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  • The Day the Earth Stood Still 1951

    ★★½ Watched 12 Sep, 2014

    It occurs to me that if I'm going to give a classic a comparatively poor score I ought to leave a short explanation. Essentially this film is too restrained and tasteful for my liking. There's a long stretch in the middle that is more or less tension free and striking shots like the one in elevator or those taken from behind Rennie's head are few and far between.

  • The Addiction 1995

    Watched 05 Sep, 2014

    Is this the most catholic of all vampire movies? It certainly endorses predestination, but not double predestination. The fact that even someone as ill-versed in theology as myself can pick up on that speaks to how direct The Addiction is.That it manages be so without becoming excessively didactic is impressive (though it walks up to the line: "In more accessible terms..."). In any case it's refreshing to see something that is both thematically consistent and unambiguous in its intent. I…

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  • A Most Wanted Man 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 01 Aug, 2014

    When TV partisans declare that their medium has overtaken film in terms of quality this is exactly the kind of film they're imagining as a synecdoche: the subtle, adult genre film with a strong thematic through-line. If they were to pick out a TV series to favourably compare to A Most Wanted Man they could hardly do better than The Wire. After all, both concern themselves with institutions so thoroughly perverted that they end up perpetuating the very pathologies they're…

  • Ida 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 05 Jun, 2014

    I saw two trailers before watching Ida. One presented it as a film about uncovering dark secrets of the holocaust and the other suggested it was about a nun being tempted by carnal pleasures (you've got to feel for whoever fell for the latter). It follows then, that as far as I'm concerned it's about neither.

    Many critics have seen this film as a radical change of pace for Pawlikowski and while the formal elements may be new - black…