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  • The Flight of the Red Balloon

    The Flight of the Red Balloon 2007

    Watched 17 Apr, 2015

    A sly, delicate film, ostensibly about a tenancy dispute but also about the porous boundary between life and art. To that end it references its own creation numerous times: there's the mixing of Taiwanese and French art that's present in Suzanne's puppetry (which may also deliberately recall The Puppetmaster) and of course there's Fang Song playing herself and working on a film that is very much like the film we're watching. She even explains how the balloon is made to…

  • Summer of the Seventeenth Doll

    Summer of the Seventeenth Doll 1959

    Watched 12 Apr, 2015

    As soon as the actors open their mouths its easy to see why local audiences viewed this adaptation as something of a betrayal. Let's just say that Ernest Borgnine's decision to keep his natural accent might have actually been the right choice. That said if you can get passed the character's voices the rest is a respectable take on characters failing to grow into adulthood along with their country. It is marred a little by the actors - Borgnine in…

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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…