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  • The Adventures of Tintin

    The Adventures of Tintin

    Weta Digital's photorealism rendered quasi-hallucinatory through Spielberg's surreal play with images. Like Zack Snyder’s similar (and also excellent) Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, the combination of genuine vision in motion and color with state-of-the-art fidelity to nuances of light and texture make for an odd spectacle – the realism of the environments clashing with animation’s inherent promise of freedom. Rather than be undone by this technical disorientation, both succeed in a form of hyper-visualization, and, non-coincidentally, stand…

  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind

    Close Encounters of the Third Kind

    "It seems they're trying to teach us a basic tonal vocabulary."

    "It's the first day of school, fellas."


    If you'll excuse a bit of auteurist shorthand, kind of the key film for understanding Spielberg and his career since, with all of the genuinely twisted flaws and exhilarating highs that implies. The family obliterated and abandoned in the pursuit of the stars with an advanced race that speaks in musical tones. There is something of Walt Disney's visionary/oppressive "universalism" within -…

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  • Creed

    Creed

    The way Coogler judges how long to hold on faces for a first date, or edit footage of Apollo at Adonis' most (physically) desperate moment, or have Stallone react to a photo of him and his real son; it's all of an intimately felt emotional register, quiet but also triumphant like the preceding franchise. A small (therefore big) miracle of story and people craft in Hollywood's most souless age. Fought back tears throughout.

  • The Thing

    The Thing

    "How will we make it?"

    "Maybe we shouldn't."

    Fire and ice, blue and red, flares and snow. Carpenter fine tunes the formalism of his previous films to something absolute, pure (before branching outwards). The film has no fat, every shot creating atmosphere, building dread, sustaining an unbearable tension between bodies and the spaces they inhabit (as well as other bodies). In daylight, the Antarctic expanse is forbidding, rigid, sharp, but when night falls it becomes an abyss. Figures, rendered silhouettes…