Godard at arguably his most politically aggressive during his earlier years, but at the same time he’s showing how he doesn’t even care what the audience is making from the images they are being given. But perhaps what makes Weekend such an intriguing watch is the notion that it has become so radical to the point it obscured its own message, yet never was I bored watching whatever Godard wanted to convey from the first scene to the last. But on a mere conventional standpoint Weekend could be the story for a comedy, and yet everything is revealed almost like a horror film – because everything comes by at such a baffling rate and it’s only where it only shows how wonderful Godard is.
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I wonder what life must be like from the perspective of Elwood P. Dowd, because it sounds like he’s clearly a man who needs help with trying to keep up with the pace of everything around him. But to talk about why Harvey is a thing of beauty should already be easy enough, for it is a film about a man trying to cope with a world that moves so fast around him to a point of being overwhelmed. Quickly enough it only became clearer to me what it was that I absolutely loved about Harvey, aside from the fact that it carried what was easily one of my favourite James Stewart performances. It wasn’t just a fantastic James Stewart role that we were watching here. It was perhaps him at his most down-to-earth and relatable.
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Guillermo del Toro going out to prove that love has no limits – in what may arguably his best film in the English language alongside his best film since Pan’s Labyrinth. Much like Pan’s Labyrinth, what Guillermo del Toro has presented to audiences through The Shape of Water is a perfect fairy tale for grown ups, because it brings its viewers back through time in the same way that a memory would. It feels refreshing but also relaxing, yet the reminder that Guillermo del Toro places his viewers within is a sense of tranquility – and often from the most unexpected ways imaginable. But that’s one among many things we know a director like Guillermo del Toro has been best at, because his imagination isn’t anything like what any other director can present on any day.
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William Wyler’s films are award favourites but I haven’t always loved his work consistently. At his best, he’s created tender melodramas or entertaining comedies and at his worst, he feels unbelievably bloated. The Best Years of Our Lives, at a staggering length of 172 minutes, feels at risk of carrying the bloatedness of Wyler at his worst, but the way he spends time here says otherwise, for not only is a thoughtful melodrama about veterans coming home from war present and instead a staple of its own era that to this day remains one of the most self-reflexive pieces of cinema ever made. But if the title weren’t already an indicator, the very nature of the story being told can bring one in for something tender.
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NOTE: This is a review I wrote from the Toronto International Film Festival, which I had delayed posting here.
It’s probably just my own love of Greta Gerwig that’s taking me in, but I never expected Lady Bird to be a captivating experience in the manner in which it was. The whole night after watching Lady Bird, to say the least, I was in shock because I never expected something to play out to become nearly as resonant as it was – it wasn’t just simply funny anymore. But to see that Greta Gerwig managed to touch me in such a manner right on what was her directorial debut effort, I think the safest thing for me to say is that I’m already going to love what her output will present within the future. I was left thinking, perhaps this was something I needed my whole life – and for Greta Gerwig, I couldn’t possibly be more thankful.
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I’m still trying to piece together what exactly it was about Olivier Assayas’s Personal Shopper that didn’t work so well for me on my first viewing, because on another go I suddenly had found myself loving it to the point I don’t even remember what I thought was wrong about the film in the first place. And knowing already what Olivier Assayas had managed to bring out of Kristen Stewart from Clouds of Sils Maria, it was only fair to expect more greatness coming along from both one of the most fascinating directors working today as well as one of the most interesting actresses of her own generation. To say the least, there was a resonant effect present in Personal Shopper that only kept it lingering in my head since my first viewing, and on rewatch I quickly saw why it begun to stuck with me.
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At first I thought I knew what I was expecting because of the fact that Martin McDonagh was writing and directing. From In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths I would already have expected yet another dark comedy reveling in bloody violence and clever dialogue. What I didn’t expect was for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri to also have much more of an emotional arc on its own behalf – all in order to back up what might also be one of the year’s most sociopolitically relevant films. This is a film that builds itself on anger, but it all seems so controlled to the point it even finds the perfect time for us to laugh. But many contradictions come along the way and soon reveal something all the more insightful and even if it may be drenched in what we’ve come to recognize from McDonagh’s trademarks it still feels so beautifully refreshing.
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The famous espionage story we’ve already come to know done to the very best of its ability. An innocent man getting himself tangled into a case of mistaken identity, and the quest to clear their own name – something that we can only expect Alfred Hitchcock to make the very best from, and with North by Northwest, he has done exactly that and formed what is without a doubt one of his very best films. But of course one can only count on Alfred Hitchcock to have made some of the most exciting thrillers of Hollywood’s classic era, and nowadays they still wouldn’t lose a touch of what made them exciting to watch during their time. But the case with Hitchcock is that his thrillers haven’t only been the very best of their own genre, for films like North by Northwest only show why he was among the most clever of filmmakers working in Hollywood, he was one of the very best in general.
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It still amazes me that after thirty years of being butchered from studio interference and having been ignored during its original theatrical run, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner still feels refreshing as if it were something that had only recently came out. Like the best science fiction films it isn’t one whose wonder lies within the excitement created by its distinctive visual style but how it presents itself – not as a showcase for hypnotic set pieces but as a meditation on life, pushing towards what we are afraid to ask. Even today the genre subversions still feel present and on rewatches I only find myself appreciating it all the more, after having already been left fascinated with a first watch. But it wasn’t until more revisits mere fascination grew into adoration, and soon the resonant effect of Blade Runner only made itself clear.
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The mere idea of a sequel to Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner was always going to be troubling to me because the original is one of my favourite science fiction films, let alone one of my all-time favourite films. Seeing what Denis Villeneuve had done for the science fiction genre with his recent Arrival had only left me raising my hopes, and to say they were met is an understatement when talking about Blade Runner 2049. For not only is Blade Runner 2049 a sequel that expands beautifully upon the creativity that was shown in its predecessor but one built with the same thought and care which made the original as remarkable as it is. It isn’t a sequel that merely retreads a path that people are familiar with, but one that expands upon the ideas its predecessor had established forming not only a worthy sequel after a long period of time, yet also one destined to become a landmark of its generation in the same way the original film is.
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