kevan + 3stars   80

Timeshift (Xbox 360)
Nice time-slowing puzzles and breezily broken laws of physics, but it's largely just another evil-corp factory shooter, and there's a shocking amount of die-and-reload for a game with a time-rewind mechanic. Were they afraid Prince of Persia would sue?
gamelog  3stars  time 
april 2008 by kevan
Dead Rising (Xbox 360)
Trying to get back into this, as there's a lot to play with and a great atmosphere to do it in, but the utterly unforgiving save system is wearing me back down, with one false move or AI glitch wiping out half an hour of progress.
gamelog  3stars  zombies  shops 
april 2008 by kevan
I Was A Male War Bride (1949)
An increasingly emasculated Cary Grant is pushed through a comparatively rational screwball comedy, with a self-aware script deflating its own farce and speeding matter-of-factly through the leads' relationship.
filmlog  3stars  love  politics  germany 
november 2007 by kevan
The Host (2006)
A sleekly-animated fish-monster pursues a badly-quarantined family through rain and disinfectant clouds, while heavy-handed Americans clunk around in the background. Always good to be slightly wrong-footed by the unfamiliar film tropes of another country.
filmlog  3stars  monsters  fish  mutation  pollution 
november 2007 by kevan
Roman Holiday (1953)
The slumming royalty of a non-specified English-speaking country, being led around Rome by a cynical journalist and his shin-kicked photographer who's lucky to get a quarter of the pre-paparazzi story fees.
filmlog  3stars  society  secrets  lies  news  photos  italy 
november 2007 by kevan
The Awful Truth (1937)
An utterly flippant divorce and the inevitable and casual sabotage of its rebound relationships, with some nicely untidy dialogue along the way.
filmlog  3stars  love  lies 
november 2007 by kevan
All About Eve (1950)
The endless natural cycle of bitter, manipulative actresses being superceded by younger replacements who can hide it better, at least for a while. Also broadcast media.
filmlog  3stars  theatre  secrets  writing 
october 2007 by kevan
Halo 3 (Xbox 360)
Completed this morning. An utterly dull-as-dishwater generic sci-fi narrative, for all the pretentious trailers and posters. Multiplayer and co-op are fun, but aside from a few in-game moments, the campaign itself is entirely forgettable.
gamelog  3stars  aliens  war  weapons 
october 2007 by kevan
Passport To Pimlico (1949)
The logistics of a sudden micronation, played out slowly and simply and full of Blitz spirit, but with a lot more logical consistency than I remembered. Apart from them forgetting about the Thames.
filmlog  3stars  london  politics  society  law  food 
october 2007 by kevan
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Great, no-nonsense Bogart, cutting short any deception subplots by tersely admitting things and walking out of the room to do something else.
filmlog  3stars  mysteries  crime  secrets  birds  death 
september 2007 by kevan
Holiday (1938)
Cary Grant arguing in favour of the gap year, and the moral superiority of the idle rich over the work-obsessed rich.
filmlog  3stars  money  love  tourism 
september 2007 by kevan
Forbidden Planet (1956)
Robust fifties sci-fi, with some surprisingly good sets and special effects, and some awful electronic music.
filmlog  3stars  space  aliens  robots  mysteries  apocalypse  brains 
august 2007 by kevan
The Zombie Diaries (2006)
Overlapping camcorder threads of a British apocalypse, with a nice mess of different reactions, and aside from silly, sudden scare-chords, a good, slow-threat bunch of zombies. Roughly edited and hard to distinguish samey characters, but not bad.
filmlog  3stars  zombies  apocalypse  london 
august 2007 by kevan
War of the Monsters (PS2)
A fairly standard combo-pushing beat-em-up, but the scale, destructability and pick-up-and-throw-ability of the environment makes it more entertaining. The physics are good enough to be funny, and the giant ant handles nicely.
gamelog  3stars  monsters  cities  demolition  ants  lizards  robots  apes 
august 2007 by kevan
Three Colours Red (1994)
Quite well pitched, in retrospect - it felt slightly too slow and vague to watch, but if had been any faster or sharper, the reveal would have been ridiculous. The actual ending was still quite ridiculous, though.
filmlog  3stars  surveillance  secrets  coincidences  phones  crime 
august 2007 by kevan
Cold Comfort Farm (1995)
Rescuing the rural working classes from their own ignorance, using casually implausible urban superpowers. A good first half, but Flora's writing is forgotten and the parody thins out into a generic countryside drama, as it begins to tie up.
filmlog  3stars  society  education  writing  secrets  via:holly 
july 2007 by kevan
Serenity (2005)
Less of the smugly retort-crammed dialogue than what I saw of the series; some good, casual moral ambiguity, but a lot of stock-issue monochrome cliche as well. Some lazy resolutions, some nice lines about how we build the future.
filmlog  3stars  space  future  pestilence  secrets  weapons  via:brendan 
july 2007 by kevan
Things To Come (1936)
Aerial warfare, the fascistic rise of science (dictatorial conquering is fine so long as your poison gases are non-lethal), and an extremely vague and angry Luddite rejection of "progress". Impressively difficult to keep in the context of 1936.
filmlog  3stars  war  science  future  technology  society  apocalypse  pestilence 
july 2007 by kevan
Le Corbeau (1943)
The film that the Small Town Anywhere social game was based on; the power and freedom of anonymous letters, and how cheaply you can fake omniscience. Fun to see how well and how quickly the Small Town organisers had cast the players.
filmlog  3stars  secrets  society  france  paper 
june 2007 by kevan
Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978)
A refreshingly quick cut to the chase, but it loses its way for the middle third of the film, only touching on the interesting logistics of invading a planet with clones, and undermining its own quiet malevolence with silly noises at the end.
filmlog  3stars  aliens  secrets  plants 
june 2007 by kevan
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
Screwball divorce comedy with undercover 1930s tabloid journalists infiltrating a socialite wedding, before that plot thread gets dropped in favour of absent-minded alcoholic chaos. Good leads.
filmlog  3stars  love  news  lies  drinks 
may 2007 by kevan
The Importance Of Being Earnest (2002)
A decent enough production; they're a bit too winkingly proud of their extra props and unspoken references, but there's a nice amount of Arcadian outdoorsness.
filmlog  3stars  names  lies  love  coincidences  children 
april 2007 by kevan
Memories Of Murder (2003)
South Korean police procedural - an idealistic by-the-book city cop being stationed among cynical provincial detectives, their beaten confessions involving a lot of flying kicks. A slow film with some weird dead-end tangents, but nice aesthetics.
filmlog  3stars  police  death  mysteries  lies  cheating  crime 
april 2007 by kevan
Brick (2006)
Overlaying film noir onto American high school at a well-judged moment, when everyone's growing up and becoming capable of anything. Nuances of dialogue were wasted on me, though, when my view of American schools is based entirely on films to begin with.
filmlog  3stars  education  drugs  death  love  mysteries  america  language  via:brendan 
march 2007 by kevan
New Super Mario Bros. (Nintendo DS)
Fun platformer; some of the usual obsessive-compulsive trial-and-error, but balanced by the ability to wander back through old levels, and gear up with the right power-ups.
gamelog  3stars  mutation  via:raven 
march 2007 by kevan
The Odd Couple (1967)
How we have the same fundamental relationship with everyone, even ourselves.
filmlog  3stars  depression  love  cards 
february 2007 by kevan
Guys And Dolls (1955)
How man's perceived free will is really just subservience to women, to small-time gangsters who talk without using contractions, and to die rolls.
filmlog  3stars  music  crime  dice  love  money  police  lies  religion 
february 2007 by kevan
Arabesque (1966)
Decent double-crossing hieroglyph-translating mystery nonsense, feeling a lot like randomly shuffled Hitchcock scenes, but with an endearing gimmick of shooting bits of scenes through mirrors and lenses. And an excellently bored villain.
filmlog  3stars  mysteries  language  lies 
february 2007 by kevan
Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure (2004)
Odd mix of harrowing self-awareness and vague glossing, of scientific enthusiasm and knowingly theatrical non-logic, that doesn't quite ring true, and a good, surprising ending that turns predictably bad. A great sense of random online networks, though.
filmlog  3stars  web  coincidences  money  writing  secrets  random  travel 
january 2007 by kevan
The Lion In Winter (1968)
Back-and-forth lineage politics at an anachronistic 12th century Christmas, with everyone complimenting their enemies on how good they are at it. Some great lines of dialogue, and a lot of wonderfully bad.
filmlog  3stars  history  politics  france  lies  children 
january 2007 by kevan
Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem (GameCube)
A fairly linear pseudo-Cthulhian adventure that tips its hand early on by namechecking Lovecraft, Poe, Blake, Bosch and nobody else in a single bookshelf description. Great sanity mechanics, though, whole swathes of game being retroactively hallucinated.
gamelog  3stars  monsters  history  zombies  books 
december 2006 by kevan
Twelve Angry Men (1957)
A decently heavy-handed look at the strengths and flaws of the jury system; crumpling straw men and frustratingly unpursuable post-trial revelations from amateur detectives in the jury.
filmlog  3stars  law  crime 
december 2006 by kevan
The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)
A trivial bullion heist with some fun setup, a weird chase scene apparently parodying new-fangled in-car police radios, and perhaps the best ending a heist film can have.
filmlog  3stars  crime  money  metal  london  paris 
december 2006 by kevan
Judge Dredd: Dredd vs Death (PS2)
A decent enough casual shooter, capturing the mood and style of the comics pretty well - it's good to hear all the fictional swearwords. Dredd's variable-ammo Lawgiver is fun for pre-dating FPSs but suiting them perfectly.
gamelog  3stars  police  future  comics  death  zombies 
december 2006 by kevan
Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
Imaginatively detailed and beautifully shot, in stone and trees and rain. But it's two separate films, one gory Spanish civil war drama, one boilerplate chosen-child fantasy; the symbolic stitching has its moments, but neither is that enjoyable a genre.
filmlog  3stars  monsters  children  war  secrets  delusions 
november 2006 by kevan
How to Steal a Million (1966)
A light and pointlessly elaborate art-forgery heist, pulled off by a reluctant but obligingly over-prepared Peter O'Toole.
filmlog  3stars  art  crime  money  cheating  police  france 
november 2006 by kevan
The Devil's Backbone (2001)
A ghost story in an isolated orphanage near the end of the Spanish Civil War, all yellow dust and red detailing. A strong and clearly-bounded plot, a lot of vivid imagery, some great aesthetic touches on the ghost itself.
filmlog  3stars  ghosts  war  children  death  secrets  weapons  via:matthew 
november 2006 by kevan
Sullivan's Travels (1941)
A film director trying to experience enough poverty to feel justified in making films about it. Endlessly and easily drawn back to the comfort of Hollywood, the looping plot keeps coming back on stranger and darker levels.
filmlog  3stars  films  money  meta  depression  society  illusions  lies 
november 2006 by kevan
The Elusive Pimpernel (1950)
Half-watched. David Niven being nonchalant in a ridiculous collar, with a few particularly clever flourishes of bluff and subtle psychology.
filmlog  3stars  history  france  secrets  prison  illusions 
november 2006 by kevan
Safety Last! (1923)
Disconnected setups to the iconic climbing scene, although the clock-hanging is nicely underplayed. And I'd forgotten how great it is that silent films just don't bother captioning dialogue where the gist is obvious, and how much of that there is.
filmlog  3stars  business  cheating  architecture  money  time  via:raven 
october 2006 by kevan
Croupier (1999)
Convincingly authentic-feeling glimpse of the mechanics of the casino, chips pitilessly raked off of tables. Spoiledby a leaden and entirely superfluous voiceover, though, and a random ending is still annoying, even if you do draw smug gambling parallels.
filmlog  3stars  money  writing  secrets  lies  coincidences 
october 2006 by kevan
Un Ticket Pour l'Espace (2006)
The French space programme holds a tourist lottery to raise funding, and one of the winners takes the space station hostage. Some absurdly throwaway joke scenes, and nicely lost-in-translation running gags. Had forgotten how odd French comedies could be.
filmlog  3stars  space  france  comedy  secrets 
september 2006 by kevan
Thank You for Smoking (2005)
Neatly hitting a series of tobacco-lobby set-pieces. A bit disconnected, but somehow blandly and inevitably seamless at the same time. The vague idea of the Departments of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms acting as supervillain team is great, though.
filmlog  3stars  cigarettes  advertising  lies  politics 
september 2006 by kevan
The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer (1970)
Peter Cook gliding to power through the (often nonsensical) abuse of opinion pollsters and political referenda. But Rimmer's total lack of emotions, motives or coherent enemies makes his character, and the whole film, feel rather pointless.
filmlog  3stars  advertising  politics  society 
september 2006 by kevan
Road To Bali (1952)
"What happened - is the picture over?" Careeringly arbitrary slapstick and fourth-wall-breaking, with occasional songs, and Bob Hope fighting a giant squid.
filmlog  3stars  love  music  squid  monkeys 
august 2006 by kevan
The Apartment (1960)
Still-applicable caricature of someone surrendering too much of their personal life to work, with some entertainingly dated details (a character being politely flattered by the protagonist stalking her personal details out of the company database).
filmlog  3stars  business  money  love  secrets  depression 
august 2006 by kevan
The Seventh Seal (1957)
Figures moving slowly through a grim, black-and-white, 15th-century Swedish apocalypse, pursued by an oddly pranksterish Death. Had forgotten about the slowed, priest-fuelled, mediaeval end of the end of the world.
filmlog  3stars  death  apocalypse  pestilence  chess  religion 
july 2006 by kevan
Charade (1963)
Passable facetious-romantic missing-money identity thriller, with a sufficient edge of double-crossing uncertainty, and a ridiculous place to hide $250,000.
filmlog  3stars  crime  money  secrets  death 
july 2006 by kevan
Buffet Froid (1979)
Entertainingly casual deflation of the murder mystery, every guilty character confessing immediately and nobody really caring.
filmlog  3stars  death  mysteries  france  police  memory 
july 2006 by kevan
The Palm Beach Story (1942)
Casual-divorce screwball comedy, with an appalling amount of lying and eyelash-batting to get money and favours from men, and perhaps the most ridiculous and arbitrary happy ending of all time. Also an aerial airport similar to the Modern Mechanix one.
filmlog  3stars  love  money 
june 2006 by kevan
Sabotage (1936)
Pre-war terrorism from shadowy pseudo-Nazis; some sand in a functional Battersea Power Station, and a bomb in a birdcage. A call for the people of Britain to mistrust foreigners. Still surprisingly powerful, with some faint echoes of more recent events.
filmlog  3stars  terrorism  war  secrets 
june 2006 by kevan
The Trouble With Harry (1955)
Cheerfully casual murder mystery with another Hitchcock corpse-as-unemotional-prop, being dug up and reburied. Snappy dialogue that spirals into outright borderline-insane non-sequiturs towards the end.
filmlog  3stars  death  secrets  mysteries  underground 
june 2006 by kevan
Land of the Dead (2005)
Badly disappointing, was expecting Romero to come up with something with a lot more point to it. The peaceful, victimised zombie society is hugely underplayed, there's no real sense of context or history, and the plot points are leadenly predictable.
filmlog  3stars  zombies  apocalypse  cities 
june 2006 by kevan
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
An alternately breakneck and slowly-circling comedy of mistaken leopard identity. As seems to be traditional, a humourless manipulator loses to a creatively-lying one.
filmlog  3stars  love  cats  lies  bones 
may 2006 by kevan
The Card (1952)
High-speed turn-of-the-century social climbing through forgery, loan sharking and cheerful business acumen. Or just marrying rich men, if you're female.
filmlog  3stars  money  society  business  politics  love  via:holly 
may 2006 by kevan
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
Fun recursion about padding a shallow film with random songs, and dubbing because the stupid audience won't realise.
filmlog  3stars  music  weather  films  meta  via:holly 
april 2006 by kevan
Caché (2005)
Secrets and surveillance, with a nice sense of the audience being shifted and positioned as if they were the camera, and a subtle ending that's invisible on tiny aeroplane screens, it turns out.
filmlog  3stars  surveillance  secrets  france  society 
april 2006 by kevan
Les Revenants (2004)
Calmly socio-political zombie film, reintegrating the muted and sonambulist dead into service and manufacturing industries, while families try to make sense of things. A slow and bloodless progression that's not quite worth it, but a good atmosphere.
filmlog  3stars  zombies  france  society  love  death 
march 2006 by kevan
Crash (2004)
Entertainingly complex jigsaw of racism and racist stereotyping, almost every character giving as much as they get. Ultimately a bit arbitrary and empty, that connecting every character doesn't mean you automatically get points, but nicely built.
filmlog  3stars  society  coincidences  transport  weapons  crime  police 
march 2006 by kevan
Good Night, and Good Luck (2005)
Very sharp glimpse of what television meant in the 1950s, and what it could have been, what it was important for it to become. Present-day parallels are a bit heavy-handed, but it still stands up in isolation.
filmlog  3stars  television  politics  news  history  cigarettes 
march 2006 by kevan
Strangers On A Train (1951)
A spurious "perfect murder" and the brilliant standing-staring stalker who sets it into motion.
filmlog  3stars  crime  death  secrets 
february 2006 by kevan
Lost In La Mancha (2002)
Horrible demonstration of how much damage bad luck can do to a film project. The documentary feels quite sparse and cobbled together, though, even in its most devastating moments.
filmlog  3stars  weather  films 
february 2006 by kevan
The Third Man (1949)
Plot and dialogue is quite unfocused and flat, for Greene, but the film takes in a vivid few scenes and settings. Easy to forget that this was filmed in 1949, that what feels like an underused Vienna was fair enough at the time.
filmlog  3stars  death  crime  mysteries  medicine 
february 2006 by kevan
The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (2001)
An authentically meandering parody of 50s B-movies, although visually it's all too clean and modern.
filmlog  3stars  bones  aliens  monsters  science  via:raven 
january 2006 by kevan
How to Get Ahead In Advertising (1989)
Very, very weirdly dated; that what might have been biting advertising/pollution monologues in the late eighties just come across as bland and scattershot anti-globalisation vagueness, now, with no great insight. The identity stuff is still good, though.
filmlog  3stars  advertising  skin  depression  business 
january 2006 by kevan
Akumulator 1 (1994)
TV screens sucking the souls of people who regret their appearances on them; a messy but entertaining build-up to blankly dangerously television sets, and a protagonist ducking and rolling with an armoury of pre-TV-B-Gone remote controls.
filmlog  3stars  television  magic 
january 2006 by kevan
Into The Mirror (2003)
Supernatural Korean police-procedural, doing a lot of good, subtle things with mirrors, and the patterns-of-repetition context taking the edge off of the character-flashback clichés.
filmlog  3stars  mirrors  police  death  shops 
january 2006 by kevan
Cypher (2003)
Philip-K-Dick-style unfurling identity thriller which even goes to the trouble of having a Philip-K-Dick-style overblown nonsensical ending. A few nice moments along the way, though, in isolation.
filmlog  3stars  memory  brains  technology  future  secrets  business 
december 2005 by kevan
Attack the Gas Station (1999)
Four disaffected Korean street-criminals assume vague, hierarchy-altering control of an all-night garage after finding the till empty. Nicely randomly structured, straying only slightly into lunacy.
filmlog  3stars  crime  money  shops  via:raven 
december 2005 by kevan
The Omega Man (1971)
The last gun-toting scientist in the world, versus a horde of Luddite Goth monks. Nicely emptily post-apocalyptic, but it's a bit too black and white and arbitrary, at times. And red all over. Why couldn't they make realistic stage blood in the 70s?
filmlog  3stars  apocalypse  science  pestilence  dereliction  weapons  technology  religion  via:lori 
november 2005 by kevan
Magnolia (2000)
"No, it is not dangerous to confuse children with angels." Parallels and coincidences played out across a huge and slow-arcing three hours, threatening to tie it all together but not quite bothering, in the end. Very strong characters, though.
filmlog  3stars  death  children  police  drugs  secrets  frogs  coincidences 
november 2005 by kevan
What's Up Tiger Lily (1966)
Random Japanese spy film dubbed with a new script by Woody Allen, comedy English dialogue being impressively closely lip-synched. Proto-MST3K, and much better than the rubbish cover and single backhanded box-quote suggest.
filmlog  3stars  japan  secrets  food  language  comedy 
november 2005 by kevan
The Blob (1958)
Wonderfully randomly-earnest 50s-teenager nonsense, with a monster cheap and vague enough to avoid too much dated absurdity, and a fantastically deadpan fireman at the end.
filmlog  3stars  monsters  aliens  ice 
october 2005 by kevan
Blackmail (1929)
Hadn't realised that Britain's first talkie was one of Hitchcock's. Strange buildup from initial silence-and-soundtrack into full, proper speech - the studio only decided to make it a talkie halfway through, but it comes across as clever self-reference.
filmlog  3stars  death  crime  police  secrets 
august 2005 by kevan
Lundi Matin (2002)
A blankly-frustrated welder walks away from a mundane life in rural France to wander around Venice. Feels like two completely unconnected films, and that we don't really see any genuine perspective from him. Good range of pick-your-own metaphors, though.
filmlog  3stars  italy  france  cigarettes  travel 
august 2005 by kevan
The Royal Tenenbaums (2002)
"Immediately after making this statement, Royal realized that it was true." Throwing a broken family back together, in a film that manages to be facetious without ever quite being throwaway.
filmlog  3stars  children  pestilence  lies 
july 2005 by kevan
Three Colours White (1993)
A Polish barber understatedly "down on his luck" flees from Paris with only a comb and a suitcase, to rebuild his life back home. The ascent is patchier than the descent, but it's all good, the whiteness of the set design is quietly all-pervading.
filmlog  3stars  france  love  transport  death  depression 
july 2005 by kevan
Revolt of the Zombies (1936)
Entertainingly meandering and low-key colonial zombie-hypnosis nonsense. Moral: a relationship that you're having to constantly reinforce through the presence of a standing zombie army probably isn't going to last.
filmlog  3stars  zombies  magic  love 
may 2005 by kevan
All the President's Men (1976)
Nice house-of-cards, overlap-of-probability portrayal of the investigative journalist's craft, if almost unbearably slow-burning in its procession of not-quite-informative-enough informants.
filmlog  3stars  politics  crime  news 
april 2005 by kevan
Christie Malry's Own Double-Entry (2000)
Unexpected film of the BS Johnson novel, in a cheap pile of DVDs; Nick Moran as a stunted Malry, pinpointing his life by totalling its moral debits and credits, and crossing the line between schadenfreude and terrorism, to a Luke Haines soundtrack.
filmlog  3stars  films  books  terrorism  money  death  crime 
march 2005 by kevan

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