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  • Solaris

    Solaris

    ★★★★★

    Andrei Tarkovsky combines the mysteries of deep space with an acute look at grief, loneliness and what it means to be human in this stunning sci-fi drama. While the film moves slowly, it is never dull as Tarkovsky makes his film about tension and uncertainty as opposed to thrills and chills. The film is also very much about the way that we react to the unknown, with a curious parallel to draw between the boy scared of the horse in…

  • Videodrome

    Videodrome

    ★★★★★

    There is nothing real outside our perception of reality, is there? Eleven viewings later and still as fresh as ever, Videodrome is quite possibly the best film ever made about the relationship between viewers and what they view. The film's most iconic image is James Woods sticking his head inside a television set during a hallucination - an image that very much embodies what it feels like to be totally immersed in a film or a television program: the tendency…

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  • Demons

    Demons

    ★★★

    Swindled by the woman he thought he loved, a samurai plans a vicious revenge in this downbeat drama from Japan. The film gets off to an excellent start with an eerie nightmare in pure blackness at night. The bulk of the first hour though is dialogue-heavy melodrama with little in the way of mood or atmosphere. Things do pick up after the one-hour mark with some grisly violence and replayed scenes as the protagonist imagines reactions to poisoned sake being…

  • Time

    Time

    ★★★

    Sentenced to an excessive (sixty year) jail term for armed robbery, the wife of a convicted criminal rallies for early release in this unusual documentary from Garrett Bradley. The film comes without talking heads, third person narration or any of the conventional documentary tropes; instead, it largely consists of black and white home video footage, smoothly spliced together with footage shot for the project, and set to melodic percussion music. Refreshingly different as this approach may be, the content is…

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  • Variola Vera

    Variola Vera

    ★★★½

    Titled after the Latin name for smallpox and inspired by actual events, this Yugoslav movie follows an outbreak of the disease at a Belgrade hospital with panic ensuing. The film is cut from the same cloth as Contagion, and while never as engrossing as that with less enticing characters, the film has enough effective small touches that the overall movie works. A flute has particularly eerie significance in a couple of key scenes, while the initial stages of the disease…

  • Love & Basketball

    Love & Basketball

    ★★★

    Divided into four quarters just like a basketball game, this indie drama tracks four stages in the on/off romance between two childhood next door neighbours who share a passion for shooting hoops. It is a decent idea and the performances are solid throughout, however, the opening quarter - focused on the pair interacting as kids - is easily the best as they learn to overcome their preconceptions of each other as well as what love means. The first quarter is…