Gratified

    Gratified

    ★★★★

    Thorkell August Ottarson had told me about his idea for this film quite a while back and it is wonderful to see it come to life in its visual form. An interesting moral quandary is at play, and the cast bring the clever concept to life. Keep them coming guys!

    View the film here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=C53vZXlAi_Y&list=PLvzRjm7uDo-xk0tpHlKppJp1GGk0Rn7If

  • Where Is My Friend?

    Where Is My Friend?

    ★★★★

    Good friend and fellow Letterboxd member Thorkell August Ottarson offers us a window into his soul with this quirky existential mood piece. I love how experimental and playful it is, leaving just enough ambiguity to cause a reasonable level of introspection as to one's place in the world. Where Is My Friend? looks and sounds wonderful, with the atmospheric score causing me to recall Christopher Nolan's Memento and the nuanced narration by Thorkell himself imbues the main character with true pathos.

    View the film here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrOz375yvxU

  • Dead Man's Letters

    Dead Man's Letters

    ★★★★

    “While a man is on his way, there is still hope for him.”

    Konstantin Lopushanskiy's apocalyptic vision of a future after post-nuclear holocaust Dead Man's Letters wears bleak on its sleeve, but with good reason. Produced in 1986 in the midst of a fearful and uncertain worldwide nuclear consciousness, this film dumps us smack-bang in a nightmarish landscape of death and destruction coated in a sickly nicotine stained sepia hue as a history professor and some of his colleagues attempt…

  • Frantic

    Frantic

    ★★★★

    ''No corpse stinks that much after only 12 hours. Take my word for it. Yes, I am a doctor.''

    Here is was drifting through life, always thinking I had seen Roman Polanski's Frantic. Was it that overly familiar poster art that I glanced at a thousand times on the VHS box from my days back in the video store where I worked? It turns out that I had never actually seen this cracking little Hitchcockian thriller complete with 'the wrong…

  • Ernest & Celestine

    Ernest & Celestine

    ★★★★

    Wonderfully elegant in its simplicity, and never heavy-handed in its lessons, this beautifully animated tale is one to be adored. If had only one complaint, it could have been a little longer, allowing for some richer relationship building between the titular characters. I watched this with my 4 and 3 year old, and now they want to learn French!

  • Katalin Varga

    Katalin Varga

    ★★★★

    Peter Strickland's (Director of the perplexingly brilliant Berberian Sound Studio) debut feature is an atmospheric as hell thriller/drama that unfurls its wings gracefully throughout before revealing its true heart. Strickland is proving to be a master of tone and mood and does extraordinary things with his sound design and minimalist score, which plays as an ominous undercurrent to breathtaking vistas of the Carpathian Mountain and forest region in Transylvania. This is a deceptively simple revenge fable that paints its moral…

  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    ★★★★

    ''From Humans... Koba Learned Hatred''

    Good ol' fashioned storytelling with more than a tinge of Shakespearean or even Greek tragedy about it, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes dishes up power struggle, warmongering and betrayal in liberal amounts. There are many comparisons to draw between the two sides of civilization portrayed and how they are both dealing with similar struggles to protect the survival of their respective races, and despite Matt Reeves barely missing a beat, you can see…

  • The Apostle

    The Apostle

    ★★★★

    ''I'm a genuine, Holy Ghost, Jesus-filled preachin' machine this mornin'!''

    Not quite as great as I remembered it to be, but a strong offering from Robert Duvall on all fronts nonetheless. This singular character study comes at the expense of all its underused secondary characters, but goddamn Duvall is a force of nature here and worth every second of screen time. The film wisely doesn't take sides the religion and faith debate, but chooses to examine a flawed and sinful zealot for the Lord and it is all the better for it.

  • A Most Wanted Man

    A Most Wanted Man

    ★★★★

    ''It's just an ordinary pen. Looks like a pen, writes like a pen, and listens like a pen.''

    John le Carré adaptations are most welcome in the cinematic landscape, and this absorbing thriller from the ever impressive Anton Corbijn and Aussie screenwriter Andrew Bovell definitely cuts the mustard. The film looks gorgeous due to Benoît Delhomme's (The Proposition, Lawless) touch and Corbijn's photographic background - these guys know how to frame a scene! PSH is as impressive as expected -…