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  • Kuroneko

    Kuroneko

    ★★★★½

    There's something amazing about the way Kaneto Shindo uses silence and stillness in Kuroneko. A lot happens in this story of two feline ghosts. We see a frantic duel on battlefield strewn with corpses, a masterfully edited shower sequence, and multiple meetings with a duplicitous governor. But because of the way Shindo stays with certain moments, letting them sink in, sometimes repeating them, it feels like the entire film takes place on a single stretch of bamboo-enclosed road and inside…

  • Gate of Hell

    Gate of Hell

    ★★★½

    Gate of Hell is a feast for the eyes. Every frame bursts with colour: characters are draped in vibrant oranges and greens, silhouetted by deep blue skies, and, occasionally, marred by streaks of bright red blood. Its narrative is just as lively as its colour palette, albeit slightly less memorable. After ushering a decoy for the empress to safety and refusing to join his treasonous brother, a samurai's passion for the decoy—who’s already happily married to an imperial guard—drives him…

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  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    ★★★★

    Great ape content, measured and effective world-building, and some wonderful imagery and set pieces. The rotating tank sequence is among the most visually impressive and narratively compelling moments in the franchise yet. Some of the CGI isn't looking so hot these days, especially when there are more than a handful of apes shuffling around on screen, but the film's attention to complex emotional currents helps them fade right into the background. My only real gripe is that this should be…

  • Double Face

    Double Face

    ★★★½

    Double Face utilizes a series of giallo-adjacent beats and settings, but its stately pace sets it apart. (Maybe that's the just krimi ingredient, but I don't know enough about the subgenre to say for sure.) In any case, the joys of this film about a man whose wife may or may not have been murdered are all in the mood and texture—the usual suspects, violence and horniness, are minimal and uncharacteristically subdued. For much of the runtime, it's just Klaus…