Where’d You Go, Bernadette

The kind of story that waits for you at a crossroads, innocently, like the devil, ready when you are. Full of pastel, cashmere, handwoven, well-spoken, First World problems. But Bernadette has a broken heart. And this turns out to be a moving actor's portrait of an artist's real anguish hidden and gift-wrapped within a Gap ad that is the film's scenery and style. ★★★✩✩ [read more]

Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn.

Roy Cohn, a man who at the very beginning of his legal career was Senator Joseph McCarthy's chief counsel, and instrumental in the brutal sentencing of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg to the electric chair. An outrageously psychopathic political fixer now growing in posthumous infamy with each new month of Trump presidency, as he was Donald J.'s longtime lawyer and mentor, hence everything the 45th president of the Unites States learned about power came from Machiavelli himself (with apologies to the actual Niccolò). ★★★✩✩ [read more]

Mystery Of Love: On Body And Soul (revisited)

The evolutionary 2020 broke us down into essentials: the flesh we are made of, the dreams we inhabit, the lives we lead within our beating hearts. The immovable end game that is our mortality. This film was made for this year. In the way scriptures were made for a particular time in history, and for all times, at the same time. It is a holy text of cinema. And if you have never crossed paths with it, this is your moment at the crossroads. [read more]

Land Of Ashes

Sofía Quirós Ubeda's feature debut is the kind of hyper-real magical tale that seems to exist in a parallel dimension to ours, fully ripe and present in its vivid majesty, but never tipping into saturation. A story of the cycle of life, of growing up motherless into womanhood, both your living and your dead intertwined as dancing branches of a serpent tree. Learning how to kohl your eyes seamlessly in the face of all this love and decay. [read more] ★★★★✩

Bad Education

Such a ruin can a love of luxury be. It turns otherwise endearing people astray. Makes pending sociopaths of ambitious folk with a bone to pick and a taste for the delicious. In other words, the path to self-betterment can lead to the largest public school embezzlement in American history. This is a true story. [read more] ★★★★✩

Planet Of The Humans

Controversial doc, veering towards eco fatalism, executive-produced by Micheal Moore, sees environmentalist Jeff Gibbs ponder the effects of climate change and perpetual growth, while taking on sainted big guns of the eco-movement. Bluntly unpacks the extent renewable energy giants seem to depend on fossil fuels, how corporations rebrand green to access government subsidies, downsides of renewable energy, and as Vandana Shiva puts it, the way we allow ourselves to be hypnotised. [read more]
★★★✩✩

Little Women

Episodically brilliant, it has too many stitches in the narrative quilt, its often rushed sentiment suffocating the genuine moments of resonant emotion. But it does have a thing or two to say about love. What an undoing it can be, what a triumph it is. Just watch a spirited Saoirse Ronan, as author’s wild alter ego, gaze upon her published work. Or a wise Florence Pugh, as the pragmatic younger sister, gaze at her man. [read more]
★★★✩✩

1917

Sam Mendes’s thespian 'single take' virtuoso stunt, a high-wire homage to his WWI veteran grandfather, highlights two things extremely well – film is a director’s medium, and its key ingredient is light. Only celluloid has that required esoteric quality, the materia to absorb and select. Filter reality. So, in a way, 1917 is also Roger Deakins's film. His digital Arri Alexa mimics the medium almost perfectly. Almost. But it has heart. Following one glorious golden thread. Fighting for the next breath. [read more]
★★★★✩

The Irishman

Deep down Frank Sheeran, mob hitman, was just one empty room after another in search of a person. As most sociopaths. That’s the gist of this magnificently made film about the boredom of thug life. Peggy, one of Sheeran’s daughters, and the highlight of the saga, does not speak a word until the very end. And although there has been some controversy about this, I can get it. What’s there to say? Really. [read more]
★★★✩✩

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