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  • Bridge of Spies

    Bridge of Spies 2015

    ★★½ Watched 31 Jan, 2016

    There's classicism, in art, and then there's conservatism.

  • Tokyo Godfathers

    Tokyo Godfathers 2003

    ★★★½ Watched 19 Jan, 2016

    If I don't dream tonight of the Eiffel Tower dancing to a funky Japanese update of Beethoven's 9th, I shall feel sorely cheated. That closing credit moment, I confess, was the sole time I was truly taken with Tokyo Godfathers, swept up and away rather than sat there quietly appreciative. That's no complaint; Kon's cooked up a lot to be contemplative about here, even if I'm not so interested in the narrative games he plays en route to expressing it.

  • Adam's Rib

    Adam's Rib 1949

    ★★★½ Watched 12 Jan, 2016

    If Bogey and Bacall stand out still as one of those iconic screen couples whose courtship defined sexiness, Hepburn and Tracy endure for their endearing evidence of utter love. I thumbed through Hepburn's memoir a while back, and her unyielding affection for Tracy practically slumps out of the book into your lap. So it is with their behaviour together, put to immaculate use by Cukor here in a comedy that feeds off how much its questions of gender equality feel rhetorical with delectable vim.

  • Lotus

    Lotus 2012

    ★★★ Watched 11 Jan, 2016

    The hows and whys don't much matter, but a couple months back I found myself in Toronto perusing a cheaply-printed and poorly-bound copy of a Chinese immigrant's autobiographical first novel. You might kindly describe the rhetoric as weak, but there was a certain fervour to the fury of it all I've found hard to get out of my mind. Lotus reminded me a lot of that book: it's not a great film, nor even ever close to one, but injustice adamantly conveyed seems to speak so loudly in spite of shortcomings.

  • Creed

    Creed 2015

    ★★★★ Watched 16 Jan, 2016

    Not to add to the chorus of weep-boasting this film has oddly elicited—though not that oddly, given Coogler's tremendous turns on the ideas of masculinity the boxing film has typically offered up—but I cried four times in Creed, and I think the points at which I did so say it all about why I'm so head-over-heels about this movie. Two were inevitable blubs at Rocky character beats, partially because I love this series so much that the pains of his…

  • Room

    Room 2015

    ★★★½ Rewatched 16 Jan, 2016

    Abrahamson advocate that I am, I'm as thrilled as I am surprised to see him here earning the kind of industry and audience acknowledgement his films have long deserved; if Room's surprise slew of Oscar nods sees more people going back to Garage, you'll find few happier. That's a curious position to be in, given the direction here is one of the key things I question: Abrahamson's nomination, I suspect, is all down to the wonders he works with Jacob…

  • The Squid and the Whale

    The Squid and the Whale 2005

    ★★★★ Watched 10 Jan, 2016

    Don't know that Baumbach's excess of antics—child alcoholism! public masturbation! heart attack!—has anything near as much help as hindrance to offer, but gosh when his somewhat sprawling elements all happen to combine just right does The Squid and the Whale hit home, and hard. My own folks' splitting is recent enough still that the movie's many latent tensions are vibrantly recognisable, from the passive aggressive asides to that striking doorstep scene that had me almost in floods. But I don't…

  • The Hateful Eight

    The Hateful Eight 2015

    ★★½ Watched 10 Jan, 2016 4

    "Humour me."

    Nah, Quentin, after nigh-on two decades of that I think I'm quite done. That Tarantino's only here thinking to ask his audience's patience is an apt indictment of just how far he's fallen since he started mining the films of yesteryear for material rather than doing anything interesting of his own. Don't get me wrong, there's a perfectly fun taut thriller nestled in the avalanche of indulgence that is The Hateful Eight—even if it is called Reservoir Dogs—but…

  • The Milky Way

    The Milky Way 1936

    ★★★ Watched 04 Jan, 2016

    Distraught, dismayed, and downright cross to find the Milky Way advertised to Irish Mubi subscribers was not that shown. It's not a contest of quality to say McCarey's no Buñuel, but one in the mood for the latter is scarcely best-equipped to adjust to the former instead... Would you scoff if I said it's my first Lloyd? Probably you ought to. Liked it enough to add urgency to my ongoing shame at still not having seen Safety Last!

  • Children of Heaven

    Children of Heaven 1997

    ★★★½ Watched 07 Jan, 2016

    Has to go stumbling off in all directions, rarely terribly effectively, to find the material to justify being more than a short, but there is such dreadful depth of sadness to the kids' ever-overflowing eyes that I can't but be won over, for all the unfulfilled ambition of the piece. Majidi's no master of his medium—not here, at any rate—but his overripe imagery and sustained sense of consciousness meet clear allusions to The Bicycle Thieves and its tradition of tragic realism for a film whose prevailing ingenuousness is nothing if not charming.

  • A Town Called Panic

    A Town Called Panic 2009

    ★★★★ Rewatched 09 Jan, 2016

    Watched with m'little sister, whose oh-do-we-have-to eye-rolling on learning I was about to show her a subtitled Belgian animation soon gave way to more guffawing then I've heard from her in an age. It might be the funniest film of the new millennium, a free-wheeling fabulist fantasy whose hyper-caffeinated hysterics reduce me to a breathless wreck each and every time. And there have been many, and there shall still many more be.

  • Funny Face

    Funny Face 1957

    ★★★ Watched 06 Jan, 2016

    Deeeeeeeeply distrustful of the way in which the film's irreverent anti-intellectualism basically belies the sordid stance that women should be seen—ideally pretty, pink, and in Paris—and not heard, either objects of attraction or, when it suits, consumers of the means to make them so. Think Pygmalion sans satire*, as queasily clueless of its own ickiness as the quinquagenarian Astaire locking lips with Hepburn. But it's less a particular reflection of any among the production than The Way It Was writ…