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  • Kung Fu Hustle

    Kung Fu Hustle

    ★★★★½

    This is so frequently recommended as an anarchic, goofy comedy that you'd be forgiven for assuming it's jokes-first and craft a distant last. What strikes me about Kung Fu Hustle on a rewatch is how that's completely untrue.

    A film like this could've worked if it were shot generically, but Chow's straightfaced-devolving-into-cartoon-absurdity schtick works much better when shot in a heightened cartoon version of an intensely classical Hollywood style. There's a lot of wider compositions early in the film, cameras…

  • Ironfinger

    Ironfinger

    ★★★

    This is very fun, but it doesn't hang together at all. It's absolutely worth watching for the few great gags—there's a bit of payoff here that's up with some of the best I've seen—but there's not much else on offer here.

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  • Love Exposure

    Love Exposure

    ★★★★★

    What am I supposed to do with this?

    Sion Sono's Love Exposure is one of the longest films I've ever seen, and yet one of the best-paced. Featuring probably one of the most honest explorations of the deeply fucked up thought patterns that religious abuse can perpetrate, it—

    No, not like that.

    Superficial praise doesn't work for me with this film either, least of all because everyone who hasn't seen it looks at the words, and looks at the synopsis,…

  • The Haunting

    The Haunting

    ★★★★½

    The people who made this film understand deeply that a fidelity to observable reality is ill-suited to communicate outsize human emotions, and that only through formal expression of the emotion—framing, editing, etc.—is it fully possible to manipulate the audience into experiencing how it feels to be in a situation rather than how it looks. It's stunning to watch such a self-assured, expressionistic film.

    I'm not at all surprised Robert Wise got his start as an editor.