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  • Love and Death on Long Island

    Love and Death on Long Island

    John Hurt's performance in this is exquisite. He plays a widowed author and general old-fogey by the (brilliant) name of Giles De'Ath, a man who reads Rimbaud, doesn't see movies, and confuses microwaves for televisions. Portrayals like this of people who are a bit nonplussed by the world around them can become cruel if the character is not well-drawn, luckily De'Ath's out-of-touchness is, and doesn't seem snobbish or rude; he just really loves reading and writing, so when he steps…

  • The Greatest Showman

    The Greatest Showman

    Just the worst. Visual and musical compositions so bland it was a challenge not to kick the seat in front out of frustration. ('This is Me' is a travesty. In fact, all the power ballads stink.) It's also astonishingly stupid, so much so, that when it tries (fails) to display how Barnum wasn't an exploitative narcissist, it just indicts him further (and begins to display the same offensiveness itself).

    I will say, as compensation for how bludgeoningly awful it is,…

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  • The Shape of Water

    The Shape of Water

    Glorious. The central love story is a playful joy (I could hear the film losing people at the briefest hint of intimacy, so I suspect there was some repulsion in the room by the finale: but it's hardly lubricious, it's cheeky with regards to sex). The film looks splendid: the transitions are magical; the set design is handsomely arranged; as is the creature's costume. And what a cast! Sally Hawkins is wonderful ("When he looks at me, he does not…

  • Phantom Thread

    Phantom Thread

    I am elated.

    "Phantom Thread" is an absolutely beautiful thing: a film that looks fabulous and immaculate, but which contains a central romance so strange and captivating that I'm at a loss for how to describe it. This film contains some of the best writing of Paul Thomas Anderson's career. The sharp turns of a phrase wrong-footed me frequently, and its use of pauses is a true marvel. Cyril especially was given sentences that made me wheeze.

    And Anderson's magnificent…