Chris has written 21 reviews for films rated ★★★½ .

  • Audition

    Audition

    ★★★½

    Echoing what everyone else has said, it's definitely best to go into this as blind as possible. The contrast in mood between the initial plot set-up and the climactic section is pretty striking.

    The jaunty first act works as an enjoyable send-up of the typical romcom formula (two wounded people brought together through a zany circumstance), whilst still providing some interesting takes on misogyny. Particularly noteworthy is the way it looks how men in positions of power are so used…

  • Touch of Evil

    Touch of Evil

    ★★★½

    It's really unfortunate how Orson Welles' original vision for this film was compromised because there's enough intriguing elements here to suggest that he could have made something special. The restored cut patches things together to a satisfactory degree, but I feel like it's always blatantly obvious that something went on behind the scenes to affect the end product.

    This is a dark, seedy noir that really gets to the core of what the genre is all about by crafting a…

  • King Kong

    King Kong

    ★★★½

    I think it's easy to see why this is still considered to be one of the quintessential adventure flicks. It manages to evoke a fair share of mystery, tension, excitement and amusement that aptly encapsulates what makes the genre so enjoyable. The voyage into the unknown and the build-up to Kong's appearance are quite effective at creating anticipation, and once we get our first glimpse of the titular ape it's almost non-stop thrills until the climax. The pacing is impressively…

  • The Chaser

    The Chaser

    ★★★½

    The Chaser is cut from the same cloth as many of the other South Korean thrillers I've seen; an intense revenge piece meets procedural where the grisly subject matter is skilfully infused with an astute balance of fervent energy, dark humour and delicate moments of humanity. The most interesting addition here is depiction of the two central characters; the lead already has investigative experience which makes his knowledge plausible and the killer comes across as relatively pathetic which is a…

  • Jackie

    Jackie

    ★★★½

    I like how this sidesteps most of the trite formula that usually plagues biographical works, avoiding any grandstanding in order to craft something more reserved and contemplative. It's an astute decision to focus on a brief but arduous spell in Jackie Kennedy's life as it deftly presents the narrative as her painful recollections; a delicate deconstruction of the image she carefully constructed, exploring her mythmaking and grief under such immense public scrutiny. The solemn mood of the time is captured…

  • Before Sunset

    Before Sunset

    ★★★½

    Before Sunset continues the story of its predecessor 9 years down the line, Jesse and Celine reuniting in Paris as inquisitive as ever but with their bright-eyed youth now replaced by perceptive experience. Things are much more pragmatic and ruminative this time around; the duo's maturity leads them to contemplate the endless possibilities of life and the multifarious what ifs that have arisen as a result of that magical night they spend together years prior. Both Ethan Hawke and Julie…

  • Before Sunrise

    Before Sunrise

    ★★★½

    Escalating romantic attraction depicted via a series of conversations between two like-minded individuals; sincere, sensitive and carrying a dreamy lyricism that aims to capture the rush of connecting with somebody on a deeper level whilst ruminating on whether it is possible to find self-fulfillment through the eyes of another person. What's most noteworthy is how Linklater often frames the interactions between the central duo in either a stationary or methodical manner whilst the world around them appears to be in…

  • Walker

    Walker

    ★★★½

    Props to Alex Cox for basically torpedoing any chance he had of having a conventional directorial career in order to make something this vehemently left-wing and fiercely bonkers. The story of mercenary William Walker's stranglehold on Nicaragua as he becomes everything he swears he isn't (you never see people like that in positions of power anymore....) is used to reflect and scornfully critique American intervention in the Central America crisis at the time; Manifest Destiny, colonisation, imperialism and egalitarianism are…

  • Singin' in the Rain

    Singin' in the Rain

    ★★★½

    I don't think it's difficult to see why Singin' in the Rain has retained its status as a classic over the years; its cheerful nature is appealing, its vibrant cinematography is beautiful and its enthusiastic musical numbers are up there with the best that the genre has to offer. It's a light-hearted affair that is more than content to float along on its breezy mood as it paints a picture of an industry full of people who have mainly noble…

  • Happy Together

    Happy Together

    ★★★½

    Another distinctive charting of loneliness and yearning from Wong Kar-wai, this time through the hazy lens of a tumultuous relationship. A portrait of two different people who can never quite escape each others orbit that flows from austere to graceful; exploring all of the bitterness, possessiveness and sense of broken promises that come to the fore once a seemingly strong connection begins to break apart. It's a typically vivid affair with emphasis on feeling over cohesion; creating an evocative mood…

  • Videodrome

    Videodrome

    ★★★½

    Unsurprisingly a cult classic; David Cronenberg fusing his trademarks of body horror, warped eroticism and visceral imagery together with an unconventional critique of how mass media distorts our perception of reality. It's distinctly of its time yet its themes remain relevant, to the point where you could update it for the internet age and it would still feel potent.

    Just don't expect any straightforward plotting; it's a typically weird piece with Cronenberg's skill at taking mundane settings and gradually imbuing…

  • Silence

    Silence

    ★★★½

    Silence is such an expansive, uncompromising work that it basically demands contemplation. It's undoubtedly the most personal picture of Scorsese's career. A relentlessly bleak examination of a vast array of theological topics; monotheism, spirituality, the intersection of religion with culture, what happens when devotion turns into arrogance and ultimately how to deal with God's apparent silence. It's all debated in a very straight-faced manner and doesn't shy away from showing the brutal history of Endo-era Japan. I find many of…