Films I don't know how to rate

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  roryphelan90's Rating My Rating
Titicut Follies 1967,  Unrated)
Sweet Smell of Success 1957,  Unrated)
Salvador 1986,  R)
Gran Torino 2009,  R)
Gomorrah (Gomorra) 2008,  Unrated)
Come and See (Idi i smotri) 1985,  Unrated)
United 93 2006,  R)
Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father 2008,  Unrated)
Dr. Strangelove Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb 1964,  PG)
Blue Velvet 1986,  R)
Citizen Kane 1941,  PG)
Factotum 2006,  R)
No Country for Old Men 2007,  R)
The Conqueror Worm (Witchfinder General) 2000,  Unrated)
The Conqueror Worm (Witchfinder General)
This film is usually lauded by critics (although it wasn't on its original release), so I suppose I should try and explain my relatively low rating of it.

It is generally quite well made with subversive inclinations, but it is also a sucession of very nasty/unlikable examples of human behaviour, punctuated by scenes with an intentionally semi cardboard hero figure. Because of this you may feel a tad alienated from the piece. You don't properly get into it, (you don't want to and it doesn't particularly invite you in anyway).

Many of the images of grubby nastiness within autumnal landscapes do strike a chord, I guess. The abrupt and brutal start is good, and Price is Price is good, but even if a lot of this may be admirable, its dark evocation of history dangles precariously (and uncomfortably for this viewer) somewhere over vaguely exploitative cinema, a flat hammer-esque worldview and a brutal social commentary. Whatever way the mix goes, the coldness of these 3 elements shuts you out a bit. well, it did for me anyway.
If you don't think I got this film, please let me know.
Being There 1979,  PG)
Hunger 2009,  R)
At worst: A promising debut that is a tad pretentious in its general conceptions of reality. Saying that, the pretension is redeemed somewhat by the films more intense moments and Michael Fassbenders' charisma.

At best: see the following review, written a few weeks after I watched the film for the first time.
This is a hard one to call. OK, first, the good stuff.

This is an exceptionally well made film. It has recieved a mixed reception in some quarters. I will assume it has something to do with its controversial subject matter - which perhaps is a tad unfair as it is historically accurate - and a finale which some argue descends into moving but slightly benign and closed martyr centric iconography - which is a far more valid point. I can see why people have such criticisms, but to be honest I cannot fully endorse them, mainly because the film is just so plainly overwhelming. Exceptionally acted, exceptionally shot and put together, it is an incredibly immersive, cinematic experience. It was one of the few films that i have actually sat, after the end credits started to roll, in the darkness of the cinema, totally bowled over by the whole experience. The second best film of 2008 in my book (the best being There will be Blood.) The fact that it has been relatively ignored during the awards season is a travesty, especially when far less daring and affecting films such as milk, frost/nixon and yes, even slumdog millionaire are getting acknowledged. I am willing to say it if no one else will, they are all not as good as this film.

Ok, now the bad stuff.

There is a troubling element in its representation of the IRA. The films grounded depiction of the prison guard, while thoroughly credible and welcome, presents itself more as a token nod for the sake of balance, and is quickly forgotten as the emphasis is put on Bobby Sands in the final 2 thirds of the film. Whether intended or not, you can't help but admire the determination and presence that defines Bobby Sands character in this film. In extension, (and perhaps due to the way Bobby is presented to us in the 'dialogue' scene) you can't help but sympathise with the politically charged ideals which characterise this determination. For me at least, the way my empathy was elicited, along with the power of the film, led to a personal 'condoning' of the terrorist organisation he was apart of. If you're not an Irish republican, or if you previously had no time for noxious republican brain chatter*, this of course is quite troubling.

If you are like me, such empathy will provoke much internal debate as to the official perceptions of the troubles in my country (Republic of Ireland,) as well as the violent origins of the Irish free state and the south's official attitudes toward the old and new IRA.

It will also provoke much thought as to the merits of the powerful cinematic image, in light of the 'truth' it imposes on the viewer.

If it wasn't for that queasy last point, I would have given the film another half a star at least.
Punch-Drunk Love 2002,  R)
The Thing 1982,  R)
Broadcast News 1987,  R)
Shattered Glass 2003,  PG-13)
Seven (Se7en) 1995,  R)
The Innkeepers 2012,  R)
The Innkeepers
Admirable in its ability to build a tense atmosphere without resorting to anything too extrovert (Such qualities are promising for director Ti West), the film is unfortunately quite boring in stretches.

Sara Paxton is likable* and displays some pretty decent comic chops as Claire.

*Well, she's on the right side of kooky arguably. Although I would say that because I think she's cute.
Elite Squad: The Enemy Within 2011,  Unrated)
Elite Squad: The Enemy Within
Worth a look.
Ted 2012,  R)
Personally I would consider 'McFarlane humour' to have always been hit and miss. However I think the most significant weakness of this film is not the humour.

Like Family Guy, some of the lines will make you chuckle (especially after a few beers. And if you're surrounded by people who'd find the idea of a GPMS machine genuinely funny.) Some of the jokes you may find crass and some of the jokes you may consider overly reliant on 'playful' pop culture referencing (e.g. not particularly funny references to Flash Gordon.) But in general I think the novelty of a potty mouthed teddy bear (a novelty which is utilised as the main source of laughs here) holds up surprisingly well.

And anyway, even if some of the jokes don't work, like Family Guy there is a potent quality to the onslaught of gags, perhaps due to the sophistication/energy infused on a joke by joke basis, that makes it at least an interesting spectacle, even if MacFarlane's comedic sensibilites may irritate, even if his world view may clash with your own. (Even if 'its interesting' in the same way a blood spurting car crash with limbs tossed out front is interesting, or a soul hemorrhagging goodness is interesting.)
There is a potentcy here. To give in wholly to said potentcy would perhaps be unwise (or the destruction of your humanity or whatever) but to say that the potentcy isn't there is denial, perhaps. His work is popular for a reason. A real reason, not a snooty 'this humour is below me but I see how it works' reason.

While perhaps interlinked with the worldview and the content of the gags, the big weakness of the film, I would argue, is not the humour, but McFarlane's inability to move on from the 'chuck random jokes within a threadbare plot and hope they hit' formula he often employs on his tv shows.

While said formula just about works for a half hour show (well arguably - even his tv shows have been accused of propigating shallowness,) its obviously going to bore the life out of you if you have to watch the formula unmodified for 2 hours, and while MacFarlane seems to recognise this to an extent, he does a really half assed job at adapting said formula to suit a feature length film.

In the end, its not a distaste for McFarlanes comic sensibilities that sticks in the craw, its his inabilty to craft a story that keeps the audience engaged for the 1hr 55 min duration.

While personally I am still computing Ted (the bear's) imitation of the intellectually disabled (an unintentionally provocative/awkward moment, considering the audience's intense laughter around me), its evident that said character is designed with a great deal of affection. Wahlberg is also a very solid, likable presence, and Kunis isn't bad either. Which makes it a real shame that they all have to prop up this predictable, cliched, painfully empty boring shit of a story. Sorry I'll fix this later.
Le Havre 2011,  PG)
Le Havre
I couldn't figure it out.
I thought the concert scene was too long.
I came out of it feeling good.

I don't know what to rate it. Perhaps 3 1/2 or 4 stars.
I Saw the Devil 2011,  Unrated)
13 Assassins 2011,  R)
The Pipe 2012,  Unrated)
Margin Call 2011,  R)
In the Mood for Love 2001,  PG)
The Class 2008,  PG-13)
Drive 2011,  R)
Review not finished.
Drive is a hypnotic watch, but its also quite a cold experience in some ways, and its hard to tell if its a commentary on American fascist cinema (with its grotesque depiction of violence), or a straight up Art house version of American fascist cinema (it makes you root for a psychopath.)

Plus the retro 80's (sounding) soundtrack is sure to alienate the hipsters who hate hipster stuff.
Edward Scissorhands 1990,  PG-13)
Election 1999,  R)
Matthew Brodericks character reminds me of me, so I thank the film for that. I root for Jessica Campbell as Tammy Metzler.


Not sure how to rate this. There are strong elements here, and I really appreciate its view of the world, the way it makes fun of people and their problems (It gives me a bit of perspective. We are a very weak deluded bunch aren't we. Or perhaps just me.)

There's some great observations, and while I thought it was occasionally over reliant on narration, a lot of the stylistic flourishes are great. (liked Brodericks sexual fantasia involving flicks character, and the bea sting seems to stay with you.)
Its hard to describe why it doesn't get beyond 3 stars. It doesn't seem to build into something truly great:

"As such 'Election' works as a character piece but struggles to meld its components into a satisying whole. Interesting, but not vital. "

This deserves more than three stars (for the poster alone.) But the end product film just can't quite escape 3 star territory.


Where is Jessica Campbell now? She played Chris Kliens lesbian sister in the film. Really liked her.
The Devils 1971,  R)
The Devils
Cache (Hidden) 2005,  R)
Cache (Hidden)
Besides the scenes involving the older Majid I found this to be an underwhelming film. This is perhaps due to the hype, I don't know.

I found it a bit cold and while I may need a second viewing to feel more confident in what I am about to say, I think some of the shooting style, while having an intent, was a bit empty and in turn pretentious (not the most pretentious I've seen mind, but still not really powerful in the way its lingering distant style would want you to think.)
Overall I think I could see what it was saying but it didn't really have my interest, besides the scenes involving the older Majid (especially one specific scene which i'm sure you will recognize when you see it. Its shot very well. For me it is the one true sign of greatness of the director in the whole film, but hey, I might be wrong/deluded.)
Persona 1966,  Unrated)
Pro's: It contains some truly stunning cinematography. It features one of the most erotic scenes I've seen in a film. It features two fine central performances. Certain elements provoked thought, for me.

Con's: The initial imagery (bar the two sparks coming into contact) are silly, especially with the shocking music. Oh my God! A large spider! a hand getting crucified! A boy with glasses! meh.
Some visual touches, which one presumes are employed for a shock value to convey the unconveyable (like the film burning in the projector) come across as flimsy cosmetic touches.
Dialogue/scenes often have a fluid but laboured quality to it, striving too much for significance. This results in dialogue being occasionally thought provoking, but not believable as words of human beings in the moment. This in turn steeps the film in an arch profundity that offers up some thoughtful ideas/observations but ultimately, even though showing a lot of thought and talent (and occasionally brilliance), negates a more authentic/real observation of the dynamics of the central relationship, which I think is what they wanted.
I suspect, unless members of the audience are trying realy really reallyyy hard, the manifestation of said thought provoking observations don't provide any personal implications for the watcher, ESPECIALLY for those who like to stroke their chin and masturbate at the same time. ahem.
Hausu (House) 1977,  Unrated)
A Prophet (Un prophete) 2010,  R)
Casablanca 1943,  PG)
Frankenstein 1931,  Unrated)
Fish Tank 2010,  Unrated)
Platoon 1986,  R)
Berberian Sound Studio 2013,  Unrated)
Berberian Sound Studio
Toby Jones is great,
the rest of the film is veneer. A depthless veneer of over-fetishised sounds.
Old Joy 2006,  Unrated)
Amour 2012,  PG-13)
Husbands and Wives 1992,  R)
Anatomy of a Murder 1959,  G)
Mud 2013,  PG-13)
Frances Ha 2013,  R)
Exit Through The Gift Shop 2010,  R)
Four Lions 2010,  R)
Faces 1968,  R)
A Fish Called Wanda 1988,  R)
Bringing Up Baby 1938,  Unrated)
Spirited Away 2001,  PG)
Southern Comfort 1981,  R)

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