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  • The Eight Hundred

    The Eight Hundred

    ★★★½

    Shot entirely with Arri Alexa 65 IMAX cameras, THE EIGHT HUNDRED is a war film about the Chinese Defense of Sihanng Warehouse from Japanese forces in 1937. It was the highest-grossing film of 2020, the first time a non-Hollywood film has ever reached that milestone. Crucial to that success was the Chinese success in containing the COVID19 pandemic to the extent that so many cinemas could be safely open, compared to the largest western cinema markets, like the USA. It…

  • The Cloud in Her Room

    The Cloud in Her Room

    ★★★★½

    The first feature film from Zheng Lu Xinyuan, THE CLOUD IN HER ROOM is a gorgeously-photographed submersion into liminality, a dreamlike monochrome tale of transition, with no separation between the tangible and the unreal. Some scenes, like an arresting opening depicting a storm, read like Caravaggio paintings in how the black elements of the monochrome photography dip into unseen oblivion. The film is full of such interesting photography. Handheld darting-about, framing of buildings from odd angles, it all feels quite…

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  • Nomadland

    Nomadland

    ½

    Francis McDormand is worth thirty million US dollars, and owns two houses. In this film, she plays make believe, pretending to be poor, in a cast filled with non-actors, actual nomads. She is in every scene of the film, including the eyeroll-inducingly toothless Amazon scenes, the scenes that awkwardly step around being ‘political’ in any sense the American audience might receive them, and the scenes of non-actors recounting tragedies with tears in their eyes. That the film is lauded for…

  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

    Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

    ★★★★½

    This film should not exist.

    It is a three-hour relentlessly gloomy epic about a murderous, deranged Batman trying to kill a depressed Superman. It’s utterly bizarre the film exists in the form it came in. A $250 million US dollar budget went to a film about a pop culture figure, beloved by children worldwide, earnestly trying to murder the embodiment of “truth, justice, and the American way”. The film had tie-in toys, cereals, snacks, as if everything was normal, business…