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  • There Is No Evil

    There Is No Evil

    ★★½

    So I say unto thee, There Is No Evil - for it is the Machine that is evil, and its various parts and cogs are coerced, or unwilling, or bowed down, or tormented. If this weren't an Iranian festival film one might call it M. Night Shyamalan-ish - and it takes almost exactly half an hour to reveal itself, during which I wondered if the slow awesome build-up of everyday detail might be the set-up for some violent rupture or…

  • A Shape of Things to Come

    A Shape of Things to Come

    ★★★½

    Here's the real Nomadland (Sundog even appears on the toilet, like Frances McDormand!), tinged with the same noble-outcast romanticism but more honest on the icky details of neo-hippy libertarianism - it leads with the extended death throes of a wild pig, shot then cheerfully disembowelled before being turned into pork chops - and also made by someone with a proper eye. Vivid, compelling images appear at intervals - a twister across sandy soil; a black cat perched on a tree…

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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…