film reviews as long as the films
20969 words / mins total

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“I’ve been here before,” starts Sam Smith’s theme for SPECTRE. And we have. SPECTRE recycles so many elements from previous Bonds in a rearrangement that is less than the sum of its parts: a seven-letter title and insight into Bond’s past like SKYFALL; a shadowy criminal organisation like QUANTUM; Bond and his love interest getting to know each other on a train like CASINO ROYALE; a high-speed boat chase down the Thames starting from the MI6 Building like WORLD.
PAPRIKA has the visual and narrative inventiveness that fans of INCEPTION think it has. It’s a joyously confusing depiction of dreams and dreamscapes that I’ll need to watch a second time to properly take in.
It’s hard to avoid reading this film through a class lens whereby Matthew Broderick’s character, Dr. Steve Finch, is positioned as the reasonable one in the central conflict entirely through his middle-class status rather than through any reasonable actions.
What stands out in David Lowery’s telling of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is the film’s poetic depiction of a land perched between paganism and Christianity, in that boundary space between competing ways of life: a solstice of cultures, a time—like Christmas—when the barriers between worlds are made thin.
Every frame of this film is burned into my brain after watching it once every two years or so since I was old enough but it remains delightful every time, joyous every time, and I well up every time during the scene of the Christmas yet-to-come where Tiny Tim (Jerry Nelson) has died.
Released at a time when the franchise had been overtaken in spectacle by Bourne and Mission: Impossible, Martin Campbell’s second slightly-harder Bond reboot wisely eschews a central action sequence in favour of an intimate and wonderfully tense extended poker game.