ian has written 6 reviews for films rated ★★½ .

  • Stranger by the Lake

    Stranger by the Lake

    ★★½

    Gotta say, I really don't understand all the hype around this, and I especially don't understand any comparisons to Blue Is the Warmest Color. I mean, other than being French films with explicit sex scenes, they don't have much in common.

    I'm sure I'll be processing this for a while, trying to tease out what Guiraudie was saying w/r/t love, loneliness, and desire. But despite the denouement near the very end of the film, it didn't seem to pack much of an emotional punch for me. (Franck and Henri's relationship is a notable exception; that was actually quite touching.)

  • The Selfish Giant

    The Selfish Giant

    I'm typically a sucker for the working-class Ken Loach-style stuff, and while I did enjoy the grittiness, one saw the denouement from miles away, which sucked a lot of the air out of it. Had Barnard been able to create and maintain the same sense of dread without telegraphing the ending, well, that would've made for a formidable film.

  • Clear History

    Clear History

    ★★½

    yes, it was a lot like a drawn-out Curb ep, but there are enough good gags and cameos to make it watchable. You could do worse.

  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

    The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

    The middle bits of trilogies can be tricky things, and Jackson and co. seemed to make every wrong choice they could. It started abruptly in media res and then jumped around, so that I was completely disoriented from Jump St.

    It seemed to right itself after a while, and delivered a coupla slick (if ridiculous) action sequences. But it kept introducing new characters like its life depended on it, and I cared about each character less than the one before…

  • Sinister

    Sinister

    ★★½

    Exceeded my extremely low expectations, and was actually pretty good/scary!

  • American Hustle

    American Hustle

    Overlong, overstuffed, and oversprayed. Not that it was bad -- the story was compelling, the performances adequate -- but it never felt like anything was at stake.

    It was like light Scorsese; Goodfellas or Casino without the pathos but with the period clothes.