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  • The Squid and the Whale

    The Squid and the Whale


    Don't know that Baumbach's excess of antics—child alcoholism! public masturbation! heart attack!—has anything near as much help as hindrance to offer, but gosh when his somewhat sprawling elements all happen to combine just right does The Squid and the Whale hit home, and hard. My own folks' splitting is recent enough still that the movie's many latent tensions are vibrantly recognisable, from the passive aggressive asides to that striking doorstep scene that had me almost in floods. But I don't…

  • The Hateful Eight

    The Hateful Eight


    "Humour me."

    Nah, Quentin, after nigh-on two decades of that I think I'm quite done. That Tarantino's only here thinking to ask his audience's patience is an apt indictment of just how far he's fallen since he started mining the films of yesteryear for material rather than doing anything interesting of his own. Don't get me wrong, there's a perfectly fun taut thriller nestled in the avalanche of indulgence that is The Hateful Eight—even if it is called Reservoir Dogs—but…

  • The Milky Way

    The Milky Way


    Distraught, dismayed, and downright cross to find the Milky Way advertised to Irish Mubi subscribers was not that shown. It's not a contest of quality to say McCarey's no Buñuel, but one in the mood for the latter is scarcely best-equipped to adjust to the former instead... Would you scoff if I said it's my first Lloyd? Probably you ought to. Liked it enough to add urgency to my ongoing shame at still not having seen Safety Last!

  • Children of Heaven

    Children of Heaven


    Has to go stumbling off in all directions, rarely terribly effectively, to find the material to justify being more than a short, but there is such dreadful depth of sadness to the kids' ever-overflowing eyes that I can't but be won over, for all the unfulfilled ambition of the piece. Majidi's no master of his medium—not here, at any rate—but his overripe imagery and sustained sense of consciousness meet clear allusions to The Bicycle Thieves and its tradition of tragic realism for a film whose prevailing ingenuousness is nothing if not charming.

  • A Town Called Panic

    A Town Called Panic


    Watched with m'little sister, whose oh-do-we-have-to eye-rolling on learning I was about to show her a subtitled Belgian animation soon gave way to more guffawing then I've heard from her in an age. It might be the funniest film of the new millennium, a free-wheeling fabulist fantasy whose hyper-caffeinated hysterics reduce me to a breathless wreck each and every time. And there have been many, and there shall still many more be.

  • Funny Face

    Funny Face


    Deeeeeeeeply distrustful of the way in which the film's irreverent anti-intellectualism basically belies the sordid stance that women should be seen—ideally pretty, pink, and in Paris—and not heard, either objects of attraction or, when it suits, consumers of the means to make them so. Think Pygmalion sans satire*, as queasily clueless of its own ickiness as the quinquagenarian Astaire locking lips with Hepburn. But it's less a particular reflection of any among the production than The Way It Was writ…

  • The Adventures of Baron Munchausen

    The Adventures of Baron Munchausen


    Even if Gilliam's playful penchant for slapstick and silliness might jar a touch with my own sense of humour, I'm enthralled by and enamoured of any artist so wholly, heartily inextricable from their chosen medium. In the dynamic depth of his compositions, the to-ing and fro-ing of his craning camerawork, and oneiric embellishment of each and every shot, Gilliam envisions the screen as a four-dimensional surrealist's canvas onto which he gleefully slathers no shortage of paint. For all the mess…

  • Synecdoche, New York

    Synecdoche, New York


    I've had this experience where people say that I'm depressing, or "so sad" and why am I so sad--my experience in the world is that when someone has written something or articulated something that is close to me but hasn't been articulated or written and I recognize it, I feel a common humanity that's overpowering to me. It's actually a time where I feel less alienated from the human race and I feel actually, in a way, pleased to be…

  • Tenebre



    Positively fixated on the character of Gianni, not just cos his blond-and-blue beauty and sublime sartorial choices hogged this male's gaze, but also because his disturbance at the horror of all happening around him is so markedly in contrast to his fellow characters, and the vast majority among Argento's oeuvre in my experience. The practical Psycho-esque images of blades entering bodies and flesh rent asunder always carries, of course, a physical weight; here Gianni's horror—while largely, eventually, an agent of…

  • 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.