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  • I Do Not Know What It Is I Am Like

    I Do Not Know What It Is I Am Like

    ★★★★★

    The first segment is of animals, slowly coming to life. Before them, even the wet cave seems to be made of flesh and the landscape shots seem to breathe. When the camera finally finds itself in the owl's eye, the second segment begins, in a home. Looking is playful and suddenly the man (Viola?) is reflected in every surface -- the kitchen sink tap, the fishbowl, the water droplets. More terrifying than the sensation that the animals in the first…

  • As Good as It Gets

    As Good as It Gets

    ★★★★

    As I move backwards through Brooks' filmography, each movie is a bit more safe and less eccentric. They're still about nothing, really, except being around people that make you want to be a better person. Which is what most 21st C drama is about, in part. But Brooks' dramas are weird because they're only about this growth, rather than treating this growth as a figure within a 'bigger' subject. Being about nothing, they don't seem to have any dramatic climax;…

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  • Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

    Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

    ★★

    A reactionary fantasy of American iconography: fast cars, advertisements, cheap food, violent men and skinny dancing women, even before it gets to its revisionist climax. A star-vehicle for Pitt and DiCaprio (Robbie's hardly in this) to play characters experiencing a loss in popularity, and thus reason for being, they have never gone through; a false mourning if there ever was one. Formless enough, in its editing and jukebox style, to mitigate any introspection in terms of this loss and not be particularly interesting in its conservatism. Let's not settle for this only because it's the first big non-Disney film in a while.

  • The Irishman

    The Irishman

    ★★★★★

    Still a bit lost in this, which is what happens with long movies. It's slippery because it's not 'slow cinema' and so doesn't leave many images to hold onto, because it jumps around in time and is doing historical work as much as formal, moral, and conceptual work. War, unions, gangs, and politics all use the same rhetoric of brotherhood and solidarity, so of course the only way to solve things is to fight, to be the bigger man, in…