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  • The Call

    The Call

    ★★½

    Mostly quite a nice ride. Breslin and Berry are good (even if the roles are limited) and the pleasures of the first two thirds of the film are conventional but undeniable. The end section is the pits but that failure of promise almost comes with the territory on this type of project. As a friend on facebook said, this is probably the kind of film Phil Karlson would be making were he alive today. That thought alone gets me across the finish line.

  • Pain of Love

    Pain of Love

    ★★★★½

    Malmros initially guides us along the path of the wild-girl genre: his lead character is a free spirit, flouting social convention at every turn, succeeding where stiffness and insensitivity fail, acting on her impulses even (and especially) when they lead to unwanted consequences. Then he slowly and systematically uproots our expectations for the character; what we have been witnessing is an inner unbraiding, as an unseen depression begins—imperceptibly, as always in Malmros—to manifest within her. Kirsten's most distinctive and idiosyncratic mannerisms, initially our entry point into the world of the film, are subverted by a growing awareness of her manic depression.

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  • Hit 2 Pass

    Hit 2 Pass

    Walker's is a nerdy, cube-like style: shots of busy knees knocking about a scene; odd angles; oversymmetrical framing; sluggish, distended editing never gunning for an obvious move. It's a film where the forced impositions put upon otherwise unsculpted material stretch our perceptions between extremes; the effect is of observing constant lateral invention and editorial improvisation. There's no either/or in this film. The most contrived, fantastical scenes are shot-through with a simple splash of reality, stretched beyond believability by a refusal…

  • The Ornithologist

    The Ornithologist

    I kept thinking that this should have been directed by John Waters. João Pedro Rodrigues is far too tasteful for any of this to come off; he's a smart filmmaker, but the many provocations only draw attention to the fact that Rodrigues still films everything in good taste art-house tableau—a kind of studied sub-Hitchcock where the actors are pinned down by the weight of the artfully ornamental images, able only to glide sedately around the frame. Perhaps for me the…