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  • Wrath of Man

    Wrath of Man

    ★★★½

    "Name?"
    "He's H. Like the bomb, or like Jesus H."

    I loved the dialogue in the opening fifteen minutes. It's an almost lyrical discourse of succulent one liners and run on jokes, equal parts cheesy and ravishing. It's exposition packaged in the most Ritchie/Statham way I can imagine. Quickly the film becomes something much more serious and dramatic, again in the most Ritchie/Statham way I can imagine. But there's such a great rhythm to it. The score is terrific, just oozing dread. Wrath of Man is archetypal for sure, but it's a lot of fun.

  • Liz and the Blue Bird

    Liz and the Blue Bird

    ★★★★

    Liz and the Blue Bird is quite brilliant in its in-between moments. The first sequence is largely without dialogue, as we observe one of the characters, Mizore, simply waiting for her friend Nozomi at the school gates. There’s a large emphasis on emotion and body language, which aren’t typically given such intricate yet subtle attention in anime.

    The plot could be easily retold in typical anime episode length, but the feature runtime here affords it a meditative quality, allowing emotions…

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  • Air Doll

    Air Doll

    ★★★★

    "Do you wish you had never found a heart?"
    "I don't know, but... It hurts."

    This film has some truly bewitching exchanges. Some of the dialogue, and much of Bae Doona's monologue, is so terrifically concocted and expressed. Couple this with the composition — the delicate camera work and Koreeda's knack for timing, knowing precisely when to linger — and it creates a profoundly poignant and strangely mesmeric account on loneliness and companionship.

    Even then, the score adds yet another…

  • Shoplifters

    Shoplifters

    ★★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    "Nobuyo came from the actress, Sakura Ando. She is an actress who is quite faithful to the script normally, but while we were filming, she came to me and said, 'The father wants to be called "dad" by the boy, but what about my character? Would Nobuyo want to be called "mother"?' I said, 'Probably she does, but not so much.'

    That prompted me to think about the character's thoughts—about wanting to be called 'mother' or not—so I added the…