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  • The Triplets of Belleville

    The Triplets of Belleville

    ★★½

    Now might be a good time to say that I find ugliness in cinema hard to justify when there isn't a damn good excuse for it. Unfortunately, The Triplets of Belleville (2003) really only provides half of one: there's some surface-level fun to be had with its warts-and-only-warts style of animation (especially during the climax), and there's a bit of a subtext on post-millennial throwaway culture, which is vaguely in line with what WALL-E (2008) would say later on in…

  • The Rapture

    The Rapture

    ★★★★

    It gets botched slightly in the final ten minutes, diving headfirst into a climax that the filmmakers didn't have the budget nor prowess to pull off. Either way, The Rapture (1991) is an exhilarating slow burner that belongs in that most intoxicating of categories—the prison-of-belief movie—ranking it alongside films such as Safe (1995), Fight Club (1999), Dogtooth (2009), Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011), and The Master (2012). What The Rapture holds over those other pictures, however, is that it remains…

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  • Unfriended

    Unfriended

    ★★★★

    Enormously silly, but it effectively plays upon the fears of folks such as I who spent their formative years late-night video chatting on Skype and shitting it to creepypastas. The storytelling in this thing is phenomenal—real-time soundtrack selections, text-based notifications, POV typing and retyping—and this is what elevates it beyond the standardised gimmickfest and into a definitively 21st century slasher. I wish the characters were something other than direct descendants of the victims in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974),…

  • La La Land

    La La Land

    ★★★★½

    La La Land (2016) is the type of film you wish you saw more often, one that's equal parts joyous, intelligent, and technically marvellous. Musicals made in the Internet era have the difficult task of providing more than a YouTube playlist can offer; something as flaccid as Les Miserables (2012) is genuinely benefitted by isolating its highlights. But Damien Chazelle's tribute to Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, and Golden-era glitz massively benefits from starring two of cinema's most charismatic leading performers:…