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  • Sylvia Scarlett

    Sylvia Scarlett

    What a wonderful conglomeration of different genres and narrative modes, bouncing between melodrama, screwball comedy, and, even briefly, musical, with seemingly no desire or need to fall into any of those narrow categories--I suppose it's appropriate for a film about a character who defies labels. Rather than operating as a single arc, the narrative has, it seems, four or five distinct phases--the initial establishment of the Scarletts' predicament and subsequent escape plan, teaming up with Grant to pull a series…

  • Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

    Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

    There are no false jump scares in this film. This is a film about knowing there's a monster behind your door and not being able to do anything about it. The scariest film I've ever seen.

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  • La La Land

    La La Land

    ½

    There's a moment early on this film that nicely summarizes Damien Chazelle's approach to music and art: Ryan Gosling, sitting at his piano, puts on a jazz record, which begins with a complicated piano riff. He stops the record, plays the riff on his piano exactly as heard on the record, messes up, then spins back the record, replays the opening, and mimics it again. It's the same methodology behind the "Play one wrong note and you DIE" premise of…

  • House of Tolerance

    House of Tolerance

    ★★★★½

    Where Bonello's cinema thrives is in the tension generated by the collision of two modes of style: American pop filmmaking, personified by visually striking compositions, expressionistic colors, elaborate camera movements, contrapuntal use of pop music; and a particular strain of French naturalism, that of Maurice Pialat and Jean Eustache, defined by a fluid sense of temporality, elision of essential narrative content, and opaque characterizations. Of course, it's impossible to boil down his form to a simple mathematical equation - there…