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  • Mean Streets

    Mean Streets

    ★★★★½

    Took me ages to get around to this, partly because I was worried it wouldn't live up to my expectations. Well, surprise, surprise, it exceeded them. The characters are pathetic assholes, weak racist losers who think they're hot shit, removed from any real power or influence. It's amazingly ahead of its time, not just because the above description applies to The Sopranos and plenty of other demystifying genre cinema, but also because of the 8mm credits, the on-screen name tags,…

  • Beau Travail

    Beau Travail

    ★★★★½

    Yeah, you people weren't kidding. I've not read Billy Budd but the central relationship in this reminds me of Reflections in a Golden Eye (the book, still need to see the film), and just as McCullers is able to create sad poetry without peering too much into the characters' inner psyches (which they largely hide from themselves as well), Denis here comes up with some of the most immediate, visceral film-making. Operatic, balletic, cinematic, just a perfect blend of textures swirling around with Britten and Corona making this seem both incredibly specific and amazingly universal. Like Coup de Torchon meets The Red Shoes.

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  • Moneyball

    Moneyball

    ★★★½

    I don't really care about baseball and have seen like two games in my life, so it's testament to the acting, the writing, and the mood (enhanced by a great score and soundtrack) in this that it gripped me for just over two hours. Found Foxcatcher a bit of a snooze but definitely should get around to Capote one day.

  • Phantom Thread

    Phantom Thread

    ★★★★

    Gorgeous stuff but a bit overlong and the dresses mostly look very ugly. Manville's and Krieps' characters are far more interesting than the protagonist but all three central performances and a healthy dose of dark humour ensures this stays engaging throughout. It's no Inherent Vice, though.