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  • Peterloo

    Peterloo

    ★★★

    Oh, there are bits in this long evocation of working-class northern England (well, Manchester, specifically) that I really liked, but I'm already struggling to remember what those were in the overwhelming sense that this is a piece of teachable didactic history intended to be introduced in classrooms with study packs and discussion points... [adopting teacher voice] "So you heard the aristocrats voicing their anxiety about the French Revolution while idly quaffing wine; do you understand how that could have been…

  • They'll Love Me When I'm Dead

    They'll Love Me When I'm Dead

    ★★★

    As a documentary, this excels on its behind-the-scenes access, and after-the-fact interviews with key people who worked with Orson Welles on his final film, The Other Side of the Wind. It's fairly workmanlike in its form, but has enough interesting stories about film work -- particularly Welles' haphazard way of constructing films -- about Hollywood, about power, about financing and how a film can fall apart, actors and egos, all that kind of stuff. Basically, if you like the books of Peter Biskind, this is probably gonna be for you.

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  • Arrival

    Arrival

    ★★★

    There's a sort of sweet hopeful belief in the unifying power of language at work here, and Amy Adams is exactly the face for that, but there's also a mind-bending take on temporal awareness that reminds me of the WTF-ness of Interstellar and which I don't really find quite as fulfilling as the film evidently does. It's all very nice, though muted in its colours and uncluttered in mise en scene, and I sort of want to like it more than I did.

  • Beau Travail

    Beau Travail

    ★★★★★

    It's almost impossible to form into coherent words how wondrous this film by Claire Denis is to me, not least because there's very little that's actually said in the film which tells you what it's about. Like some of the greatest cinematic works, it expresses its story through images, performances, bodies, movement, the interplay between these and the camera. Denis Lavant's pock-marked, angular face against Grégoire Colin's youthful, almost Classical one, staring at each other and (in the case of…