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Film

Is this lines, or is this real?: On Licorice Pizza

Ever since relinquishing his desire to make self-assertively bravura, high-momentum Masterpiece Cinema, Paul Thomas Anderson has settled into a unique groove within film culture: that of the maturing wonderkid, still drawn to the formal flourishes that made his name, but employing these now to concrete cinematic designs. Those designs are what marks Anderson’s run from […]

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Literary Matters

2021 Readings

(R) = reread, * = favourite.  Colson Whitehead: The Underground Railroad.  Qiu Miaojin: Notes of a Crocodile. [Translated by Bonnie Huie.] Robert Sinnerbrink: New Philosophies of Film: Thinking Images. Gilles Deleuze: Cinema I: The Movement-Image. [Translated by Hugh Tomlinson and Barbara Habberjam.] —Cinema II: The Time-Image. [Translated by Hugh Tomlinson and Robert Galeta.] Danez Smith: […]

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Film

2021 Favourites

I Was at Home, But… (Angela Schanelec) First Cow (Kelly Reichardt) “America” (Garrett Bradley) Mayor (David Osit) The Power of the Dog (Jane Campion) Beginning (Déa Kulumbegashvili) It Must Be Heaven (Elia Suleiman) Cenote (Oda Kaori) The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão (Karim Aïnouz) Undine (Christian Petzold) This is not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection […]

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Film

Review: Boiling Point

What makes Stephen Graham a great actor is his ability to float between moods, shifting from apoplectic to apologetic in a matter of seconds, tipping from warm generosity to imperilled anguish at the earliest inconvenience. In Philip Barantini’s Boiling Point, which is expanded from a short of the same name, the mercurial swings in Graham’s […]

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Film

Review: Memory Box

Even while moving into the territory of fiction, documentarians Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige keep themselves rooted in the past. The pair’s new film, Memory Box, is built out from Hadjithomas’s record of living in Lebanon in the 1980s, during the protracted civil war. In present-day Montreal, Alex (Paloma Vauthier) takes a keen interest in […]

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Film

Review: Pig

On more than one occasion in Michael Sarnoski’s Pig, Robin (Nicolas Cage), a stout, unkempt man in search of a beloved sow, is framed by a doorway, the camera peeking at him from within a house. The composition knowingly evokes the final shot of The Searchers (1956), where John Wayne’s Ethan Edwards is excluded from […]

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Film

Review: The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet

The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet is structured like a reminiscence. Ana Katz’s film moves in a conversational rhythm, leaping perhaps years at a time in a straight cut, presenting in miniature some formative years of Sebas (Daniel Katz, the director’s brother), moving from one vignette or episode to the next as he slides from […]

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Film

Review: Identifying Features

The problems and pleasures of watching films by stylists-in-formation are entwined. Individual compositions, schemes of staging, and sequences within those films can attain visual and aural expressiveness denied even to seasoned practitioners; but there can be a kind of callousness involved in wielding an aesthetic prowess without an accompanying emotional surety. The thoughtless formal intensity […]

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Film

Review: Boy Meets Boy

While on his last night on holiday in Berlin, Harry (Matthew James Morrison), a Black British junior doctor, meets the eyeline of Johannes (Alexis Koutsoulis), a white German dancer. Emerging sweaty from the club in the morning, they stroll the city together, passing the time before Harry has to scuttle to the airport and return […]

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Film

Review: Apples

I’ll get the Yorgos Lanthimos connection out of the way immediately: director Christos Nikou was second assistant director on Dogtooth; actor Aris Servetalis appears in both Lanthimos’s Kinetta and Alps; and the idea of hospitals full of “unclaimed amnesiacs” more than slightly resembles the characters in the singles’ hotel in The Lobster. But Apples is […]