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  • High School Musical 3: Senior Year

    High School Musical 3: Senior Year

    ★★★½

    I've reviewed this film before, and there's little I'll add except that as it clearly has the biggest budget of the trilogy (it was the only one released to cinemas), it also has some of the best setpiece musical numbers, even if it's not quite the equal of the second (or arguably the first) in terms of the way it's structured and the way that the musical numbers integrate into the emotional lives of the characters. It does its best, but there are longueurs.

  • High School Musical 2

    High School Musical 2

    ★★★★

    It's the 10th anniversary of this film on Thursday (17 Aug 2017), so we thought we'd re-watch this much-beloved classic of the Disney Channel. I'm not trying to make a case that as a piece of filmmaking this is a masterpiece, and the Hawaiian dance is massively misjudged, though Kenny Ortega does what he can to replicate some of those classic Busby Berkeley effects with a much reduced budget and about 3-5 backing dancers (in "Fabulous" for example). He also…

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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.

  • Baden Baden

    Baden Baden

    ★★★★

    Trading on all those classic elements of the cinema of self-indulgent continental introspection -- a young woman returns home to her ailing grandmother to tidy up shattered plans, creating new messes to tidy, and reopening some fresh wounds -- but it's done with such verve, such control of the medium, and such fine performances in the lead roles that what initially sounds like it might be drab and unengaging is really compelling. Sure, Ana's life may or may not be…