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  • Ash Is Purest White

    Ash Is Purest White

    ★★★★★

    NZIFF 2018: Film #10

    While I'm not sure if, from one viewing during a weekend stacked with films, I was in the best frame of mind to appreciate everything Jia had to say with Ash is Purest White, it certainly helps to view it in the context of the work that preceded it, and in doing so I feel fairly comfortable stating that I find this to be his finest film. Continuing his career-long obsession with the changing face of…

  • First Reformed

    First Reformed

    ★★★★★

    NZIFF 2018: Film #8

    Reverend Toller can no longer pray. The long shadow of alienation and depression has descended upon him and he feels coldly disconnected from most of those around him. Make no mistake, Toller is not rejecting, or even really questioning, his faith in God. But his faith in humanity is being tried, slowly and wearily. As he states in his many diary entries, which are often infused with a mixture of self-pity and self-loathing, he can no…

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  • The Conformist

    The Conformist

    ★★★★½

    RIP Bernardo Bertolucci.

    Surely one of the finest films ever made about fascism, and an intense and unwavering study of the emptiness of ideologies in general and their insufficiency at prescribing a way of living and believing when the human personality is infinitely more complex than could ever be ideologically categorized. Clerici is alternately fascinating, tragic, and pitiful, and that final shot has haunted me for years. Also, this has got to be among the fifty most well-directed films of all time. Every shot here is a masterclass that could be studied for hours. Absolutely magnetic cinema.

  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

    The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

    ★★★½

    It's the little things that make this new anthology from the Coens especially meaningful. Rather than making singular, grand, and sweeping statements about the rise and decline of the American West, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs details small tragedies, and from them observes small truisms about the reality of the Western experience from the point of view of a number of archetypal characters: the lone gunslinger riding into town, the solemn and hapless outlaw, the tireless and desperate prospector. These,…

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  • The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence)

    The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence)

    ½

    Having just sat through what is almost certainly one of the most disgusting films ever made, and arguing with one person defending it, I have mulled over The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence) for much longer than it deserves. My conclusion is very simple: it is a gigantic and messy gore wank.

    About as delightful as having a chunk of dry shit stuck to the hairs on the crack of your ass, this film is an inexorable 91-minute slog through…

  • Pink Floyd: The Wall

    Pink Floyd: The Wall

    ★★★★★

    So ya
    Thought ya
    Might like to read a review.
    To feel the warm thrill of confusion,
    That Adam Cook glow.
    Tell me is something eluding you, sunshine?
    Is this not what you expected to read?
    If you want to feel emotions this film will arise,
    You'll just have to claw your way through Geldof's eyes.