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  • I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House

    I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House

    ★★★★

    Strange to have watched this so soon after Annabelle: Creation, which uses many of the same conventions (incl. old-timey 30s music to denote creepiness) to much cruder ends. Perkins has more on his mind, laying his cards on the table from the first 10 minutes - incl. the most important card, the eventual fate of our heroine - and keeping the post-modern tweaks going by having her comment on the ghost-story structure ("It can't be too much longer now...") in…

  • Heal the Living

    Heal the Living

    ★★★½

    The opening litany of 21 (!) production companies, film funds and tax shelters suggests how tricky it must've been to get this financed. "You have only a sliver of plot," the money people must've pointed out; "Your narrative wanders. There's no character arc. Not to mention that the story is depressing, a young person is killed, and your climax involves heart surgery shown in graphic detail." "It'll be okay!" Quillevere must've pleaded. "I'm going to get a gentle piano score…

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  • Margaret

    Margaret

    ★★★★★

    Held me spellbound for three hours, if nothing else (extended cut, fwiw). 25th HOUR-ish - New York movie, moral drama about Doing the Right Thing, symphonic score over jagged rhythms - also Desplechin-ish for the sweep and scale, but more ambitious than either: an epic of human disconnection, based around the fact that language is such an imperfect way of trying to connect - emotion is easier, but we lose it as we grow older ("It is Margaret you mourn…

  • Aloha

    Aloha

    ★★★★

    File with James L. Brooks' How Do You Know as a late-period rom-com that may seem inept because it dispenses with the usual pretence of realism (the magical setting helps, like it did, in a different way, in Almost Famous; maybe Crowe's peculiar sensibility needs the licence of an anything-goes milieu to really take flight). Myths and omens appear prominently. There's an emphasis on the touchy-feely - Danny McBride as Colonel "Fingers"; Bill Murray giving an impromptu massage - over…