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  • Carol

    Carol

    Todd Haynes’ film was nominated for six Oscars and was jobbed out of every last one, including a few that it wasn’t up for. It might seem in questionable taste to bring up awards when talking about a film as rigorous and lavishly emotional as Carol, but it’s one of those pictures that makes you notice all its artisans’ work, from propmasters to painters, from the masterly concision of the writing to the costumers’ precision, on down the line, every…

  • S.O.B.

    S.O.B.

    Watching this and Days of Wine and Roses back-to-back re-reveals Edwards’ mastery of widescreen staging, always sensible and sharp with an underrated knack for moving actors around within a visual scheme, finding a tensile angle in any interior without getting too fussy. But what marks S.O.B. is its empire of high-foolishness sharpies and their partying, drugging, screwing and skeins of outrageous fuck-your-buddy doublespeak — Hollywood life as a huge, wobbling soap bubble waiting to be popped. In style, it feels…

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  • The 39 Steps

    The 39 Steps

    “I used to wake up in the middle of the night screaming, thinking the police were after me. But one gets hardened.”

    A near-perfect snapdoodle of creamy greys and point collars, the kind of film where the star looks better poaching a haddock than you’ll ever look in a lifetime of your best moments. Hitchcock here seems a vanguardist of modern surveillance delirium, of innermost paranoia gone public—cops at train stations, cops crawling the Highlands, cops, cops, cops (and a…

  • The Mend

    The Mend

    I spent three months pestering poor unfortunates, asking if this was the best American debut since The Virgin Suicides: there must be something else, what is there, and so on (nobody disagreed with the Coppola diagnosis.) You know how it goes then—you start disentangling the Primers and Michael Claytons from the cobwebs of memory and kick yourself for playing the superlatives game. Then you take it easy on yourself, because what are we in this for if not for the…