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  • Yesterday

    Yesterday

    ★½

    I usually find it hard to tell whether or not a movie's screenplay is particularly good or bad, given that so much of this medium's storytelling is dictated by what happens on set, behind the camera, in front of the camera, and in the editing bay. In Yesterday's case, though, I feel pretty confident that its failings are almost exclusively due to a bafflingly half-baked script. From an unmoored, unearned central romance to a high concept that flounders due to…

  • Camera Buff

    Camera Buff

    ★★★★

    I don't think I've ever seen another work of metafiction that's made me more acutely, uncomfortably aware of the artifice of the filmmaking in the work itself. I'm not quite astute enough to tell how deliberate this effect was, but several times throughout the film, where a technical aspect of filmmaking has been discussed or otherwise highlighted in a scene, Kieślowski and his collaborators (including a total of five cinematographers, if IMDB is to be trusted) will – coincidentally or…

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  • The Beautiful Person

    The Beautiful Person

    ★★★★

    This movie gets at something I can't recall ever having seen on screen before; how love can be so utterly prosaic and profound at the same time, and how those things in no way exclude or cancel each other out. By bringing a seventeenth century novel's intrigues and heartbreak into a common high school setting, the filmmakers find the similarities between the constantly splintering, close-knit cliques of secondary school education and those of a sixteenth century royal court.

    Writer-director Christophe…

  • Yara

    Yara

    ★★★½

    I realised while watching Yara that in my mind, somehow, the term "cinematic" had become analogous to "fictional". Thus, most qualities I associate with the former adjective inadvertently come to describe the latter as well. Which might be why, because of the way Abbas Fahdel chose to shoot his (definitely fictional) movie – razor-sharp high definition video, handheld, 1.85 : 1 aspect ratio, deep focus, no musical score – it doesn't feel fictional to me. While Fahdel doesn't directly adopt…