Rod has written 343 reviews for films rated ★★★★ .

  • Wildlife

    Wildlife

    ★★★★

    Paul Dano did good, did real good!

    Exquisite cinematography and outstanding performances drive this patient and sophisticated drama.

  • S Is for Stanley

    S Is for Stanley

    ★★★★

    Totally delightful, endearing and heartbreaking!
    Shades of Stanley expressed lovingly.

  • 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!

  • 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…

  • The Other Side of Hope

    The Other Side of Hope

    ★★★★

    Hard not to dig this, although it felt a little rushed if I am honest. Despite that complaint though, it makes its mark emotionally and is Kaurismäki through and through, from his unique visual style, his musical indulgences and his deadpan and subtle comic touches.

  • The Brand New Testament

    The Brand New Testament

    ★★★★

    The cinema of Jaco van Dormael operates on a similar plane to that of Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Michel Gondry and Terry Gilliam, combining satire and magical realism in visually wonderous and often thought-provoking ways. This is an incredibly unique and beautifully written satire on biblical matters, that despite featuring blackly comic moments throughout, is brimming with optimising and sweetness. A fantastical tale that is worth your time!

  • David Lynch: The Art Life

    David Lynch: The Art Life

    ★★★★

    ''Philadelphia was kind of a poor man's New York City, so it was a weird town. It was kind of a mean town. One woman, who was my neighbour, *reeked* of urine and she was a complete racist. There was another woman, who was totally crazy. She was a neighbour. Lived down the street with her parents. And she would go around the backyard on her hands and knees and squawk like a chicken and say, "I'm a chicken! I'm…

  • Trans-Europ-Express

    Trans-Europ-Express

    ★★★★

    “The trouble with true stories is that they're so boring.”

    An inspired and clever little film that acts as a mash-up of meta-film, film within a film and parody on the crime genre (potential nods to Godard and Melville are quite evident), that also throws in a little bit of kinky S&M into the mix. It is mainly an intellectual exercise that tends to be elusive on an emotional level, and therefore can take some effort to fully engage with…

  • Three Monkeys

    Three Monkeys

    ★★★★

    With his fifth feature, Nuri Bilge Ceylan attempts to hone his genre sensibilities and blend them with the cinematic poetry that has been his calling card up until this point. Whilst he will go on to perfect this blend with his next film Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, what he offers up here is a grim, multi-faceted drama with a good amount of suspense, drenched in emotional turmoil.

    The plot concerns a tragic misadventure that will see Eyüp the…

  • Climates

    Climates

    ★★★★

    Climates sees Turkish auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan move into slightly more experimental territory for his fourth feature, and I really needed a second viewing to process and write about it.

    What is perhaps the most interesting attribute of this film (other than the expected gold standard of visual poetry) is that the director and his real life wife play the lead roles, but rather than delve into a realistic reflection of their own relationship, they boldly venture into a fictional…

  • Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

    Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

    ★★★★

    ''He is my neighbor Nursultan Tuliagby. He is pain in my assholes. I get a window from a glass, he must get a window from a glass. I get a step, he must get a step. I get a clock radio, he cannot afford. Great success!''

    Over ten years later (and after 3 or 4 viewings in that time), this still remains a knee-slapping piece of hilarity that cannot be stopped once it's in motion. Sacha Baron Cohen struck gold with this mockumentary, and I am sadly yet to see him do anything as worthwhile since.

  • The Banishment

    The Banishment

    ★★★★

    Andrey Zvyagintsev unleashes another cinematic marvel (aesthetically flawless!) littered with rich with religious symbolism, tripping itself up with some slight narrative issues, notably a final act reveal that struck me as a little contrived (although undecidedly as I have overlooked similar issues with some Asghar Farhadi films). I guess I would admit that I am a little torn with Izgnanie as it had me so absorbed for its entirety (I cannot fathom why so many have issues with pacing... impatience…