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  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

    The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

    ★★★½

    Assorted Western tall tales from the Coens, from the eponymous one about a cocksure gunslinger − which spoofs singing cowboys, Destry Rides Again and The Gunfighter − to a very talky metaphysical stagecoach ride.

    Some are cartoonish, some absurdist, some poignant, and others all three, and they vary massively in quality, though all have surprises up their sleeves. The best is 'The Gal Who Got Rattled', in which Zoe Kazan, her brother and her brother's dog, President Pierce, join a…

  • What We Do in the Shadows

    What We Do in the Shadows

    ★★★★

    Disarmingly funny and original. This mockumentary about vampires (abd werewolves) is full of well-sketched characters, and opens up its story in intelligent ways, but beyond all that it just made me laugh a lot.

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  • Ghost World

    Ghost World

    ★★★★★

    You can take your Juno, your Scott Pilgrim, even your Heathers, and chuck them in a skip, because Ghost World just does it all so much better. Well, all of it that's worth doing. I'm beginning to think this melancholy, bitingly hilarious crystallisation of teen ennui might be the only film I'll ever really need.

  • Sideways

    Sideways

    ★★★★★

    Wine is probably the most boring subject on Earth, so how come Payne’s film about a lonely, bitter best man (Paul Giamatti) taking the soon-to-be-groom (Thomas Haden Church) on a week-long tour of vineyards is so bloody good? Perhaps because of Giamatti’s astonishing characterisation, which imbues an arrogant, self-destructive, self-hating pseud with a completely disarming humanity. Or perhaps because it’s not really about wine at all, but love and friendship and the choices that people make that end up deciding…