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  • Poor Animals

    Poor Animals

    ★★★★

    At once urgent and meditative, Swedish filmmaker Daniil Piispanen's short film mines some deeply personal territory.

    Johan is a man broken by grief. When we first meet him, he enters an empty church, sits on a pew and sobs freely into his hands. It is the only scene in which we see him as he truly is. An elderly woman with warm eyes notices him and offers a few words of comfort. Johan makes no response. He has bled life…

  • Crazy Rich Asians

    Crazy Rich Asians

    ★½

    Crazy Rich Evasion

    Crazy Rich Asians is a whiter-than-white, totally disingenuous Hollywood rom-com with an all-Asian cast. And that's all, folks. It has nothing to say about the Asian experience.

    It's a bad (and I mean bad) movie that stinks of American clichés. Worse still, it isn't funny. Not even accidentally. On the odd occasion it got a tepid chuckle at the screening I attended, it was at the expense of some fat Asian aunt or zany Asian girlfriend whose…

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  • The Imitation Game

    The Imitation Game

    ★★½

    The Imitation Game plays like the polite dinner conversation at a party, before drinks have been served to loosen everybody up. It's so mannered and inoffensive that it seems to come at us from the chamber of a prettily-furnished snow globe.

    It's a biopic that chronicles three interwoven periods in the life of mathematician Alan Turing, a solitary introvert who developed a machine that deciphered codes the Nazis used to deliver tactical messages during WW2. A latent homosexual, the film…

  • Breakfast at Tiffany's

    Breakfast at Tiffany's

    ★★★★★

    Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a bit of an anomaly. It's a film that is frightened of its own material.

    The reasons are manifold. Capote (who wrote the novella) wanted Marilyn Monroe for the part of Holly Golightly; the weed-smoking alcoholic prostitute who has a casual affair with a gigolo writer. The studio wanted Hepburn, whose image was less sexually overt and more dignified. Audrey’s prostitute needed to be enigmatic, so the more salacious material in the story was dropped. Meanwhile,…