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  • Workers Leaving the Factory

    Workers Leaving the Factory

    ★★★★★

    “Cinema is made from the same raw material as History. The fact is that even when it’s recounting a slight Italian or French comedy, cinema is much more the image of the century in all its aspects than some little novel; it’s the century’s metaphor. In relation to History, the most trivial clinch or pistol shot in cinema is more metaphorical than anything literary. Its raw material is metaphorical in itself. Its reality is already metaphorical. It’s an image on…

  • It Chapter Two

    It Chapter Two

    ★½

    It doesn't deviate in any significant way from the James Wan school of jump scares and its treatment of trauma and memory is completely surface-level (many themes which should be central to the film - such as Richie's repressed homosexuality - are unsatisfactorily skimmed over), but some of the CGI creations are appealingly absurd. Far stronger when it's aiming for broad comedy rather than pathos

  • Downton Abbey

    Downton Abbey

    ½

    “Did the general strike effect you?”
    “My maid was rather curt with me – but she’s a communist at heart”

    This is a film in which a former Irish revolutionary makes amends for his prior wrongdoings by turning in an anti-royalist insurgent who is plotting to assassinate the king. Epochal conflicts (the Irish struggle for independence, the Boer war, the 1926 General strike) are treated as minor footnotes which temporarily inconvenience our obscenely wealthy protagonists before the status quo can…

  • Of Time and the City

    Of Time and the City

    ★★★★★

    "The problem with being poor is that it takes up all your time. The problem with being rich is that it takes up everybody else's".

  • Midsommar

    Midsommar

    Alan Clarke, 1974: Pagan Horror is an insidious genre based on the Western world’s inability to face its own history of colonial violence and the systematic demonization of non-Christian religions which is inextricably linked to imperialist expansion

    Ari Aster, 2019: Damn, those Pagans are spooky!

  • The Canyons

    The Canyons

    ★★★★

    Capitalist realism

  • Star Spangled to Death

    Star Spangled to Death

    ★★★★★

    "Is it our tv that's benumbed conscience? It doesn't show what we do. Having declared close-ups of damage to people obscene, it shows green fireworks and staged press interviews with speakers in military drag.

    Shown the cluster-bombed families, I think Americans would be less out of touch. But look what we allow to be done to ourselves. Since Reagan, for instance, we accept a class of people in America called Homeless. Then there's the 2000 election swipe.

    Home of the free and the brave? or Patsy nation?"

  • Too Old to Die Young

    Too Old to Die Young

    It's very bad, but it's weirdly Refn's most admirable project - not because his ongoing quest to pare down low-genre conventions to their bare essentials in the hopes of revealing some kind of Bressonian essence is any less jejune here than it was in, say, Drive or Only God Forgives, but because the extremely extended running time enables some somewhat intriguing experimentation with pacing.

    I can see why many have compared this to Twin Peaks: The Return, as these are…

  • Manderlay

    Manderlay

    ½

    I cannot sanction this buffoonery

  • Glass

    Glass

    ★★★★★

    "Neoliberalism generates a condition of politics absent the democratic institutions that would support a democratic public and all that such a public represents at its best: informed passion, respectful deliberation, aspirational sovereignty, sharp containment of powers that would overrule or undermine it.”
    - Wendy Brown, Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism's Stealth Revolution

    "I don’t think we are particularly evil, and we don’t choose sides. We try to stop both of you. If there is one of you, the opposite of you…

  • Thunder Road

    Thunder Road

    ★★

    Jim Cummings is a surprisingly magnetic performer, but in Thunder Road he lets his vanity get the better of him. The film is essentially structured around a series of Grand Actorly Moments, each taking the form of an extended monologue in which Jim rants to himself while pacing back and forth along the horizontal axis of the screen, the camera slowly zooming in from wide shot to close-up – this flattens the visual field, so as to formally articulate the…

  • A Hidden Life

    A Hidden Life

    ★★★★★

    When the law becomes unjust, justice precedes the law