ian has written 15 reviews for films rated ★★★ during 2013.

  • Her

    Her

    ★★★

    Maybe my expectations had been jacked up too high, but this seemed pretty far up its own ass. Clever and kinda touching at times, but really hokey and obvious at others. Not bad by any means, but neither should it be in any best picture conversations.

  • All Is Lost

    All Is Lost

    ★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    I was not expecting the shot of Robert Redford in boy shorts at the end.

  • August: Osage County

    August: Osage County

    ★★★

    Master class in acting. Musical cues were a little heavy-handed and parts still played like a stage play, but goddamn, the performances.

  • Elysium

    Elysium

    ★★★

    I know I'm in the minority here, but I liked this way more than District 9. The overt populist politics were just fine with me, and the action sequences were fantastic.

  • SampleThis

    SampleThis

    ★★★

    If someone were to recut this with anyone but Gene Simmons doing the voiceover, it would immediately get 4 stars.

  • Zero Charisma

    Zero Charisma

    ★★★

    Think this was done by the folks who did Best Worst Movie? Calling it "unflinching" would be a little too strong, but it was a clear-eyed depiction of he kind of broken man-child we've all known.

  • Spring Breakers

    Spring Breakers

    ★★★

    Ehh, this is a tough one. I'm not going to give Korrine credit for subverting Hollywood blah blah blah because that's bullshit. He delivered a pretty half-assed fever dream of a movie that's only notable for James Franco's Riff-Raff impression. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it, because I did, but still, let's not get it twisted.

  • Sound City

    Sound City

    ★★★

    Ended up being not at all what I thought it would be, and that was pretty awesome. Definitely could've done without the epilogue of Grohl & co recording the soundtrack, but whatever. Still enjoyed the bulk of it and learned a ton about the golden age of the LA studio scene.

  • A Band Called Death

    A Band Called Death

    ★★★

    If the doc were as good as the band was, this would be getting five stars. Sadly, the filmmakers make some poor (IMO) choices about how to tell the story of this fascinating and groundbreaking band. Still worth 3 stars on the strength of the brothers' story.

  • How I Live Now

    How I Live Now

    ★★★

    HILN didn't succeed on every level; at times its young-adult source material seemed to be at odds with its "adult" presentation, but at times it was subtle and quite lovely.

  • Much Ado About Nothing

    Much Ado About Nothing

    ★★★

    This film really shouldn't have come off at all. Joss Whedon doing by-the-book Shakespeare dialogue set in the present day? Sounds like a clusterfuck. But it was actually quite charming.

  • Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa

    Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa

    ★★★

    I'm a sucker for Coogan and Partridge, so the bar was set pretty low for me. "Alpha Papa" cleared it easily, putting Partridge in a new setting and not depending on tried-and-true "knowing me knowing you" gags. Coogan's just a hilarious motherfucker, basically.