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  • The Dressmaker

    The Dressmaker 2015

    Watched 09 Dec, 2015

    The Dressmaker is so naked in its contempt of its imagined small town Australia - from which no one escapes unless they're in a bodybag or haute couture - that it seems improbable that more reviews don't seem to have tackled this aspect of it head-on. Once the poison is out of the bottle the film's various caricatures seem less like grating but well-intentioned quirk and more like hateful send-ups. I'm not going to argue that small towns can't be…

  • Ex Machina

    Ex Machina 2015

    Watched 06 Oct, 2015

    Ex Machina is the kind of science fiction movie that hammers home Solaris' point (or one of them anyway). Attempts to investigate the inhuman or post-human almost always collapse into yet more navel gazing. Ex Machina is a decent film about a very particular delusion: The god complex as it manifests in twenty and thirty-something male technology professionals. But it fails utterly when attempting to depict an artificial intelligence. The best it can imagine is something yearning and learning to…

Popular reviews

  • 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…