kevan + 4stars   65

One Way Pendulum (1964)
A suburban 60s family divided into their own absurd pursuits, with a gawky Jonathan Miller teaching speak-your-weight machines to sing in the attic. A brisk, no-nonsense acceptance of the absurd, although it lingers a little too long on some of its ideas.
filmlog  4stars  law  construction  society  music 
may 2008 by kevan
Diary of the Dead (2007)
London preview screening for the zombie trade. A good small-scale, camcorder perspective of the undead apocalypse; undermined a bit by the show-off set-piece gore scenes, but a good start to a reboot, a fumblingly decent attempt at a YouTube apocalypse.
filmlog  4stars  zombies  apocalypse  videos 
february 2008 by kevan
Desk Set (1957)
Hepburn in a proto-search-engine "research department", fielding phone requests for information, and threatened by the coming of an IBM "electronic brain machine" with a rattly printer, a natural language parser and a big red self-destruct button.
filmlog  4stars  computers  business  books  web  technology 
february 2008 by kevan
Call of Duty 4 (Xbox 360)
A satisfying amount of terrain awareness, through beautifully derelict environments; shouldering up against thick stone walls, hiding behind thinner ones that won't stop a bullet, and ducking behind cover to recover your ambient, few-shot health gauge.
gamelog  4stars  war  weapons  terrorism  dereliction 
february 2008 by kevan
Burnout Paradise (Xbox 360)
A good sandbox, full of subtle background distractions to follow up on, without a single floating neon arrow in sight. Too easy to crash while glancing, lost, at the map in a freeform race, but the landscape lends itself to being learned.
gamelog  4stars  transport 
january 2008 by kevan
Adam's Rib (1949)
"I don't make the rules." "Sure you do. We all do." A proto-feminist snapshot of the forties, Hepburn cracking through alternate scenes of lucidity and surreally dated equality arguments, her dramatic courtroom reveal being almost incomprehensible today.
filmlog  4stars  law  society  crime  love 
january 2008 by kevan
Hitman: Blood Money (Xbox 360)
Good balance of linear and freeform, with a lot of randomly pursued routes feeling like official, scripted ones, until you try again and go somewhere else. The AI gets a bit dodgy up-close, but works quite chillingly at a distance.
gamelog  4stars  death  money  weapons  secrets 
january 2008 by kevan
Gaslight (1944)
A great study of subtle psychological manipulation, undermining reality through isolation, tiny matter-of-fact lies and sleights of hand. A lot of the villain's reactions are clumsily over-the-top, but it's vivid enough to seep into a wider worldview.
filmlog  4stars  delusions  secrets  crime  love  psychology  light 
december 2007 by kevan
Wings Of Desire (1987)
A strong and loosely-painted mythology of benevolently bored immortals pacing around Berlin before the wall fell, taking notes. But the good, mundane dialogue gets drowned out by bad, self-conscious poetry, and the love interest is mystifyingly shallow.
filmlog  4stars  secrets  germany  society  love  memory 
december 2007 by kevan
Helvetica (2006)
Engaging history of the typeface; its rise and the backlash against it, all shown against the backdrop of Helvetica's global omnipresence in urban signage. No narrator, just lots of genuinely enthusiastic or angry type designers.
filmlog  4stars  fonts  design  history  art 
december 2007 by kevan
Assassin's Creed (Xbox 360)
A clean hybrid of Prince of Persia and GTA, with a great, flowing sense of parkour across the 12th century rooftops of Damascus and Jerusalem. Slightly thin missions so far, and the meta-plot seems unwisely bolted on, but it's still exhilarating to play.
gamelog  4stars  death  secrets  history  weapons  war  cities  architecture 
november 2007 by kevan
Bioshock (Xbox 360)
Disappointing that turning-enemies-against-each-other is so minor, and that the ethical dilemmas are so narrow, but if I'm going to be playing the mighty System Shock 2 again, a beautifully derelict 1950s underwater dystopia is a great place to play it.
gamelog  4stars  apocalypse  cities  society  water  mutation  dereliction 
september 2007 by kevan
Crackdown (Xbox 360)
A fun, cartoonish sandbox game, with a nice parkour feel plus the mission freedom of Mercenaries ("kill this one person over here, by whatever means"), although the near-future environment is very thinly painted, and the characters entirely forgettable.
gamelog  4stars  police  crime  weapons  transport  cities 
september 2007 by kevan
The Taking Of Pelham 123 (1974)
The hidden information of hostage negotiation, between four over-confident criminals and the entire, swearing infrastructure of New York.
filmlog  4stars  transport  crime  police  politics 
august 2007 by kevan
Rififi (1954)
A French heist film where the half-hour of breaking in and safecracking is played entirely without music or dialogue; no pointless exposition, and everyone just getting on with it. Will probably cast a shadow over every other heist film I see.
filmlog  4stars  crime  sound  paris 
august 2007 by kevan
School For Scoundrels (1960)
Psychological warfare, and how far you can take it before becoming a cad. The protagonist goes up against some very thin straw men, but it touches on the greatness of the books, and it's good to see some of the ploys being acted out.
filmlog  4stars  education  psychology  lies  cheating  illusions 
august 2007 by kevan
28 Days Later (2002)
Better and worse than I remembered, mostly through knowing what was coming; less of a jangly sense of doom, but some good threads and patterns, and a coherently sketchy backplot. The zombies were disappointingly boring after the first half hour, though.
filmlog  4stars  zombies  apocalypse  viruses  london 
june 2007 by kevan
A decent little homebrew Roguelike for the Nintendo DS, with a good interface. Nicest original feature (new to me, at least): the game doesn't end until you actually quit, so you can choose to watch dungeon monsters loot your dead body and mill around.
gamelog  4stars  nethack  ds  roguelike 
may 2007 by kevan
Grosse Pointe Blank (1997)
Decent story of going back and moving on, sidestepping a lot of obvious scenes, with the protagonist being deadpan and matter-of-fact enough to work as a character. Had forgotten how little he avoids the question of what he does for a living.
filmlog  4stars  death  love  nostalgia  via:brendan 
may 2007 by kevan
The Lives of Others (2006)
The counteraction of human weak points in the omniscient surveillance system of the GDR. Slow, strong character development; occasionally heavy-handed, but most of it perfectly underplayed.
filmlog  4stars  surveillance  germany  secrets  lies  writing 
may 2007 by kevan
Battles of Prince of Persia (Nintendo DS)
A decent grid-based wargame with CCG elements; the cards aren't very well written, and deck-building doesn't fit the random-objective campaign game too well, but it makes a good strategy boardgame, and presumably improves a lot against a human opponent.
gamelog  4stars  board  cards  war  magic  via:raven 
march 2007 by kevan
Dr Kawashima's Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain? (Nintendo DS)
As much about learning the DS's handwriting recognition as measuring your brain, but there's a good range of arbitrary exercises in there, the daily new things are a nice incentive, and it's been interesting to see which aspects I'm weakest at.
gamelog  4stars  brains  education  via:matthew 
march 2007 by kevan
Hot Fuzz (2007)
Good double-parody of complex-motive ITV village-detective mundanity and exploding American cop films. Missing references makes some scenes oddly pointless, and the gore doesn't fit either genre, but Pegg and Frost carry it engagingly for two hours.
filmlog  4stars  police  death  mysteries  comedy 
march 2007 by kevan
Twelve Monkeys (1996)
Tighter rules of time travel than I remembered, and the wandering-zoo-animal apocalypse trope is always a good one. A few nice touches of the world ending gradually. Didn't remember the ending being so concretely unambiguous.
filmlog  4stars  time  delusions  pestilence  monkeys  terrorism  prison 
march 2007 by kevan
Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind (2003)
Nice parallels of love and death, both being dreamlike in a deadpan way. A bit slow at two hours, even for a twenty year biography, but Rockwell remains engagingly half-likeable throughout the whole thing.
filmlog  4stars  television  surveillance  death  secrets  love 
march 2007 by kevan
FlatOut 2 (PS2)
Stock-car driving game with a convincing amount of heft to its car collision physics, and wonderfully destructible scenery, virtually all of it collapsing into bouncing splints and chunks, instead of just stopping you dead.
gamelog  4stars  transport  dereliction  physics  simulation 
february 2007 by kevan
Good Bye Lenin! (2002)
The value and cost of selfish, idealised delusions; the timeline and scenery of the film feeling a bit like one itself. Great snapshots of a society in quiet, half-mourned collapse, a lot of good dereliction, and the premise never overplays itself.
filmlog  4stars  germany  delusions  illusions  secrets  politics  television  history 
february 2007 by kevan
Cruise of the Gods (2002)
Brydon as the washed-up star of a flimsy 80s sci-fi series, being carried around Greek islands by a fan-club high priest. The bell curve of attitudes towards worshippers, and the importance of finding meaning where none exists.
filmlog  4stars  television  nostalgia  writing 
january 2007 by kevan
Notorious (1946)
The perils of office romances in the intelligence industry, a powerfully slow death and some fun heavy-handed this-is-important zooms of things containing other things.
filmlog  4stars  surveillance  secrets  love  poison  police 
january 2007 by kevan
BowMaster Prelude (Web)
A great hybrid of Bow Man's projectile aiming and Siege's field of tiny combatants. Defend your castle against swarms of invaders, and buy your own troops to send back at them and back up your firepower. Good level progression and satisfying headshots.
gamelog  4stars  games  flash  weapons  war 
january 2007 by kevan
Every Extend (PC)
"One day suddenly, you receive 12 UCHU-guided bombs. What do you do?" Good precision-driven pseudo-shooter, waiting for exploding blocks to float into the optimal formation before detonating them. Could have used more levels and variation, though.
gamelog  4stars  japan  weapons  download 
december 2006 by kevan
Les Diaboliques (1954)
A slow and dark Hitchcockian murder mystery, with the mystery in unexpected places. A good strong twist at the end, and an even better title card telling the audience not to give away spoilers when talking to their friends about it.
filmlog  4stars  death  mysteries  crime  france  secrets  education 
december 2006 by kevan
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (PS2)
Sadly flawed - a great mission tree, and nothing too taxing for casual play, but it's ruined by the half-arsed radio scripts, the constant reminder that you're in a weird alternate world run by sniggery 14-year-olds. Even Double Clef is unlistenable.
gamelog  4stars  crime  transport 
november 2006 by kevan
Keep The Aspidistra Flying (1997)
Class tourism with a well-stuffed parachute, and how every single luxury and happiness costs money. It's presented a little more blandly and cleanly than the novel, with a merely quaint and cheerful Lambeth, but Richard E Grant is perfect as Comstock.
filmlog  4stars  money  poetry  advertising  society 
november 2006 by kevan
Girl Shy (1924)
A brilliantly inventive and endless car-stealing, horse-stealing chase scene, towards the end of this. I want to play a silent-film Grand Theft Auto.
filmlog  4stars  depression  love  language  police  transport  via:raven 
october 2006 by kevan
Children of Men (2006)
Life costed in deaths. Another grimly picaresque pre-post-apocalypse, starting out from a magnificent near-future London (which I didn't even realise the film was set in, from the posters), spoiled by disappointingly generic-sci-fi advertising hoardings.
filmlog  4stars  apocalypse  children  london  dereliction  police  death  secrets 
october 2006 by kevan
Infernal Affairs (2004)
Brilliantly geometric undercover police drama, with the interlocking symmetry of 'good' and 'evil' having a few very, very critical gaps.
filmlog  4stars  police  crime  secrets 
august 2006 by kevan
Network (1976)
Exploitative television and trivialised news coverage, although I'm too ignorant of American TV history to know exactly how ad absurdum it was meant to be, from here. The detached plotlines drag the film a bit, but it's great satire otherwise.
filmlog  4stars  news  television  delusions 
august 2006 by kevan
Kitchen Stories (2003)
Quaint pre-CCTV time-and-motion study, with a Swede in an umpire's chair. Inevitable stuff about changing things by observing them, but it's all nicely erratic and low-key, and the isolated Norwegian setting adds a lot.
filmlog  4stars  design  surveillance 
august 2006 by kevan
Tristram Shandy: A Cock And Bull Story (2005)
Fun if easily-distracted metafiction, a good sense of having seen the relevant bits of a larger story, from the only edges of its construction. Brydon's excellent.
filmlog  4stars  films  books  meta  history  children 
july 2006 by kevan
Colossus: The Forbin Project (1970)
A snarkily dispassionate cold-war doomsday machine and its evitable rise to power. Bit of a weird totalitarian-flatshare sitcom segment in the middle, but the film ends on a bravely downbeat note and at *exactly* the right moment.
filmlog  4stars  apocalypse  computers  surveillance  war 
july 2006 by kevan
A Night at the Opera (1935)
Snappily careering stuff, although the songs get in the way a bit too much. "You've missed the entire opera." "Well, I only missed it by a few minutes."
filmlog  4stars  comedy  theatre  music 
july 2006 by kevan
The Big Sleep (1946)
Slow, heavy film-noir cogs, Bogart having a magnificently tired invulnerability as he collects people's guns and hides listlessly behind things.
filmlog  4stars  crime  police  mysteries  death  money 
june 2006 by kevan
Colour Me Kubrick (2005)
Extravagant biopic of Alan Conway, exploring how far and loudly you can take the faking of an eccentric recluse, although the all-pervading campness gets a bit wearying. Flabbergasting appearance by Jim Davidson as an effete light entertainment star.
filmlog  4stars  films  lies  money  delusions 
june 2006 by kevan
Series 7 - The Contenders (2001)
Sharply prescient reality-TV satire that has a lot of fun with its medium - the contestants' complete face-value acceptance of their situation, and the darker powers of primetime television as a combined church-and-state.
filmlog  4stars  television  surveillance  death  games 
may 2006 by kevan
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Dropping good, solid rule-based mythology into nervous-laughing, non-plussed western scepticism.
filmlog  4stars  monsters  zombies  london  secrets  love  mutation 
may 2006 by kevan
His Girl Friday (1940)
Cary Grant trying to stop Rosalind Russell from leaving his newspaper, by being charmingly ruthless and lying appallingly at every single opportunity. Strong and snappy characters, and some fun subjectivity-of-the-press scenes.
filmlog  4stars  news  lies  crime  writing 
may 2006 by kevan
The Usual Suspects (1995)
Hadn't seen this for a while. Still stands up well, although it's a bit frustrating to know how much to make of unfolding events when you know the basis of the narrative.
filmlog  4stars  mysteries  crime  secrets 
april 2006 by kevan
Rashomon (1950)
An intense cast, sharp and modern-feeling shots, a fantastically derelict gate, and a bit too much mad laughter. Less about biased perspective than I was expecting, and more about intentional deception, but the self-deluding reasons are the same.
filmlog  4stars  crime  death  delusions  lies  memory 
march 2006 by kevan
Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)
Excellent adaptation, of my memory of the book if not the actual book, which seems fitting enough. Maybe a bit light on paranoia and O'Brien, but a strong cast and fantastically austere and bombed-out scenery.
filmlog  4stars  politics  surveillance  history  lies  dereliction  love  war 
march 2006 by kevan
Capote (2005)
Increasingly chilling selfishness as Capote becomes an active part of the story he's researching, with only a few shreds of emotional self-delusion. Brilliant portrayal, and the voice stays at the precise tipping point of over-annoying whininess.
filmlog  4stars  writing  death  love  crime  lies  delusions  history 
february 2006 by kevan
Northfork (2003)
Evacuating a derelict 50s American town to make way for a reservoir. Fun, hazy Biblical metaphors; angels as black-hatted municipal workers, clearing out Sodom or preparing for the apocalypse. Beautiful washed-out dustiness, un-self-indulgently dreamlike.
filmlog  4stars  apocalypse  religion  death  water 
january 2006 by kevan
The Quiet Earth (1984)
Solidly explored last-man-on-earth-going-a-bit-insane stuff, doing all the things a real person going insane would do, but getting a bit bogged down in arbitrary nonsense-science as it goes on.
filmlog  4stars  apocalypse  psychology  science  death 
january 2006 by kevan
The Edukators (2004)
German furniture-shuffling activists discover their position in the scheme of things. Neatly constructed, but a couple more Edukations would have been nice.
filmlog  4stars  furniture  society  crime  love  terrorism  germany 
january 2006 by kevan
The Five Obstructions (2003)
Much less literal and verbatim than I expected it to be, being remakes of mere sections of the original, but fun to watch, brilliant that the most punishing obstruction is "make a version with no obstructions".
filmlog  4stars  films  meta 
december 2005 by kevan
Le Temps du Loup (2003)
A vague and rural post-apocalypse, towns being locked down as fresh food and water run out, and unlucky wanderers clashing and coalescing. Rebooting society, and children being the future because they're so evolutionarily gullible.
filmlog  4stars  france  apocalypse 
december 2005 by kevan
Grizzly Man (2005)
Story of Timothy Treadwell, an environmentalist eaten by bears a couple of years ago. Herzog pieces together an unnerving portrait of reckless, self-assured naivete, cut together from hundreds of hours of camcorder footage.
filmlog  4stars  mammals  death  delusions 
december 2005 by kevan
Dellamorte Dellamore (1994)
Wonderful workaday zombie-hunting, with Rupert Everett as the louche caretaker of a beautiful Italian cemetery. He can't save the horrible dialogue, though, and it all starts to unravel annoyingly towards the end. Pity.
filmlog  4stars  zombies  death  love  italy  via:joh 
november 2005 by kevan
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
Edits are a bit too clear having just read the book, and the removal of the subjective, unreliable narrator is quite a huge loss, but it's much better paced than the original. Astonishing supporting cast, as well.
filmlog  4stars  prison  brains  delusions  medicine 
october 2005 by kevan
Richard III (1996)
Watched a couple of weeks ago. Brilliant reworking into a 1930s fascist rise-to-power, with a strong British cast and excellently amused scheming-to-camera from McKellen.
filmlog  4stars  politics  death  war 
september 2005 by kevan
Gattaca (1998)
Odd; I was expecting this to be a ludicrous far-future nonsense, but for the most part it's a near-focus logical-conclusion thing, a look at employment and police work in a society where DNA can be easily and cheaply scanned, against a national database.
filmlog  4stars  genetics  science  technology  police  secrets 
july 2005 by kevan
Vera Drake (2004)
Consequences, and the consequences of trying to prevent those consequences, and so on, and so on. Meticulously wasteless Mike Leigh dialogue, and wonderfully dismal 1950s decor.
filmlog  4stars  sex  crime  medicine 
july 2005 by kevan
Être Et Avoir (2002)
Understated and impossibly charming documentary, quietly watching a tiny, one-room school in rural France for six months, with no commentary. Fun to watch a film with foreign dialogue simple enough to pre-empt it from the subtitles.
filmlog  4stars  education  children  france 
june 2005 by kevan
Le Goût Des Autres (2000)
Perfectly-balanced, luxuriously-paced look at the boundaries of people's opinions, and how easy and difficult and doomed and liberating it can be to adopt arbitrary ones.
filmlog  4stars  love  art  france  theatre 
june 2005 by kevan
Timecode (2000)
Four impossibly single-shot ninety-minute interconnecting threads of mundanity, split-screen to be edited by the viewer's eye. A shame that the initially slight information overload subsides into soundtrack-guided attention, but still astonishing.
filmlog  4stars  films  meta  time 
april 2005 by kevan

Copy this bookmark: