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  • Selma

    Selma 2014

    Watched 26 Mar, 2015

    I am inadequate but I made a commitment to write about every movie I see this year so here goes:

    Proceeds logically and inexorably from problem (Annie Lee Cooper trying to vote and the Birmingham Church Bombing) to obstacle (the lack of political urgency and intransigent, violent opponents) to solution (nonviolent activism). Everything in this film is filled with purpose. A cross constantly hangs over Dr King's shoulder, the film's colour scheme is made up of blacks, browns and whites…

  • '71

    '71 2014

    Watched 22 Mar, 2015

    '71 has a mildly disappointing lack of specificity to it. Its politics - specifically it's rejection of militarism by way of asserting that every side is terrible and that civilian populations bear the brunt of war in a variety of awful ways - could be mapped on to nearly any given conflict. As such it's not a thriller about The Troubles so much as a Troubles themed thriller. That said it is a very well executed one. It contains a…

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  • Birdman

    Birdman 2014

    Watched 10 Jan, 2015

    Birdman is so in your face that it makes a motif out of characters speaking directly to the camera. It's a manic, propulsive, eager little thing driven by a relentless drum score, a swooping camera and restless actors who talk as though they could burst into flames at any moment. It's populated by caricatures and filled with the kind of passionate nonsense that regularly fills columns exclaiming that Hollywood has run out of ideas, or that theater is a dying…

  • When Animals Dream

    When Animals Dream 2014

    Watched 08 Jan, 2015

    There's a long history of feminist werewolf stories and it's easy to see why: Aside from the terror of big, nasty dogs the horror of the werewolf lies in a loss of control over one's own body. When Animals Dream gets great of mileage out of this subtext. Before the protagonist, Marie, has even begun to wolf out she's subjected to an intrusive doctor's examination and the unwanted attentions of a local boy.

    By the time she's asserting pride in…