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  • Night on the Galactic Railroad

    Night on the Galactic Railroad

    ★★★★

    Kenji Miyazawa's novella Night on the Galactic Railroad is one of my favourites, and this is such a respectful and extraordinary adaptation. I approached it with a little trepidation, but it truly brings Miyazawa's prose to life, and contains all the poignancy and wonder of the book.

    The source material is enriched by the haunting soundtrack, and despite the limited animation, there are some striking visuals. The main sequence with the Bird Catcher is a fine example of this. The…

  • Birds Without Names

    Birds Without Names

    ★★★½

    There are moments of genius in this film, and ultimately it's held together by some very striking and persuasive performances. Yu Aoi plays perhaps one of her most detestable and insolent characters, but surface appearances gradually peel away to reveal a largely complex personality, whose discourtesy becomes poignant and empathetic through a series of tactful reveals.

    Sadly, it's let down nearer the end, where the writing plays into some of the more ungainly tropes. The final sequences delver on a…

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  • Air Doll

    Air Doll

    ★★★★

    - "Do you wish you had never found a heart?"
    - "I don't know, but... It hurts."

    This film has some truly bewitching exchanges. Some of the dialogue, and much of Bae Doona's monologue, is so terrifically concocted and expressed. Couple this with the composition — the delicate camera work and Koreeda's knack for timing, knowing precisely when to linger — and it creates a profoundly poignant and strangely mesmeric account on loneliness and companionship.

    Even then, the score adds…

  • Death Note

    Death Note

    This is a terrible adaptation, pure and simple. It’s an utter bastardisation of the Death Note manga and its anime adaptation, and barely resembles what it is apparently based on. It’s as though the original work were a third or fourth reference, rather than the immediate source.

    The major issues are in the plot and characterisation. The original version of Death Note is a psychological thriller and part police procedural, in which law enforcement attempt to track down a seemingly…