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  • Withnail & I

    Withnail & I

    ★★★★★

    Ah, Withnail. Like most of my peers, I watched this too many times to count between the ages of 18 and 21, but without ever really appreciating the currents of desperation and despair that flow through the film, or just how poignant their consummation is. It was always on in the background when you went round to someone's place, and what emerged through the fug of inebriation were the endless quotable lines, Richard E. Grant's manic shrieking, Uncle Monty's bombast,…

  • L.A. Story

    L.A. Story

    ★★★★★

    I love everything about this criminally underrated fantasy. I love Richard E. Grant's oleaginous English smarm. I love Rick Moranis's cockney gravedigger. I love the set pieces — the choreographed fountains, the freeway duel, the "I'll be your robber" scene. I love Patrick Stewart and L'Idiot. I love — and I seem to be the only one — everything about Victoria Tennant's performance, full of quirk and bafflement and "deep sustained booming sounds". I love Andrew Dunn's cinematography, its gauzy,…

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  • Prêt-à-Porter

    Prêt-à-Porter

    ★★★½

    I'm surprised how much opprobrium this attracts, given that you only have to be into at least one of fashion and Altman to get something out of it. Surely the vast majority of folks like either fashion or Altman? And for the minority who remain unmoved, there's Richard E. Grant with a beauty spot, goddamnit!

    Prêt-à-Porter (or Ready to Wear as many a Francophobic LB'er insists on calling it) is all confection, all froth, pure soufflé — crusty uncle Bob…

  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture

    Star Trek: The Motion Picture

    ★★★★

    Symphonic, Azimovian space opera 2001 times richer and more mind-meltingly, synaesthetically hypnotic than many an alternate extragalactic fairytale. An ouverture for the ages lifts the curtain on a cosmic Wunderkammer; Spock rejects "the symbol of total logic" as he senses the approach of a being passing human (or Vulcan) understanding. The refitted Enterprise in dry dock, gantried in a glittering latticework of light; the return of a patrician Kirk, Shatner in his late forties with the mien of Caesar. But…

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  • Inherent Vice

    Inherent Vice

    ★★★★★

    Why should things be easy to understand?

    — T. Pynchon

    I doubt we'll see another of Thomas Pynchon's stupendous stories adapted for the screen; and in a way, I hope we don't: Paul Thomas Anderson's Inherent Vice is the kind of miraculous manifestation that happens once, like a wave that crests and hangs, suspending time, before collapsing under the weight of its own perfection. You could say the same of the counterculture, in whose backwash muttonchopped PI Doc Sportello finds…

  • What Have You Done to Solange?

    What Have You Done to Solange?

    ★★★½

    Solange and thanks for all the flesh.