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  • Liz and the Blue Bird

    Liz and the Blue Bird

    ★★★★

    Liz and the Blue Bird is quite brilliant in its in-between moments. The first sequence is largely without dialogue, as we observe one of the characters, Mizore, simply waiting for her friend Nozomi at the school gates. There’s a large emphasis on emotion and body language, which aren’t typically given such intricate yet subtle attention in anime.

    The plot could be easily retold in typical anime episode length, but the feature runtime here affords it a meditative quality, allowing emotions…

  • The Dig

    The Dig

    ★★★

    A lovely film with some quietly passionate commentary on history and being, but for a picture that makes sure to tell you it's 'based on a true story' in the first eighteen seconds, and one which finishes with an endnote on legacy and credit, it can't help but feel insincere given the meddling of facts to steer romantic sub-plots which, let's face it, are hardly innovating of a period drama.

    In this way, it leaves me feeling a little sour.…

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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 yet another…

  • Shoplifters

    Shoplifters

    ★★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    "Nobuyo came from the actress, Sakura Ando. She is an actress who is quite faithful to the script normally, but while we were filming, she came to me and said, 'The father wants to be called "dad" by the boy, but what about my character? Would Nobuyo want to be called "mother"?' I said, 'Probably she does, but not so much.'

    That prompted me to think about the character's thoughts—about wanting to be called 'mother' or not—so I added the…