Here is my review of Shame, a bleak yet riveting character study about sex addiction.
Recently, I set up a Patreon account for my YouTube film reviews.
Serious employment prospects in Australia suck right now, and I’ll go insane if I have to stay on welfare for much longer. You can understand my eagerness in attempting to make a legitimate job out of a hobby I’ve loved doing for the past six years.
But at the same time, I understand that many of you would be unwilling to pay (even optionally) for a service you have (and will continue to receive) for free.
I need to offer you something new, bold and exclusive – something you wouldn’t get without a Patreon pledge.
And I’ve got just the thing.
I’ve been reviewing films on YouTube for a long time. My tastes and analytical skills have grown and evolved, as have my opinions on certain films. I’ve disliked some films, then gone on to like or love them. I’ve made some enemies with my reviews, and sometimes deservedly; the backlash against Confused Matthew’s 2001: A Space Odyssey was like a Cold War in the Internet reviewer scene, but I’ve generated considerable controversy over Blue Velvet, Antichrist, Primer and many other reviews.
My positive Clockwork Orange review was a sample of things to come.
I intend to create a huge 21-part review series in which I revisit the most contentious reviews of my ‘career’. I will make long, thorough and engaging reviews (10 minutes or more) of these films, with particular consideration on how my perspectives and attitudes toward them (and film in general) have changed.
Not all the films I will be re-reviewing are ones I originally deemed bad or not-so-great (though most will be); there will be some that I spoke very highly of at the time, and I’m curious to see if they hold up.
But this large-scale project will mostly be an extensive reassessment of my body of work; a look back at past films with my present, more mature mind.
The schedule for this series is at the end of this article.
And how much will this endeavor cost?
If you pledge $2 or more per published film review to my Patreon campaign, you will receive all of my exclusive re-reviews as they come out.
Videos separate from my re-review series will count toward Patreon funding, and I aim to make reviews once or twice a week, but you can set a monthly cap so that you never pay more than you’re prepared to.
I’m really excited about this project, and I hope to receive your assistance to get it rolling.
- The Matrix Revolutions
- Immortal (Ad Vitam)
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy
- Land of the Blind
- Seven Samurai
- El Topo
- Silver Linings Playbook
- Blade Runner
- Blue Is The Warmest Color
- Cloud Atlas
- Spring Breakers
- Only God Forgives
- Blue Velvet
- Inland Empire
- Mulholland Drive
Pixels is a reprehensible mess of an ’80s nostalgia trip.
When aliens attack Earth using technology based on classic arcade games, a team of elite retro gamers are assembled to combat the invaders.
Adam Sandler (who co-produces and stars in this film) has been a near-constant embarrassment for the past decade or more, and Pixels is yet another barrage of obnoxious Sandler tropes.
Sandler plays, yet again, an inconsiderate, charmless jerk who is somehow universally liked and attracts beautiful women. Kevin James (a frequent Sandler collaborator) is essentially a walking fat-joke.
The film is full of irritating cultural stereotypes and forced, drawn-out humor, and alternates flippantly between fondness for classic gaming and disdainful mocking of its nerd main characters
The pacing is abysmally slow and erratic, and while the video game-inspired action scenes (including Pacman’s rampage through New York) are vibrant and entertaining, they’re too scarce and not worth slogging through all the crassness and ineptitude throughout the rest of the film.
As far as movies based on video games go, Hitman: Agent 47 – stupidly written yet incredibly stylish – is much better.
Among this year’s stinkers, Aloha is worse than Pixels only because it aims higher, attempting touching drama about family relationships, and fails even more miserably.
Pixels: avoid at all costs.
Ladies and gentlemen, I’m on Patreon!
I have been writing for my entire life, and intend to make it a full-time career, but journalism jobs are hard to come by (jobs of any kind, for that matter), and the ad revenue from my YouTube reviews is merely pocket-change.
So, I’ve set up this Patreon account in the hope that it will give me a little more security (I do plenty of volunteer work and some consulting work, but as of yet I’m unemployed) and act as a stepping stone toward greater opportunities.
Patreon is a crowdfunding platform that allows viewers to directly support creative content makers.
If you would like to support me a little in my YouTube reviews and writing work, I would be immensely grateful. It’s entirely up to you, you can pledge whatever amount you wish, and there are a few fun benefits up for grabs, including exclusive reviews, a newsletter, producer credits and even requests.
So, if you would like, please support me on Patreon!
American Ultra is an offbeat action comedy with surprising heart.
Absent-minded stoner Mike (Jesse Eisenberg) discovers that he’s actually an elite CIA sleeper agent, and has been targeted for termination.
American Ultra is funny and viscerally exciting, but what stands out about it is its subtle flair with character dynamics.
Mike is a sensitive, apprehensive guy prone to panic attacks, but unleashes deadly, subconscious combat training when threatened. He gradually develops into a better, more confident person by merging the best parts of both sides of himself.
It’s also gratifying to see a male-led action film that features strong female characters. Connie Britton plays Lassetter, a feisty, no-nonsense agent who goes out of her way to guide and protect Mike. And yes, Mike’s primary motivation is to rescue his girlfriend Phoebe (Kristen Stewart, who has finally shaken off the Twilight franchise), but Phoebe is an authoritative figure who can hold her own in a fight.
Mike and Phoebe have a touching relationship of mutual dependency under fire, with a decent twist about Phoebe’s identity.
Mad Max: Fury Road (starring Charlize Theron) takes the cake this year for proactive, awesome female characters, but American Ultra still delivers admirably.
American Ultra satisfies with its goofball humor and brutal, well-choreographed action, but its deep, engaging characters make it rather special.
Mr. Holmes is like a charming piece of meta-fiction about the world’s greatest detective (no, not Batman).
Long retired and with a failing memory, the great Sherlock Holmes (Sir Ian McKellen) struggles to recall his final case, one which has haunted him for the past 35 years.
There has been a surge in Holmes popularity over the past decade, including the Robert Downey Jr-led action franchise, a present-day reworking starring Benedict Cumberbatch and the House TV series (seriously, Dr. House is Sherlock Holmes as a physician).
But Mr. Holmes offers an ingenious, very self-aware reinterpretation of the character.
McKellen flawlessly conveys the solemn dignity and frailty of a brilliant man fighting against his senility and whose own legacy has overtaken him. Displeased by his old friend Watson’s fictionalizations of their cases, Holmes wishes to restore some truth to his image before he dies by recording his traumatic final case as it really happened – if he can dredge up the details.
Mr. Holmes has sumptuous cinematography and period detail, elegant music and smoothly-executed flashbacks. Holmes’ paternal friendship with his housekeeper’s son Roger (Milo Parker) is very moving and forms another emotional current beyond Holmes’ personal quest.
Mr. Holmes is a poignant, introspective and distinguished drama, and is a great tribute to the classic Sherlock Holmes character.