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  • Aliens

    Aliens

    ★★

    There are some good touches in Aliens, mostly in terms of production design, but I think it was just the wrong, least interesting direction to go from the first film. Alien is as about stillness and mood, and Cameron has absolutely no interest in that kind of atmospheric filmmaking. Even when he does aggressively use lights and smoke, there's no chance to create atmosphere amidst the action and plotting.

    But despite taking the first film in a different direction, what…

  • The Age of Innocence

    The Age of Innocence

    ★★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    There's such an incredible depth of feeling in this, both in the overwhelming passion born from restraint the characters feel, and in the sensations produced by the camera. Age of Innocence was thought of at the time as surprising and strange coming from Scorsese, but the buzz of his formal daring is all over this film, and the approach fits perfectly to this costume drama. (In terms of Scorsese's period films, it's the underbaked anachronisms and oversized cartoony tone of…

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  • Captain America: Civil War

    Captain America: Civil War

    ½

    For the life of me I can't understand how fans find anything to give a shit about in these films.

    There's no personality, no stakes, no energy on display from either the cast or the directors. In the Russo brothers, I think Marvel have found their ideal directors: artless, visionless servants of an episodic TV structure. The action isn't exactly unintelligible (Marvel films are too insidious to be completely unsound), but it's passionless: hyperkinetic yet perfunctory. The Russo brothers' "style"…

  • Silence

    Silence

    ★★★★★

    Both experiential and texturally rich as well as intellectually alive. Silence is built around a series of religious tests, moral riddles whose consequences grow more and more thorny. Or rather, the film burrows deeper and deeper into manifestations of the same dilemma: the stubborn pride of conviction and the distance between heart and action.

    It's an extremely complex exploration of these ideas, but the film is tactile as well as brainy. Rodrigo Prieto's cinematography beautifully captures the indifference of the…