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  • 2046

    2046

    ★★★★★

    2046 is still the perfect movie, in case you were wondering. I love it more every time I see it. The structure? Those mirrored Christmas Eve dinners, the way it carefully modulates its intensity by interspersing the Zhang Ziyi segments with less immediate passages? Perfect. The performances! The way Tony Leung conveys a layer of calcified pain, the way Zhang smiles through her heartbreak. Perfect. The colours! They should register as garish, they should be too fucking much but they…

  • Tigers Are Not Afraid

    Tigers Are Not Afraid

    ★★½

    There's something about the way it translates reality into stylised fable that feels fussy and mannered; never more so then when it presents very stage managed scenes of "spontaneous" play. (To say nothing of its picturesque ruins.)

    Also I absolutely loath the ending which pretends that trauma is something you can sooth into submission with a few brave words.

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  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

    Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

    Birdman is so in your face that it makes a motif out of characters speaking directly to the camera. It's a manic, propulsive, eager little thing driven by a relentless drum score, a swooping camera and restless actors who talk as though they could burst into flames at any moment. It's populated by caricatures and filled with the kind of passionate nonsense that regularly fills columns exclaiming that Hollywood has run out of ideas, or that theater is a dying…

  • Wild Reeds

    Wild Reeds

    •This film feels like it was made to keep its makers from forgetting their own youth. At one point a character says something like "There's something worse than war; it's forgetting." As such the film is overflowing with events and characters and themes.

    •Adults are perpetually disappointing; they sympathise and struggle to understand but they're failures as confidants, role models and life lines.

    • Téchiné does well to synchronise motion and emotion. There's a terrific scene in which a character's…