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  • Opera



    Sure, Argento's narratives are often about as disorientingly daft as the mismatched sights and sounds of his dodgy dubbing, but the maestro manages time and again with the force of his aesthetic-editorial ingenuity to transcend the (many) limitations of international commercial consideration and his own laissez-faire scripting sensibilities. By the time Opera's devolved into some supremely silly the-hills-are-alive-with-the-sound-of-metal shenanigans, you appreciate all the more Argento's sublime cinematics: any hack could make this movie; only a master could make it work…

  • My Only Sunshine

    My Only Sunshine


    Despite several moments where I started to feel my discomfort with the film was less directorial intent than genuine ethical issues, my second encounter with Erdem would seem to validate that first sit-up-in-shock response: he's really good. From those wowing tableaux that do for his (brilliant) leading lady visually what his script does narratively to a Graduate-esque ending that bittersweetly concludes an admirably bleak look at the prospects of Turkish young woman-hood, this is the work of someone with a clear message to communicate, and a magnificent ability to get it across.

  • Nicola Costantino: La artefacta

    Nicola Costantino: La artefacta


    As both a documentary that elevates the cinematic properties of the medium above the journalistic and an artist biography that examines the work without ever explaining, Cristiana's profile is ideally positioned to take full advantage of my predispositions in approaching art in its various guises is concerned. She, the director, is just as much a presence and practitioner as the subject she so evidently admires, and while much of the scripted subjective v/o might seem to yield authorial control to Costantino, there's enough in the subtlety of Cristiana's work—not to mention an excellently-implemented shared cinematic sensibility—to make of this more than mere hagiography.

  • Bird of Paradise

    Bird of Paradise


    Not sufficiently enamoured of even the most impressive among Vidor's exotic set pieces to forgive what's basically a colonialist fantasy with a pretence to tragic gravitas. This era of Hollywood is a minefield of us-and-them otherness (often in terms of production aspects as much as narrative) that can make fascinating documents of these queasy tales. Not quite so here, alas; what the film feels is a sagely cynical ending is a laughable mix of ignorant and naive.

  • Junun



    What's with all these complaints of PTA not putting enough of himself into Junun? Whether in a static long shot that suddenly jerks up and rushes forward as if unable to stay back any longer or the wealth of wowing drone shots that fly through the sky, this is Anderson doing what he always does: training the camera on some superb talent and following their cue. Superbly cinematic: the scenes that meet the Eastern-electronic fusions with shots of ancient surrounds infused with the paraphernalia of modern life are just about everything a music video need be.

  • The Lobster

    The Lobster


    Perhaps expectedly, Lanthimos loses nothing in translation: The Lobster is every bit as absurd a deadpan delight as Dogtooth and Alps before it, and perhaps even a touch more fun for the delight of seeing a boatload of famous folk act out this knowing nonsense. That Farrell's a fine actor isn't much of a surprise, but his fitting so snugly into this world I can't say I saw coming: he is perfect here, the cadence of his speech giving the…

  • Wild Tigers I Have Known

    Wild Tigers I Have Known


    No surprise to see Gus van Sant pop up as EP in the credits here: from the experimentally-inclined editorial sensibility to the subject matter, this is very much Gus' jam. Unfortunately he's no stranger to a serious slip-up himself, and as much as this nails the sensuality of nascent sexuality, it's that curious combination of impermeably elliptical and on-the-nose obvious in its rendition of this kid's sexual awakening. Worse still, it's dreadfully obvious how little money there was to play with here; from awkward audio to terribly overwrought actors, this would be a bit of a slog even if its drama was effectively realised.

  • Cops



    The bravura invention of every set piece here, the staggering seeming-simplicity of the logistics, the articulate madcap motion of it all, had me hooting so hard I thought I might throw up. Buster, of course, gave us one of the most wonderful odes to the phantasmagorical power of cinema in Sherlock Jr, but here he's on phenomenal form showing off its sheer fun (not to suggest there isn't more going on here; there's plenty). There is a peculiar joy one gets in the gaiety of silent cinema I've yet to encounter any place else.

  • Paris of the North

    Paris of the North


    Distracted by the slight-but-significant differences between this rewatch screener and the festival-screened version I saw some months back (which is going out there to the world!?), but this is still a superbly effective twist on feel-good indie formula whose "upbeat" ending is in recognising your own sadness. Oh, to see that on screen more. Stand by every ecstatic word of my earlier adoration.

  • Il Grido

    Il Grido


    Terribly moody, and often effectively so when the post-war ruin creeps into the frame (literally and otherwise), but Antonioni has a good deal more time for this guy than I ever will; for every wounded little glance that suggests some real feeling, there's an action to evidence it all just the moanings of a bit of a dick. Part of the point, part of the problem. That fog, though.

  • Delmer Builds a Machine

    Delmer Builds a Machine


    Oh, do grow up.

  • Fantastic Planet

    Fantastic Planet


    "And the fnurp-shaped hiddloes help the twenyu tagos to make the yuddly-yilp..."

    Giggled so much at the world-building wackiness here I nearly messed myself. A visual delight whose hardly-hidden contemporary relevance benefits from a superb score and a very '70s outlook: one of those wonderfully weird animations that makes superb sense of the world by making absolute nonsense of another.