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  • Gabriel Over the White House

    Gabriel Over the White House

    ★★★

    A cry to fight the Depression through the kindly beneficence of anti-Marxist left-wing authoritarianism. The sheer madness of the fact that this movie exists overrides virtually any other consideration about it, though I will make two wholly aesthetic claims: 1) Gregory La Cava is a wonderful director and creates striking depictions of places and attitudes, no matter what he's working with; 2) this does not mean that this film isn't bizarrely misshapen and tediously gabby. Walter Huston is excellent as the steel-willed politician who turns America into a paradisaical dictatorship.

  • The Breadwinner

    The Breadwinner

    ★★★★

    Cartoon Saloon goes three-for-three, though in damn near all the ways I care about most, this is a step in a direction I'm not hugely enthusiastic about (the animation embraces the overly flat, overly fluid style that's entrenched itself on television, and looks awkwardly cheap, even when it's not - this isn't). That being said, the politically-engaged narrative is gripping until it starts to spin out of control, the performances and characters are deeply sympathetic without being too sentimental, and it's still a beautiful movie, even if it's less beautiful than The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea. An exceptionally sophisticated, smart children's movie.

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  • mother!

    mother!

    ★½

    Allegory in search of a subject to allegorize. The best I can come up with is that it's the story of how unpleasant it must be to be Mrs. God; at any rate, the Christ symbolism seems to me pervasive and potent enough to trump all other considerations. Looks ugly in color, composition, lighting; the only thing it really can do is to imbue a mood of random confusion, and I guess it's "good" at that, but so would an…

  • Kuroneko

    Kuroneko

    ★★★★

    Outrageously beautiful black and white cinematography, creating pools of shimmering black where brightly-lit objects seem to float in a shapeless void. I admire the story's abrupt but inevitable-feeling shift from violent, random horror to personal tragedy, though it's all a bit slight - this one is more about the pleasure of atmosphere than being a solid campfire story.