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  • The Truth

    The Truth

    ★★★★

    A showcase for the great Catherine Deneuve, who is the sun around whom every other character orbits. This is her most indelible role since A Christmas Tale and she moves from imperious to playful with ease and her scenes with Juliette Binoche crackle with tension but gradually reveal an underlying respect between mother and daughter. This may not always seem like a Kore-eda film but there are enough touches (the changing seasons in the garden, cooking a pasta dish, a…

  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    ★★★★★

    Last year, the film that stood out most for me at NZIFF was Lee Chang-dong's Burning and it contained a standout scene right in the middle which acted as a flashpoint to what follows after. In a similar vein there's a scene in this film's middle, also set to music which literally and metaphorically sets things on fire. This is an elegant period piece but don't mistake elegance for stuffiness - it feels both of its time and very contemporary…

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  • Mr. Bean's Holiday

    Mr. Bean's Holiday

    ★½

    Apparently Rowan Atkinson was inspired by M. Hulot's Holiday, but where that film has elegance of form and the comic timing of Jacques Tati, this is a series of gags which are over-repetitive and filled with too much gurning. One or two of the set pieces hit the spot but this doesn't sustain a 90 minute film. Even with Willem Dafoe in it.

  • Apollo 13

    Apollo 13

    ★★★½

    He said the line, he said the line!

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  • Border

    Border

    ★★★½

    That sex scene will haunt me for years. I've got nothing else sorry.

  • Birds of Passage

    Birds of Passage

    ★★★★½

    How do you follow up the magnificent monochrome of Embrace of the Serpent? With this, an epic which tracks the rise and fall of a small time drug trafficker and the family into which he marries. The traditions of the Wayuu people contrast with the encroaching rise of the modern drug trade. Ostensibly the centre is Raphayet, as the man initially on the make but he is soon confronted with his new family's matriarch, Ursula played as a cross between…