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  • Madeline's Madeline

    Madeline's Madeline

    ★★★★

    Even better on second viewing, because you don't have to worry about whether the character dynamics are a bit too obvious (they are, a bit; they're probably the film's weakest aspect) and can wallow in the quicksilver rhythm, which is remarkable. It's not just about the self as a prison (and creativity as a tool for escaping it) but also the self as a work in progress, the process of naming the world - the film pauses, now and then,…

  • An Elephant Sitting Still

    An Elephant Sitting Still

    ★★★★

    Reminds me of James Agee's comment on They Were Expendable: "For what seems at least half its dogged, devoted length, all you have to watch is men getting on or off PT boats and other men watching them do so. But this is made so beautiful and so real that I could not feel one foot of the film was wasted". A large chunk of this (immensely long) film is taken up with following people through dark interiors and down…

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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…