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  • Meek's Cutoff

    Meek's Cutoff

    ★★★★★

    Every shot astounding. A succession of still life portraits emphasising objects & their values: social, historical. Expressing movement: figures in motion, toiling restless against a landscape that becomes a reflection of their lack of place. The geographical becomes psychological; the tone set by languorous tracking shots & heightened soundtrack creating rhythms from actuality. A story of America lost but not found.

  • When Marnie Was There

    When Marnie Was There

    ★★★★★

    A defining film on childhood loneliness, self-hatred & depression, wrapped up in what is essentially a Gothic mystery in the traditions of du Maurier & Henry James. Yonebayashi isn't afraid to tackle difficult themes, such as child abuse or the realities of death & loss, but his film is never gratuitous nor gruelling. Instead, it remains engaging, enlivened by strong characters& a world that bristles with atmosphere.

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  • Midsommar

    Midsommar

    ★★

    For all its aesthetic perfection, Midsommar never rises above the level of a dumb slasher film. At its centre, it mines cheap laughs & discomfort from sneering at cultures & customs it perceives as different & using that as a basis for schlock horror. There's an obligatory throughline about grief & transcendence, but this is made silly by the attempts to shock. It's a visually beautiful film that is ugly in all other aspects.

  • The Red Spectacles

    The Red Spectacles

    ★★★★★

    Oshii managing to corral the influences of '60s Godard style post-modernism and '80s Godard style poetic ennui alongside elements of Seijun Suzuki and Jerry Lewis. For those that find his later films humourless, The Red Spectacles is bursting with laughs, both deadpan and slapstick, while also working as a fairly successful stylistic experiment/deconstruction analogous to what von Trier was attempting with his own films, Europa and Epidemic.