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  • Pandora's Box

    Pandora's Box

    ★★★★

    It's a fantastic film and an enduring screen classic largely for Louise Brooks, who is -- and this is a term which may be over-used but is, for once, fairly accurate -- iconic here: beautiful, transfixing, making the film twice as good as it already is. She plays a woman who uses her abundant charms to win over people but who finds herself nevertheless on the back foot thanks to the constant, overbearing demands made on her by the patriarchal…

  • Almost Single

    Almost Single

    ★★★½

    I enjoy a good romcom, but they do tend to lean heavily on the personal charm of their leads. Luckily both Irrfan and Parvathy have that, although Irrfan's character of Yogi, a wealthy layabout who writes self-published poetry does initially come across as less quirky than creepy in his insistence, but romcoms often normalise pathological behaviour, and his is comparatively tame. Well needless to say some feeling develops between them as they criss-cross India (mostly in the north I believe,…

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  • Arrival

    Arrival

    ★★★

    There's a sort of sweet hopeful belief in the unifying power of language at work here, and Amy Adams is exactly the face for that, but there's also a mind-bending take on temporal awareness that reminds me of the WTF-ness of Interstellar and which I don't really find quite as fulfilling as the film evidently does. It's all very nice, though muted in its colours and uncluttered in mise en scene, and I sort of want to like it more than I did.

  • Baden Baden

    Baden Baden

    ★★★★

    Trading on all those classic elements of the cinema of self-indulgent continental introspection -- a young woman returns home to her ailing grandmother to tidy up shattered plans, creating new messes to tidy, and reopening some fresh wounds -- but it's done with such verve, such control of the medium, and such fine performances in the lead roles that what initially sounds like it might be drab and unengaging is really compelling. Sure, Ana's life may or may not be…