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  • Mystic River

    Mystic River

    ★½

    Clint Eastwood and his crypto-celebratory roadshow of toxic masculinity.

  • Ghost in the Shell

    Ghost in the Shell

    ★★★★

    Badoink! Normally when a film begins in medias res, it works its way back to the start of the tale. Not so with GitS. I thought it was a combo of my faulty memory and a bad English dub that had rendered it fairly incomprehensible back in the day…but nope. That’s not to say it’s bad (spoiler: it’s ace) but it introduces a universe - and factions, technologies and a political structure within that universe – that are opaque to…

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  • Casablanca

    Casablanca

    ★★★★★

    Simplicity. If you have to sum up in one word why Casablanca is a classic, this has to be the one. For a film with, by all accounts, such a difficult route to the screen (it was shot sequentially because the script wasn’t finished when filming began) it’s amazing that what we got was so tight, so entertaining and so timeless.

    Although the plot sounds reasonably sophisticated on paper (an American ex-revolutionary battles with his conscience, whilst trying to help…

  • Russian Ark

    Russian Ark

    ★★★½

    When our narrator and ‘The European’ stumble into a room containing a man constructing his own coffin – a victim of the siege of Leningrad during World War II – its clarity of intent and desperate chill freezes the heart. Marble as white as death blend with drifts of snow coming through the windows. If the rest of the film deals with an afterlife and continuation, this short scene is very much about the terminus.

    Undeniably beautiful technically, and logistically…