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  • The Man Without a Face

    The Man Without a Face

    ★★★

    This must be a Mel Gibson movie because my wife and I had a massive row afterwards over whether teenage military academies are a good or bad idea. Trust Gibson to make a controversial film.

    To my taste, Gibson is one of the best living Western directors we have (though he’s approaching 70) in terms of humanity, spirituality and cinematic technique. Tarantino of all people said that the cultural tipping-point movie, The Passion of the Christ (2004), was the best…

  • The Wild Pear Tree

    The Wild Pear Tree

    ★★

    A competent but unsatisfying art film by Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan (Once Upon a Time in Anatolia).

    On the surface it's an amusing, beautifully-shot character study about a pretentious young writer who comes back to his sleepy hometown where he struggles to hang onto his artistic ambitions against the flow of life, family baggage, and settling down.

    It’s the old "is there more to life than this?" kind of premise.

    In theory I should’ve been appeased by this concoction.…

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  • Moonlight

    Moonlight

    I wondered what the most popular movie was on Letterboxd I hadn't seen. It was this.

    Moonlight is an uneven 3 episode movie about a sensitive black kid at different stages of his life as he grows up to become a cliché. It is to the character drama what Twelve Years A Slave was to history, Get Out was to horror, or Hamilton was to the musical. Its effective Best Picture winning novelty is that it combines the racist blaxploitation…

  • Jackie Brown

    Jackie Brown

    I have recently discovered that I can’t stand Tarantino films, though I loved them 20 years ago. Even this one, which I liked enough to own (twice), is almost unbearable now.

    It’s the suffocating artificiality and vile plots that that bother me so much. This film is the enlightening tale of a drug mule stewardess who tries to steal money from her drug dealer boss (who has his own backstabbing colleagues), with assistance from a corrupt bondsman.

    These characters don’t…