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  • November

    November

    ★★★★½

    8.5
    Amazon Prime Video

    Wow. Just... wow. Going into this- a nearly 2-hour black and white Estonian film set in a cripplingly-poor 19th century village- I was expecting arthouse drudgery. I couldn't have been more wrong: November is a beautiful, dark, confounding folktale streaked throughout with a rich vein of black humour (by the end someone will have eaten shit).

    November
    is admittedly quite slight, even a bit cliché, in terms of its central story: a poor village girl falls…

  • Thirst

    Thirst

    ★★★★

    8
    MUBI

    Park Chan-wook takes the essential erotisicm at the heart of vampiric lore and turns the dial way, way up.

    Thirst is a film practically bursting at the seems both visually and narratively. There's a lot going on here (perhaps on ocassion too much), with the vampirism afflicting the main character Sang-hyun (played to perfection as always by the magnificent Song Kang-ho) used as a metaphor for temptation, addiction, guilt, lust, sin and shame. Many vampire films feature their…

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  • My Best Friend's Wedding

    My Best Friend's Wedding

    ★★★★

    7.5
    Netflix

    My Best Friend's Wedding is at its best when gleefully and knowingly subverting the usual rom-com tropes, in particular with the way that there is no attempt to sugar-coat Julianne's appalling behaviour; as she herself admits: "I'm the bad guy". In trying to break up her best friend's wedding, she's doing entirely the wrong thing for entirely the wrong reasons, and the film completely gets that and leans into it big time. At the same time, the film…

  • Rabid

    Rabid

    ★★★½

    7
    Amazon Prime Video

    Rabid, David Cronenberg's third feature, is the closest in his filmography to a Romero-style zombie movie (albeit with some of the blood-sucking features of the vampire sub-genre). Of course, because it's Cronenberg there has to be a bit of body horror thrown into the mix: in this case the bizarre vaginal/clitoral/phallic creation which establishes itself in the armpit of the protagonist Rose (Marilyn Chambers) following a botched attempt at experimental plastic surgery.

    You certainly cannot fault…

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  • They Live

    They Live

    ★★★★★

    9.5
    Netflix

    Rewatch. I love They Live. I think I might just love everything about it. The score, which starts off with a simple three-note bass line but with each subsequent iteration adds extra instruments and complexity (albeit always built around that same bass). The enigmatic introduction of Roddy Piper (who, it turns out, is not a bad actor) as our hero John Nada, appearing as if from nowhere from behind a passing train. The way that the first thirty…

  • Restless Natives

    Restless Natives

    ★★★★

    8
    Blu Ray

    Michael Hoffman's Restless Natives is clearly indebted to the Scottish master Bill Forsyth, in particular Forsyth's early films That Sinking Feeling and Gregory's Girl. Like those films, Hoffman imbues Natives with an easygoing, offbeat charm, a crowd-pleasing sense of humour and a cheeky dash of social commentary.

    Similarly to That Sinking Feeling, Restless Natives focuses on young people in Thatcher-era (or at least Thatcher-adjacent) Scotland who, with little hope of getting a decent job, and realising that…