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  • Die Hard: With a Vengeance

    Die Hard: With a Vengeance

    ★★★

    "McTiernan then returned to the Die Hard franchise, despite turning down an offer to direct Die Hard 2. For every other director, this would be an easy opportunity to cash in, for McTiernan, this was an opportunity to experiment wildly! In contrast to the sleek sophistication of the first film, McTiernan gives the third John McLane adventure a chaotic, almost documentary form. While wholly fulfilling the expectations of action fans by providing shootouts, explosions and wonderful stunts, the film is…

  • Good Time

    Good Time

    ★★★

    Action then destruction. Everything goes wrong, over and over. The film's about the fallout of Pattinson's decisions, his attempts to avoid disaster, and how each decision is a manipulation, an exploitation, of everyone around him. Good Time's trajectory is a documentation of the collateral damage of these decisions. But it does not linger, it instead speeds through every development - Connie glances backwards only a few times and in those shots we witness several lives ruined (the young girl, the…

  • Flight

    Flight

    ★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    While catching bits of FORREST GUMP on TV the other day, I settled somewhat on my position - I liked this film, it's got strong guts, a strong structure, a directorial presence which carries its most trite passages and its on-the-nose song choices (GUMP commits far greater crimes!). It takes some time to understand the path of the film, its acceptance of redemption, of Faith; perhaps here there's some disappointment that this is the ultimate path, but I would not…

  • Kobe Doin' Work

    Kobe Doin' Work

    ★★

    While watching this film I kept being reminded of ZIDANE: A 21ST CENTURY PORTRAIT, a rather atmospheric movie that follows Zinedine Zidane across the pitch, Mogwai on the soundtrack noodling and drifting, watching the mercurial player move about, also drifting. Is this the closest equivalent that the American cinema can provide? The difference is one of distance - Zidane remained a figure, distant; in this film everything is done to bring us closer. Spike Lee pops up a little in…

  • Jojo Rabbit

    Jojo Rabbit

    Cinema without risk. A director waiving his hands without purpose, barreling through imagery he is unprepared to deal with and settling for cheap shortcuts (the shots with the shoes). What does this have to say about fascism or life under it, its effects on people? It is empty caricature, settling finally on a coming of age story that's maudlin and without distance - forget about everything and dance! Ultimately, Waititi seeks to do two things: redeem those living under fascism…

  • Parasite

    Parasite

    ★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    The lower depths. Bong's conceptions in his last few films are very upfront, hiding nothing about their intentions. It's not as blunt as Snowpiercer (a film I like but would never argue is subtle), but the ideas are similar. Indeed, both draw much of their power from their spaces - in that film, the train; in this one, the modernist house with its hidden corners, compared to the subterranean living conditions of the other family. Parasite does not use this…

  • A Day in the Country

    A Day in the Country

    ★★★★

    "Women, as amalgams of colour and sound in space/time, as paintings in motion, often impose their “show” onto the world around them, and onto their story world even more, a “show” of themselves. By their magic powers, they transform wherever they are into a set to enhance their performance, complete with men transformed into audience and supporting cast (simultaneously) or, sometimes, partners. Chaplin’s tramp had such power of transforming presence, but no mere male has it in Renoir, not even…

  • Cold Pursuit

    Cold Pursuit

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    At first, there's an interesting push into the absurd, tearing at the fabric of the revenge thriller through exaggeration, parody. And through this it does genuinely get to very weird and beautiful things - like the scene with the Native Americans in the snow, and the guy who goes paragliding. It is irreverent and clever, sure, but also irredeemably empty. And the final joke made me retroactively hate the film, whereas previously I had simply been mildly negative on it…

  • Eve's Bayou

    Eve's Bayou

    ★★★

    The highest compliment I can give this film is that I was reminded of Renoir's The River throughout. It belongs to the same universe. The child's point of view, deeply felt and dramatized, is unable to reconcile with the very real, very adult tensions and emotions that are at play. Eve acts on what she thinks she knows, what she feels to be true, but everyone else is deeply confused, deeply unsure, and is unable to deal with this uncertainty.…

  • I Lost My Body

    I Lost My Body

    ★★

    Somewhat amusing - the image of the hand creeping around is a source of dark humor, as are the various challenges that it must traverse (fights against rats!). The other half of the movie is barely there, a series of unimaginative cliches and situations. It does not hold much interest.

  • Whisper of the Heart

    Whisper of the Heart

    ★★★★

    Many of the things I treasure about the 90's Ghibli - Only Yesterday, Ocean Waves and this - a deep commitment to capturing in great detail the city streets, the technology (I remember gasping after seeing a photorealistic shot of a fax machine or something in Only Yesterday), the inside of houses, the hillsides. I had forgotten how cramped the apartment of the family was, and how lovingly detailed it is!

    Outside of this fascination, this remains a simply perfect…

  • A Hidden Life

    A Hidden Life

    ★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    Malick is one of the great directors of this decade. His style has been parodied, but nobody quite does what he does - his imitators are reduced to cliches, with hands grazing over wheat fields, and detractors joke about twirling. Along with Godard (and what I saw of Lynch's Twin Peaks), he remains one of the few directors whose images have the capacity to shock. And I say this, not just because of their beauty, but because of their suddenness.…