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  • The White Dove

    The White Dove

    It appears František Vláčil saw the 20th century much the same as he saw the Middle Ages. Lasting just over an hour, THE WHITE DOVE is his first attempt at building a new world out of images, packed densely with frames, objects, textures, people and animals. He exaggerates light and shadow, toggles between foreground and background, trying with great energy to distill everyday life's strangeness. Clearly a master-in-the-making, Vláčil signals here an allegiance to the emergent Modernist cinema, a definite…

  • Before Sunrise

    Before Sunrise

    ★★★½

    A film whose missteps are easy to forgive. Chiefly: Linklater comes off too eager in setting up his romantic miracle. Things between the lovers progress in leaps and bounds, fueling concern that this will end up a male fantasy after all. It stretches belief to see Celine get off the train, still farther to see her alone in a listening booth with Jesse. Isn't this where a sleazy stranger would make his move, and his prey would find herself stranded…

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  • Ready Player One

    Ready Player One

    "I hate myself

    I hate myself

    I hate myself

    For loving you"

    The text people are searching for to decode this bizarre film is Hiroki Azuma's critical theory book Otaku: Japan's Database Animals. I first heard of the book through McKenzie Wark, who, following Azuma, posited that Japan had begun grappling with post-modernity several decades earlier than the rest of the world. This I think is true, because what began in Japan can be seen emerging in the United States…

  • The Favourite

    The Favourite

    Just no good at all. Aesthetically inept, politically boneheaded, and a full-bore slog to sit through.

    Lanthimos is working at cross-purposes by applying his lifeless style to costume drama. If the intent was to produce some kind of friction, it doesn't register; if he meant to "revitalize" his chosen genre, the exact opposite is achieved. It's truly amazing how none of his formal choices cohere, or even betray the attempt to. His actresses bob in and out of pointless shots,…