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  • Pontypool

    Pontypool

    ★★★★

    Be sure to watch all the way to the end of this most cerebrally strange of horror films. A straight up adaptation of the novel would probably not be as eerily effective as setting it in a radio station. An inspired choice!

  • John Dies at the End

    John Dies at the End

    ★★★★

    I'm a fan of the books and find this a satisfying adaptation of the first one, changes and all.

  • Wonder Woman

    Wonder Woman

    ★★★★

    Zac Snyder needs to go, but even he couldn't ruin this film, which lives up to all the hype, positive and negative.

  • The Marquise of O

    The Marquise of O

    ★★★★½

    A German language film about a widowed Italian Marquis (Edith Clever, who is glorious) who falls mysteriously pregnant and is reduced to placing a newspaper announcement to find the unknown father, and the Russian Count (Bruno Ganz, dashing and dreamy and just a tad creepy) who once rescued her during a military attack ( which he led and in which he defeated her father), this was my first and still favorite Eric Rohmer film and I'm delighted to find it…

  • Fires on the Plain

    Fires on the Plain

    ★★★★★

    There are so many shocking and striking scenes that it's a whole separate kind of wonder that these brutal set pieces also make up a narrative. The strafing, the bit with the boots, the revelation that it's not monkey... Holy shit, this film.

  • Europa

    Europa

    ★★★★

    This visually striking, often beautiful, film opened my eyes to a situation I'd never really given much thought to -- what life was like in Germany immediately following WWII. The sense of shock and of guilt, the material deprivation and devastation... It's all thrown into sharp relief here as our hero, a German-American pacifist, returns to Germany to work as, of all things, a train conductor. His travels being him into the orbit of a prominent industrial family as well…

  • Love Affair, or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator

    Love Affair, or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator

    ★★★★

    The intervals with sexologists, criminologists and coroners will make it hard not to think of Rocky Horror at times, but this earthy, off-kilter case study of the " modern" (1967) city girl in, maybe Sarajevo?, is very much its own thing. Eva Ras is so adorable that today they'd cast her as Supergirl, while Slobodan Aligrudnic has a sweet, undernourished charm of his own. What stole the film for me, though, was the setting, a city beyond the Iron Curtain…

  • The Element of Crime

    The Element of Crime

    ★★★★★

    Some of the most elegant and imaginative super - impositions and transitions grace this dreamy, sepia -toned mystery of a film. Combine this with the quiet and turgid narration from a main character recalling events under hypnosis and you have a compulsively watchable movie. The plot is beside the point, or could be if it weren't so intriguing.

    The occasional flashes of blue-green light throw it all into hyper- reality.

    And then there's the sort of Greek chorus commentary of the Egyptian hypnotist's remarks...

    The only film I can compare it to is Hearts of Glass. Fantastic. Six out of five stars.

  • The Legend Floyd: The Dark Side of the Rainbow

    The Legend Floyd: The Dark Side of the Rainbow

    ★★★★

    Excuse me, now I have to go read Philip K. Dick's VALIS trilogy and listen to OK Computer now 8)

  • Arrival

    Arrival

    ★★½

    There were a lot of neat ideas in this but they got better play in China Mieville's novel Embassytown. The leads were boring and the big surprise was no surprise and really on the nose. I was ready to love this film but wound up pretty disappointed.

  • The Rite

    The Rite

    ★★★★½

    An intimate, at times claustrophobic work, full of tight close-ups on nervous faces, often beaded with sweat or smeared with disintegrating stage make-up, this film is designed to mess with your head even as it distracts you with titillating but irrelevant questions. Why are these actors in trouble? Who is this judge? What are the stakes? Why is Sebastian always wearing sunglasses, when he has Anders Ek's eyes behind them?

    We expect Ingrid Thulin to steal the show in her…

  • Passengers

    Passengers

    ★★★

    Predictable but pretty.