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  • An American Werewolf in London 1981

    Watched 25 Jan, 2015

    An American Werewolf in London starts very well, transitioning adeptly from a jokey beginning to a panicky death on the moors. If said moors seem rather conspicuously lit then it hardly matters given that Landis makes them feel very, very open and very, very flat. It stumbles a little as it progresses and unfortunate bits of very 80s cheese start to intrude. The romance starts in a more than mildly cliched (yet well performed) place but by the time it…

  • Kill Bill: Vol. 2 2004

    Watched 22 Jan, 2015

    Vol 2 is obviously designed to be part of the same film as Vol 1. It expects as to remember Beatrix's assassin name without any prompting and retains the same style. Which is to say it's style changes every half hour. However it is slightly more restrained on that front than the first half and its most memorable moments are not lengthy fights but lengthy chats. In the process it imbues both parts with honest feeling; transforming what was a…

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  • 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…

  • 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…