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  • Saving Private Ryan

    Saving Private Ryan

    This is bullshit propaganda. But it's really, really good bullshit propaganda.

  • Band Baaja Baaraat

    Band Baaja Baaraat

    Band Baaja Baaraat contains all of the usual romcom cliches including a last minute run to win a lover's affection (despite it not being clear exactly why haste is required). That said all of them are played with ridiculous energy and fervor; as if they were being invented for the first time. Anushka Sharma's hilarious mugging in the first performance of Ainvayi Ainvayi is emblematic but performances aside there's also a riot of dutch angles, jump cuts and zooms. Some…

  • I Am Not Madame Bovary

    I Am Not Madame Bovary

    I Am Not Madame Bovary is super interesting formally. There's plenty to talk about on that level. Alas I am a bumbling idiot so this is entirely a plot analysis. Just in case it's not clear what that entails: I write about the plot. Like, all of it.

    I Am Not Madame Bovary is a Chinese film satirising the efforts of officials but also one that sought to pass China's unusually strict censorship board. You can see the problem here.…

  • Shin Godzilla

    Shin Godzilla

    Shin Godzilla is pretty good albeit in an odd duck way. It's only peripherally a disaster movie. That's not to say it doesn't utilise Godzilla as a metaphor for nuclear destruction. There's a moment of grand tragedy that is utterly heartbreaking and its ending is quietly chilling. However such moments merely establish stakes; the meat of the film is, of all things, an unabashed celebration of bureaucracy.

    Granted it celebrates a particular kind of bureaucracy. Before the heroes can work…

  • We Are the Best!

    We Are the Best!

    Boys ruin everything. Even good movies.

  • Tokyo Tribe

    Tokyo Tribe

    It would take booming sound system and an excitable crowd to drown out Tokyo Tribe's multitude of sins which I suppose is how it got by. It's often described and promoted as a hip hop musical but that's a bit like calling a pantomime a Shakespeare play. Hardly any of the performers could be reasonably described as competent rappers and I defy any of Tokyo Tribe's fans to recall a single beat from the film. That's to say nothing of…

  • Spotlight


    As professional and reliable in its style as its characters are in their vocation.

  • Hail, Caesar!

    Hail, Caesar!

    Hail, Ceasar! works just fine as a That's Entertainment style compilation of movie magic but unfortunately the Coens were compelled (probably by dirty capitalist incentives) to add something as gauche as a story to their celebration. So this thing is saddled with a perfunctory plot that nonetheless feels more convoluted than it ought to be and characters literally declaring the divinity of motion pictures even though the Berkeley-esque mermaid routine and its like get the message across just fine. Let's…

  • The Boy and the Beast

    The Boy and the Beast


    The Boy and The Beast strains a little too hard for its effect - the metaphors just start piling up like a train wreck towards the end - but it manages to be affecting anyhow. I particularly like the way it emphasis the difference between its two worlds by way of formal techniques. The "real world" scenes are often given a distorted security camera effect, bright lights are emphasised and 3D effects are often employed. In contrast the beast world is comparatively rustic - not just in it's mise en scène but also in its lack of such formal flash.

  • The Dressmaker

    The Dressmaker

    The Dressmaker is so naked in its contempt of its imagined small town Australia - from which no one escapes unless they're in a bodybag or haute couture - that it seems improbable that more reviews don't seem to have tackled this aspect of it head-on. Once the poison is out of the bottle the film's various caricatures seem less like grating but well-intentioned quirk and more like hateful send-ups. I'm not going to argue that small towns can't be…

  • Ex Machina

    Ex Machina

    Ex Machina is the kind of science fiction movie that hammers home Solaris' point: Any attempt to study or imagine the in- or post-human is doomed to collapse into yet more navel gazing.

    Ex Machina is a decent film about a very particular masculine delusion. Namely the god complex as it manifests in youthful technology professionals. Call it Frankenstein 2.0. Unfortunately it fails utterly when attempting to depict an artificial intelligence: the best it can imagine is something yearning and…

  • The Gift

    The Gift

    The Gift is an efficient, machine tooled film in which not a second is wasted and every detail is essential. As a result it feels more than a little airless. That's a fault I could forgive - if it's end purpose was a little more ambitious or if it was more interesting on a moment to moment basis.