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  • The Other Side of Hope

    The Other Side of Hope

    ★★★

    How charming to be back in the old Kaurismaki universe circa Drifting Clouds, where people read newspapers, listen to old-timey Finnish songs, play stud poker rather than Texas hold'em, drive cars with fins and have alarm clocks with actual hands. (It's not just retro detail; the colours are rich, and the staging makes witty use of silent-movie grammar.) Adding Arab refugees with distinctly un-charming, war-torn back stories seems a bold gambit, but in fact it's no surprise that Kaurismaki's deadpan…

  • The Foreigner

    The Foreigner

    ★★★

    A tough, rather gloomy British political thriller somewhat muddled by the addition of Jackie Chan. Jackie's m.o. always involved using whatever props came to hand, so it's fitting to see the older Jackie - rumpled, tottering, self-consciously sad - making bombs out of cigarettes and weedkiller, but his role here is mostly to make a nuisance of himself while Pierce Brosnan gets increasingly exasperated by the "old man running circles around us" (also described as a "fuckin' Chinaman" and "some…

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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…