PTAbro has written 21 reviews for films rated ★★½ .

  • High-Rise



    Like the lower-floor tenants denied the amenities of the elevated, we - the audience - seem privy to glimpses of a larger and more coherent story; but Wheatley shuts the door before a greater understanding is ever allowed to coalesce in more than the broadest strokes. A fine allegory, but without the context and embellishment of Ballard's prose, I'm left standing out in the cold holding frivolous scenes of attempted artistry and a frustrating sense that the party was going to be really good if only I had been invited.

  • The Darjeeling Limited

    The Darjeeling Limited


    Anderson's characters (at least up to this point) have always been painted as fundamentally unhappy, and developed as pathetic throughout their respective films. The Whitman brothers share these standard elements, but Anderson - through his prerogative to examine the "now" explicitly and keep the "then" vague and insinuated - oversteps here and the pathetic devolves into just plain mean. The way these brothers treat each other, and their world outlook, is cutting and uncomfortable whereas Royal's buffoonish disregard for his…

  • Moana



    I do believe this might be cinema's first filmed application of a tramp stamp.

  • Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach

    Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach


    I can't quite see the purpose of this exercise of filming people (in period-appropriate dress, at least) performing the music of Bach with snippets of encyclopedic voice-overs interspersed between. The actual non-music content does pick up a bit after the halfway mark, but only in tantalizingly brief segments - I would doubt that more than 15 minutes of the film consist of something other than musical performances or authentically formal VOs by the titular Bach's actress laid over images and…

  • The Plague Dogs

    The Plague Dogs


    How easy it is to imagine Richard Adams hated children with a passion. Disguising stories clearly meant for adults (and even then, with severe reservations) as pet-filled jaunts associated with Disney and the like, it's understandable to mistake his motives. Here though, with The Plague Dogs, Adams veers closer to Fritz the Cat than The Fox and the Hound. And that's my real problem with the picture.

    The Plague Dogs, unlike Watership Down's underlying themes of community and justice, is…

  • Only God Forgives

    Only God Forgives


    I wonder if a small part of Nicolas Winding Refn regrets making Drive. If he does, I imagine it's the same regret any director feels after making such a suddenly drastic impact on popular culture and then trying to follow it up with a smaller, more personal film. It's the double-edged sword of mainstream acclaim, and the expectations that go along with it. It's that regret, and Refn's apparent choice not to try and live up to those expectations that…

  • Star Trek Into Darkness

    Star Trek Into Darkness


    If there's one impressive feat Star Trek Into Darkness pulled off, it's that they managed to squeeze so much fan-service in that even a non-Trekkie like myself got a sense of a lack of confidence in their own storytelling skill. Luckily, as a non-Trekkie, those moments of homage (much like in Skyfall) were broad enough that I felt a part of something bigger; that the immensity of the Star Trek mythos is a monstrous beast, and that, though this entry…

  • Iron Man 3

    Iron Man 3


    Perhaps I'm finally reaching my saturation point with the MCU, but Iron Man 3 feels weary and tired to me - just a matter of going through the motions, and inserting action scenes at the exact points the formula demands. The returning characters have nothing new to say, and the new villains hold no greater threat than the ones already defeated. Shane Black's reteaming with RDJ does lead to some exceptional dialogue (or, more honestly, one-liners), and as is to…

  • Fanfare for a Death Scene

    Fanfare for a Death Scene


    Competently shot but supremely bland, Fanfare for a Death Scene is an odd little mix of proto-Bond superspy action and by-the-numbers crime drama. Commissioned for TV, the limited budget is ubiquitous, recycling transitory shots and limiting the action scene(s) to staged one-on-ones in dark rooms when not circumventing violence for extended dialogues between the ideological rivals. As the transfer is fairly crisp, it's not painful to look at, but any character the story might have is hindered by the lack…

  • Blade Runner

    Blade Runner


    How does one even go about explaining themselves for not loving Blade Runner? Simple answer: you don't. You just ramble on about perceived flaws and hope that your previously earned goodwill is enough for fans of the film to sigh and move on. In regards to backstory, this is my second attempt at Blade Runner, having previously watched the DC back in high school and coming away with pretty much the same result, albeit with a much more limited mindset…

  • Pacific Rim

    Pacific Rim


    Round two of Pacific Rim, with company this time, was a little more palatable than the first. Whether it was being able to better see the intricacies of the mech and monster designs thanks to watching in 2D this time around, a willingness to ignore or laugh off the blandness of the main characters and the logical silliness of it all, or simply having any hope of this being a game-changer already established as impossible, I was able to walk…

  • Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One

    Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One


    To be fair, I wasn't prepared for Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One. Normally, I'm a sucker for these types of films - ones that purposely obscure which level of reality they exist in, be it fantasy, cinematic reality, or one just a camera lens off our own - but this...this was just too slippery. It could find no purchase. I couldn't grasp what Greaves was trying to do, even though, when spelled out (and even then, maddeningly confounding), it's a brilliant concept.…