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  • When Marnie Was There

    When Marnie Was There 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 26 May, 2015

    Hard to keep my feelings on this strictly to the film, as lovely as it is. And it is richly animated, as expected, with each frame nothing less than an absolutely pleasure to look at it. But it is incredibly slight, slow, and initially frustrating. The cynical side of my mind was calling it, “When Anna Cried and Tripped On Things” as I rolled my eyes at this girl actively running away from people instead of a more realistic mumbled…

  • A Most Violent Year

    A Most Violent Year 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 25 May, 2015

    An intelligent, well-appointed drama, although it wears its influences on its sleeve, its face, and pretty much everywhere it can make it obvious where this film is coming from. Nothing too wrong with that, in my book, it’s well done from all sides, and if the theater was saturated with things like this, I would be a happy camper. Alas, it isn’t, so this is more like a breath of fresh air than a by-the-book seat-filler.

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  • High and Low

    High and Low 1963

    ★★★★★ Watched 12 Nov, 2013

    Stunning. This might be a 10 on another viewing just because it is so knotty and there’s no way I caught everything that is wonderful about this film. But I caught a lot. Best blocking of any film ever? Probably. Best sunglasses? Definitely. This is a goddam motion picture, folks. And please, my God, anyone who is planning to make a movie that makes use of space (every movie ever), please study how this film makes sure that we know exactly where everyone is in relation to everyone else at all times. Study that tailing scene in the streets! Study it!

  • The Grandmaster

    The Grandmaster 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 24 Feb, 2014

    [review of festival cut]

    Suddenly not so angry that there are multiple cuts to this film as it is clearly a case of a really good movie struggling to be told. The shots are there, I think, but there is something off about how it is put together, rhythmically and otherwise. It wants to be about Ip Man, it wants to be about Gong Er, and revolutionary/civil war China, and the golden age of Chinese martial arts, but by doing…