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  • Diabolique

    Diabolique

    ★★★★

    Not as rewatchable as I'd always assumed, indeed I'm not totally sure if this is still 4-star territory for me. Knowing the twists isn't the problem per se, it's just that knowing the twists makes it clear how much distance Clouzot imposes, both to preserve the denouement and to create an air of mystery; Vera Clouzot in particular has been directed to be clenched and tightly repressed in the second half - she also gets very few close-ups - deliberately…

  • Life

    Life

    ★★

    Some intense monster-movie action, the alien looking like a translucent starfish, but here's the thing: Rebecca Ferguson's character is called Miranda North and her name-tag says M.NORTH/M. CEBEP (we're on the International Space Station, so name-tags are in both English and Russian), but in fact that's totally dumb because, even though 'Ceber' is the Russian word for 'North' (hence 'Siberia'), no-one would translate the name North like that, you'd just write 'NORTH' in Cyrillic letters - and of course the…

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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…