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  • Marriage Story

    Marriage Story

    ★★½

    Marmite film. It reminded me of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, a return to a "pure" (gramatically), directional, "visual playwright" sort of storytelling, but what doesn't seem to work is all the factors that go in prior, or supra the shooting of the text: industrial factors, casting, hubris, the overt self-reflexivity.

  • To the Ends of the Earth

    To the Ends of the Earth

    ★★★★

    Perfectly poised set-pieces. An introvert's travel guide. Seventh Code flipped the standard of the value of "courage" on its head in a thematic remake of The Seventh Victim, but this film heaps indignities and humiliations not as either admonitions or paths to growth, but as a paring down of the world and our place in it to its barest essential: we are always strangers in our own land. (Meanwhile, love is always a red herring consistently in Kurosawa's 2010s films,…

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  • Mortuary

    Mortuary

    As a series of disparate musings on industrial decay, structural rot, civic mismanagement, teenage agency, death, loss, family, all these as self-fulfilling prophecy, and a genre morality ideated through finessed genre tropes and personal philosophy, this is very disparate, but so much as to be the survey and the total, untempered internalization of the filmmaker's carefully bred artistic personality (that is, "aesthetic personality") that it is. Hooper has always been something of a "shaggy dog" filmmaker, even when putting forth…

  • Poltergeist

    Poltergeist

    ★★★★½

    100% Hooper. Spielberg would never make this awkward, slow, imagistic, bogged-down-by-images (and pauses, and rhythmic digressions) a film. The story and script are nonsense, this is merely an experiment in narrative storytelling. Spielberg's pretense of narrative through an emotive frivolity is undone by Hooper's seriousness with everything that pinpoints the unnaturalness in supposedly presubscribed relationships. Imagine Poltergeist without the kidnapping, its inciting incident, and you would be close to Hooper's original conception of Poltergeist: a family lives next to a…