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  • Porco Rosso

    Porco Rosso

    ★★★

    The dogfights are dazzling and the alternate-history Adriatic makes for splendid scenery, but behind all that elaborately quirky, pulpy world-building, it's quite empty and aimless.

    This is a film I've wanted to see for a very long time, but turns out to be my least favourite Ghibli so far. It certainly suffers from coming after something as soulful as Kiki.

  • Kiki's Delivery Service

    Kiki's Delivery Service

    ★★★★½

    The setting (as so often with Miyazaki) is a huge part of the appeal - the vaguely European coastal city where Kiki and Jiji have to find their feet is a gorgeous, meticulous creation, and I wanted to step into each and every frame to have a wander.
    The characters feel like the city's living, breathing inhabitants. We don't spend much time with Ursula, the cabin-dwelling painter, or Osono, the kindly baker, but we do grow enormously fond of them.…

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  • Elvis: The Rebirth of the King

    Elvis: The Rebirth of the King

    ★★★½

    Brief but focused documentary on how Elvis dug himself out of his mid-1960s rut. The '68 Comeback Special, the seminal recordings with Chips Moman at American Studios, and the live peak of his early Vegas shows (far more ambitious and thrilling performances than they are generally given credit for) are all covered.

    I didn't need to be convinced of this film's argument (From Elvis In Memphis is one of my favourite albums and I'll regularly rewatch That's The Way It…

  • The Death of Stalin

    The Death of Stalin

    ★★★★

    Neatly mines the situation for all the Veep-like farce available, without swerving the sobering reality, which would have been a mistake. What these men have done to survive is atrocious, but that very context makes their machinations grimly funny.

    Simon Russell Beale makes a rare but welcome screen appearance (oddly he doesn't feature in the poster art), dominating the film as the vile NKVD head Lavrentiy Beria, but for my favourite performance I'd be hard pressed to choose between Michael…