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  • Withnail & I

    Withnail & I

    ★★★★★

    Ah, Withnail. Like most of my peers, I watched this too many times to count between the ages of 18 and 21, but without ever really appreciating the currents of desperation and despair that flow through the film, or just how poignant their consummation is. It was always on in the background when you went round to someone's place, and what emerged through the fug of inebriation were the endless quotable lines, Richard E. Grant's manic shrieking, Uncle Monty's bombast,…

  • L.A. Story

    L.A. Story

    ★★★★★

    I love everything about this criminally underrated fantasy. I love Richard E. Grant's oleaginous English smarm. I love Rick Moranis's cockney gravedigger. I love the set pieces — the choreographed fountains, the freeway duel, the "I'll be your robber" scene. I love Patrick Stewart and L'Idiot. I love — and I seem to be the only one — everything about Victoria Tennant's performance, full of quirk and bafflement and "deep sustained booming sounds". I love Andrew Dunn's cinematography, its gauzy,…

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  • Jasper Mall

    Jasper Mall

    ★★★★★

    Haunt
    Verb. tr.
    1 (of a ghost) manifest itself at (a place) regularly
    1.1 (of a person or animal) frequent (a place)
    1.2 Be persistently in the mind of (someone)
    1.3 Be persistently and disturbingly present in (something)
    Noun
    A place frequented by a specified person or group of people

    Ghost stories are love stories, in a way. Ghosts are an expression of loss — a lost love, a lost time, or our own sense of loss in the present…

  • There Will Be Blood

    There Will Be Blood

    ★★★

    Capitalism. Greed. Religion. Ambition. Exploitation. Expansion. The self-made man. Do you see? It's a Great American Movie. But actually it's just an OK American Movie.

    There are only two characters (three if you count DDL's soup-strainer) and they're both archetypes who behave exactly as you'd expect them to. This is the problem I have with There Will be Blood — the characters are boring.

    See what I did there?

    And what's up with having Dano play both Sunday brothers? That's just weird.

    Sorry friends. You're all wrong about this one.

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  • Stroszek

    Stroszek

    ★★★★½

    So... your car is kaput. And your girlfriend is gone. And your house they have sold.

    In the credits to Stroszek, Herzog thanks his pal, and great American documentarian, Les Blank (or "Blanc"), and borrows one image (the beer-swilling mechanic's pulling of his own tooth with a pair of pliers) directly from Blank's Steal it All. It's not just the dentistry, though: Blank's influence is felt in the casting of non-professional actors, and especially in Stroszek's discussion of landscape; of…