Rane has written 53 reviews for films during 2015.

  • Chi-Raq

    Chi-Raq

    ★★★★

    A wonderfully imperfect film of passionate irreverence. Whereas Tarantino's HATEFUL EIGHT combats demands of political conformity with nihilistic ugliness, Lee's comitragedy instead employs creative ridiculousness to make a plea for morality, empathy and the power behind just plain giving a damn.

  • Creed

    Creed

    ★★★★

    Those who disparage genre films forget the reason genres exist: it isn't the familiar themes and tropes, but the manner in which they're executed that have given them their staying power for decades on end. Also, Sylvester Stallone made a joke about the Cloud funny, which immediately justifies Oscar contention in my book.

  • The Hateful Eight

    The Hateful Eight

    ★★★

    First impression: A film that's as antiquated in its sensibilities as its intended format. (The 70mm is (as self-described) glorious, but never feels more than self-serving)

  • The End of the Tour

    The End of the Tour

    ★★★★½

    Rewatched for consideration for my Top Films of 2015 list. Spoiler: it made the list and then some.

  • The Big Short

    The Big Short

    ★★★★

    Adam McKay's new dramedy THE BIG SHORT has clearly learned from the schismatic reception of spiritual predecessor THE WOLF OF WALL STREET: there's plenty of documented idiocy, but an equal if not greater amount of condemnation as well. Sure, we can all laugh at the utter incompetence of these bankers and real estate brokers made clear in hindsight, but the 2008 financial collapse was still a Big-T Tragedy brought upon by hubris and ignorance. For the most part, McKay's film…

  • Steve Jobs

    Steve Jobs

    ★★★

    STEVE JOBS exists as the rare biopic that, in both content and form, accurately reflects the characteristics of its subject: engaging in small doses with admirable intentions, but overall deeply flawed. The movie earns bonus points for simply rejecting typical narrative avenues common in contemporary biopics, asserting its atypical structure (all three acts each focusing on a project launch with a number of years passing in-between) with the rare flashback inserted when needed. Likewise, Aaron Sorkin's screenplay makes the wise…

  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    ★★★½

    A safe but steady pitch by J.J. that Rian Johnson will (hopefully) be able to knock out of the park. Full review to come.

  • Hitchcock/Truffaut

    Hitchcock/Truffaut

    ★★★½

    More essay film than documentary, Hitchcock/Truffaut exists more as a tribute to the former director's artistry (at the unfortunate expense of the latter) than any sort of documented conversation between the two. The analytical insights of Fincher, Scorsese, Linkater and other modern filmmakers are a cinephilic delight, but the stretch of time dedicated to two or three central Hitch films at the expense of the rest leaves the movie feeling oddly incohesive.

  • The 400 Blows

    The 400 Blows

    ★★★★★

    A warm, yet heart-wrenching tale on youth's fleeting freedoms and the authoritarian systems that both dehumanize and desensitize, where brief moments of escapism are the only relief to be found.

  • Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

    Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

    ★★★

    It's unfortunate that it took George Lucas two attempts before remembering how to make a Star Wars movie. From the opening space battle to the final confrontation between Obi-Wan and Anakin, this film manages to rekindle a lot of the fun adventure and spiritual mythos of the original trilogy. There's a lot of welcome improvement here over the first two episodes, and even some unexpected expansion of Star Wars lore, particularly in regards to the Dark Side. That being said,…

  • Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

    Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

    ★½

    Here we have it: the true low point of the Star Wars franchise.

    It's difficult to assess which aspect of this film makes it the worst entry in the series. Episode II takes many of the failings of its predecessor and several times over. The focus on inter-galactic politics has somehow become even more convoluted, to the point that motivations for any group or individual are near impossible to follow. Our characters have somehow lost what little personality they possessed…

  • Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

    Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

    ★★½

    Dissenting opinion: The Phantom Menace is not the worst Star Wars movie.

    True, our morality play-slash-adventure story has been replaced by a boring, convoluted mediation on democratic politics, trade embargoes and the pseudoscience behind religious super powers. True, the movie is filled with alien characters of disgusting ethnic stereotypes. True, our previous cast of lovable archetypes has been replaced with the most bland, soulless, annoying husks of characters in recent memory (barring future sequels, of course.) All of these critiques…