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  • A Brighter Summer Day

    A Brighter Summer Day

    ★★★★★

    This review contains various thematic spoilers but only vague allusions to plot spoilers. Read at your discretion.

    A Brighter Summer Day is a truth epic, a four hour journey into the abyss of teenage disillusionment. It's about the reality of growing up and the consequences of an aimless life. It's a quiet movie, of people kissing in the dark, with conversations happening between people offscreen, of themes muted in favour of shapeless ideas. It's paced like life itself, with threads…

  • Werckmeister Harmonies

    Werckmeister Harmonies

    ★★★★★

    Werckmeister Harmonies is a film of constant symbolism and allegory. It is the greatest philosophical and political allegory since Sátántangó, another film by master auteur Béla Tarr. Werckmeister Harmonies is Tarr's most exciting film (although Sátántangó remains his best) because it's the most brimming with ideas. Adapting the novel The Melancholy of Resistance by László Krasznahorkai, Werckmeister Harmonies more than matches the quality of the masterful original text. The film is more implicit in some ways, taking the dense metaphorical nature of the novel but…

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  • Inside Out

    Inside Out

    ★★★★½

    Pixar are gods amongst the Hollywood studio hellscape. They make films that allow children, and indeed adults, to better understand themselves and their emotions. Their films help us deal with change. Nobody else in the Western mainstream is making films as dazzlingly conceptual and original as Inside Out. For a children's film it is also deeply existential, asking what we are and why we are like this. Emotions are complicated and anything that helps us express them is a force…

  • Sansho the Bailiff

    Sansho the Bailiff

    ★★★★★

    All you have is your mercy. Sansho the Bailiff is a humanist film of humble scope. It is Mizoguchi operating beyond modernity. It is less a socio-political drama and more a grand historical tale that transcends a critique of any particular moment in time. Sansho the Bailiff is begging only for kindness. Equality is radical, and treating people with love despite their class is something as controversial now as it was in the last century or indeed in any century.…

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  • Weathering with You

    Weathering with You

    ★★

    SPOILERS ahead, but I would recommend reading this review regardless.

    This was my own personal hell. I was actually very excited to see Weathering with You. Makoto Shinkai is a mixed director at best but his work was certainly improving over the years. Two of the friends I most trust for anime recommendations told me this was great. I even almost went to the English premiere. Boy am I glad I didn't. I hated this film. I was fine for…

  • The Lighthouse

    The Lighthouse

    ★★★★½

    You cannot follow or understand The Lighthouse, you watch for the experience. It starts silent, with an old style Universal logo, and then enters a free-fall into madness.

    The horror in The Lighthouse comes from how little we know. There's a series of small hauntings that grow, but never once are we afforded an explanation. The real and unreal are shot indistinguishably, forming a truly perplexing nightmare. 

    With skies of foggy grey, The Lighthouse is squalid, shit-stained, and rain-soaked. It's…