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  • My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea

    My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea

    Fortunately, the film’s animation style is more than enough to keep one engaged. The style here is a nervous, excitable thing, shifting and morphing from scene to scene. In one moment, character movement can wobble and tremble all uneven, held together by the bold black lines used for the characters. In another, it is fluid and sharp (such as when a character demonstrates how they perform a gymnastic routine). And, just for good measure, Shaw will sometimes have his characters…

  • Harold and Maude

    Harold and Maude

    ★★

    This is a uniquely irritating film. The two characters at the heart of it, over and over, register as false. Their freedom isn't earned or authentic, but rather the designs of a screenplay enamored with the outlandishness of its premise. Ashby does what he can, and the staging is usually handsome and precise, but he can't really salvage much here (the macabre images are maybe the most striking thing here). However, when the film suddenly seizes upon the image of Maude's concentration camp tattoo, everything is lost.

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  • The Wind Rises

    The Wind Rises

    ★★★

    "I like vehicles and want to continue drawing them, but I have resolved not to draw them in a fashion that further feeds an infatuation with power. In the same way, I think that being infatuated with the worl'ds biggest battleship guns merely reveals an infantile mentality, and such an infatuation is truly useless in conflicts with more sophisticated nations, who think of war as merely a means to victory, cannons merely as tools to destroy targets.

    I thus have…

  • Spirited Away

    Spirited Away

    ★★★★

    What struck me on this viewing is the idea of consumption. How you're affected by what you choose to consume, or not consume. Or, more the point, what goes into you or doesn't. It begins with her parents, but the same idea is manifested in the stink spirit vignette (a different manifestation of what happens at the beginning of PRINCESS MONONOKE, man's technological advancement wreaking havoc on nature, here expressed as sludge and vomit) and, most savagely, in the No…