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  • Ash Is Purest White

    Ash Is Purest White

    ★★★★

    Jia's evolution from a realist into one of modern cinema's greatest melo-dramatists is one of the most exciting to happen this century. While it lacks the overwhelming emotional element that made Mountains May Depart such a revelation (to me), here his use of fluid camera movement and music/score is one of the best of the year. Open your heart, allow the world in and it will only break it. The world moves on not with you, but in spite of you, and Zhao Tao grabs you by the hand and guides you through the happiness and the pain.

  • The Old Man & the Gun

    The Old Man & the Gun

    ★★★½

    Honestly surprised how well this was put together after failing to see much worthy of praise in Lowrey's previous "genre" transformations, he indulges in, by my own estimation, quite solid workman-like constructions here. At times I was reminded of what Soderbergh did in Oceans Eleven though this is obviously more indebted to 60s and 70s capers without as much... fun, per se. But perhaps it's all down to his leading man who can imbue just about any character with enough charm and charisma to carry a film through some minor hiccups along the way.

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  • Knight of Cups

    Knight of Cups

    ★★★★★

    "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me..."

    Malick's most profound film to date? Continuing down the rabbit hole that he began upon his return to cinema with The Thin Red Line and then reaching its peak of accessibility (though I use the term lightly) with The Tree of Life before breaking narrative down even further with To The Wonder, Knight of Cups is a film…

  • Winter Sleep

    Winter Sleep

    ★★★★

    A cold and tense storm of a film that builds and builds up to a point past release. It's a world populated by characters who are cruel, broken, and disappointed but put up walls to hide those aspects from those closest to them only for them to slowly be torn down as the film moves forward. I used to think of Ceylan as the new Tarkovsky, but this is very much in the spirit of Bergman. A wonderful film that stands as one of the best of this year.