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  • Those Who Wish Me Dead

    Those Who Wish Me Dead

    ★★★

    I'd read some of the words written about it going into this movie, and coming out I feel I'm in a position to agree that no, it's not a great movie. If I think about what's happening and why, I have questions. The film, to its credit, isn't really interested in a bunch of stuff: for example, what motivates the plot is all a series of McGuffins really. There are shady characters, politicians, Tyler Perry, high-up people, they don't want…

  • Life, and Nothing More...

    Life, and Nothing More...

    ★★★★

    Every time I watch an Abbas Kiarostami film I am in awe of how simple in form they are yet so deep and complex in the ideas being explored. Here, a stand-in for the director returns to the small mountain village of Koker after a devastating earthquake to try and find out what happened to his lead actors, the ones who were in Where Is the Friend's House? (1987), such an iconic set-up that it is basically lifted wholesale by…

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  • Urban Rashomon

    Urban Rashomon

    ★★★½

    It seems to me that a lot of photographer/director Khalik Allah's work is about the ethics of documenting poverty. In this short piece we see him capturing images of a street person called Frenchie, while the director reflects in voiceover about his borderline exploitative relationship with his subject. It's a film of beautiful images but also is very upfront about the ways in which representation is manipulation and exploitation, which is refreshing.

  • Vice

    Vice

    ★½

    In some ways, when I watch something like Vice (or indeed, writer/director Adam McKay's last film The Big Short), I think of David O. Russell's American Hustle or even the flashier Martin Scorsese of, say, Wolf of Wall Street, both of which films I broadly liked (although I'm cooling on the Russell over time). I think there's a lot of common ground, as comedic renderings of modern society in all its gaudiness and compromised politics, and perhaps there's a fine…