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  • The Killing of a Sacred Deer

    The Killing of a Sacred Deer

    ★★½

    A smug, purposefully mannered black comedy – based on a Greek tragedy, perversely marketed as a straightforward thriller – with everyone speaking and acting as if they’re in a B movie. Unremittingly cruel, and offputtingly self-satisfied, but good in spots, with a few very funny lines and a cinematic feel to the visuals. Barry Keoghan makes for a first-rate absolute psychopath.

  • The Squid and the Whale

    The Squid and the Whale

    ★★★★

    Not quite the fillet of the droll post-Allen NY comedy genre.

    Baumbach’s breakthrough is a little too misanthropic, its passages of pathos rubbing up uncomfortably with the material adroitly spearing aggressive intellectualism, though it is extremely funny. Especially Owen Kline.

    Daniels is decent, providing satiric lols and the sad-eyed deadpan indie delivery, but it’s Linney who gives the film a genuine humanity.

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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…