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  • The Last Picture Show

    The Last Picture Show

    ★★★★

    This is really wonderful and quirky and bittersweet and formally singular in ways that are completely in line with my taste, and I really enjoyed watching it.

  • Seven Samurai

    Seven Samurai

    ★★★★★

    What can be said about Seven Samurai that hasn't been said already? It's truly one of the greatest films ever made, a slow burn epic that allows the audience to be immersed in the story gradually, and remains a cultural and historical touchstone while removing all cultural and historical barriers to understanding its milieu. The opening section—by which I mean the first two or so hours of the film—is a patient, tender, humorous approach to world-building, in which each character…

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  • The Battle of Algiers

    The Battle of Algiers

    ★★★★★

    The rarest gem of all: a work of political art in which form is as radical and revolutionary as the ideas in play, but feels neither academic, nor didactic. Pontecorvo's malleable construction of the film—image and sound dutifully take on the identity of the characters on screen, seamlessly oscillating between a guerrilla realism reflective of the revolutionary fervour of the Algerian resistance, or a chillingly methodical stillness reminiscent of the French army's disciplined brutality—is a stroke of genius. This is…

  • Cold War

    Cold War

    ★½

    It's quite a remarkable achievement to make such a beautifully photographed film at only 88 minutes feel like a real bore, but Pawlikowski does it.
    The storytelling structure —brief snapshots across the years of the progression of two lovers' romance— makes it incredibly difficult for the film to develop either of the two main characters, or for the audience to become invested in them at all. They are rough sketches, drawn in very grand cinematic images, but their feelings and…