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  • Hannah and Her Sisters

    Hannah and Her Sisters

    ★★★★½

    It may be time for me to face up to the possibility that Woody Allen is one of my favourite directors. There's something that's just so welcoming about his films, the best of which always give us some truly brilliant characters to savour, and all of which have some of the greatest writing in cinema history.

    It was a treat to revisit Hannah and Her Sisters, a film I didn't fully grasp as being one of his very best works…

  • Ran

    Ran

    ★★★★★

    Ran is Akira Kurosawa's masterpiece, cementing his status as both a visual stylist and a teller of immersive stories. He looks to Shakespeare's King Lear for inspiration and comes up with a piece of work more profound and incisive than anything else he made (with the possible exception of Ikiru), and also more beautiful. I often say the films that represent a director's departure from his or her normal preoccupations are the director's best, a similar example being Hitchcock's Vertigo,…

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  • A.I. Artificial Intelligence

    A.I. Artificial Intelligence

    ★★½

    In A.I. Artificial Intelligence we have the biggest challenge to my favoured notion of Steven Spielberg being one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. It's his worst film by a considerable margin, a film so weird that a part of me wants to un-watch it just so I can better savour Spielberg's better (ie. other) films.

    It was conceived by Stanley Kubrick, who asked Spielberg to direct the film way back in the mid-'80s. Why on earth Kubrick, one…

  • Harakiri

    Harakiri

    ★★★★½

    Never have I had such difficulty rating a film than I have with Harakiri. While I can see that it is worth the favoured five stars, my personal enjoyment of it meant I feel held back.

    The story, surely taking some structural cues from Rashomon, is never less than gripping. Set in the 17th century, a time of peace in Japan, it introduces us to Hanshiro Tsugumo, a ronin (unemployed samurai) who arrives at the home of a nobleman and…

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  • Singin' in the Rain

    Singin' in the Rain

    ★★★★★

    I've been feeling pretty crappy lately, and I've decided that, from now on, I'll watch a favourite of mine whenever I'm like this to remind me that all is not lost. I'm going to have a hard time topping tonight's selection, Singin' in the Rain - a film I more or less grew up with, which is something I'll be eternally grateful for. I can't imagine my life without this film, one of the happiest there is. Nor do I…