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  • The Assignment

    The Assignment

    ★★★½

    I am captivated by the idea that, were this film made in 1978 (when the script was written, per Walter Hill), a pre-Alien Sigourney Weaver could well have become famous not as Ellen Ripley but as Frank Kitchen, a professional assassin who undergoes the titular involuntary sex change at the hands of a vengeful surgeon. Four decades later, Weaver instead kicks ass in the latter role, the imperious, institutionalized Dr. Rachel Kay, serenely recounting the tall tale that led her…

  • The Red Turtle

    The Red Turtle

    ★★★★½

    As with almost anything touched—however lightly—by Studio Ghibli, Michael Dudok de Wit's first feature film is a thing of wonder. If one prefers, it is a simple parable about life and the elements. However, it is also a daunting enigma, a mystery play concerning the spirit world that stands, unseen, beyond the veil of nature. The film can be divided into two parts: the first about a shipwrecked man's survival on a desert island, the second about an encounter that…