The Impossible Quest Of Hailing A Taxi On Christmas Eve (God Complex Universe)

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His late partner had left it on his desk, with a handwritten dedication for him. Scrooge never figured out why. People just called him like that, and the nickname stuck. He never got to read the thing, it was too dour. He just held it in his hands, feeling the paper, thinking. Across the freezing office was his assistant, Clara. She was a single mother of one, in her late thirties and needed a new dye of blonde hair.

She could have been attractive, if she had managed to get some sleep, enough money to pay her bills and a miracle to lift the worry off her shoulders. She was an accountant, the only employee to Scrooge, and she ended up juggling every single job, manning the phones, doing the accounts, fixing technical issues with the techs, keeping the office livable with a couple of plants. She was currently rolled up in a blanket like a gyro wrap, shaking and sniffing her nose. The frigid office was dark, illuminated only by the lights outside, some colourful ones from the Christmas decorations, others simply street signs and lamp-posts, and also by the computer monitors on their desks.

She was wearing knit colourful gloves and was tapping away on her phone, constantly stopping to check out something on her monitor by pressing a button, sighing, and then turning back to her phone. It was doing gling sounds all the time, filled with incoming and outgoing Christmas wishes to old friends and faraway family. It was a small comfort in the cold office. How many hours do you need to input a few accounts woman? Scrooge grunted, his eyes not lifting towards her. She sniffed her nose. In the beginning, she was trying to do it quietly, discreet like a lady should, but after years and years of enduring a winter office she had just given up and pretty much blew her nose like a loud trumpet.

Customer service they call it! He got the hint.

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Days off with pay In my day, you could work 14 hours a day 7 days a week and not get paid till four months later, he said shaking his finger. The film boasts a mesmerizing, lucid turn by the actress that ranks as some of the best work of her career. Director Park Chan-wook loosely adapts Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, transporting it to Japanese-occupied Korea, creating a culturally sumptuous queer tale brimming with turns of fortune and double crossings.

The probing gaze of Park and cinematographer Chung Chung-hoon is rich with hypnotic detail and texture. Coupled with its evocative performances, particularly by Kim Min-hee as the mysterious and yearning Lady Hideko, watching The Handmaiden is like being lulled into submission by an ornate spell. In so doing, Johnson not only gives us a glimpse into the observational, technical, and emotional work that filmmaking requires, she teaches us how to see anew.

The writer-director Olivier Assayas has a genius for using ephemeral, gossip-magazine ingredients — wealth, fashion, celebrity — as a springboard for that most timeless of themes: the ephemerality of us. Perhaps it was the frame ratio that made every scene a titch more claustrophobic. But what this moment signaled to me is that I was in the hands of truly striking filmmakers. And as the timelines and stories and characters collide amid the escalating delirium of war, what comes through is a touching narrative about the clarifying power of defeat and failure.

Great opening shot though. In following a character whose great power is his ability to evade and disappear, it explores the psychic scars that propel his need for self-negation. A formally dazzling movie that represented a triumphant return to form for Ramsay after a series of aborted projects and poisonous press. So glad to have her back. In their far-reaching variation — a motion-capture love scene, a neorealist family drama, and an intensely mournful encounter with Kylie Minogue — is a testament to the magic and madness of creating miniature worlds for the camera.

The thing about The Social Network is that it never really set out to be about the details of how Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook in the first place. The jihadi invaders are all too human, even goofy at times, which makes their casually monstrous actions that much more startling and horrific. On one level, the title of This Is Not a Film is an extremely dark joke — Jafar Panahi made it with his co-director, Mojtaba Mirtahmasb, while on house arrest, after having been sentenced to a year ban on filmmaking by the Iranian government, and it was smuggled out to its Cannes premiere on a flash drive hidden inside a cake.

Freddie Quell Joaquin Phoenix is a man undone. Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson creates a work defined by its precision and details — the achingly serene blue of the ocean, light the color of melted gold, alcohol used as both healer and weapon. But what transfixes are the performances. Phoenix stands with crooked, hunched posture, making Freddie look like a living question mark. Hoffman portrays Lancaster Dodd with both ragged egoism, a hulking presence, and the shimmer of self-doubt. Four score and seven films — at least — might be contrived from the life of Abraham Lincoln, but Steven Spielberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner home in on a few months in leading to the vote in the U.

House of Representatives on the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery. The prism is politics, the fine and coarse art of persuasion, the machine in a democracy through which ideals are translated into legislation and legislation into law. Daniel Day-Lewis speaks in a soft, cracked voice that lulls its listeners with indirection before driving home a lawyerly point.

But you feel you know what it was like to be in his presence. Can Lincoln be taken as a smack at Republicans or a gentle rebuke to Obama, who lacked the Lincolnesque wiles to entice his rivals to the table? It follows Amelia Essie Davis , a widow raising her annoying-as-hell son alone, riddled with exhaustion and increasing unease over the figure of the Babadook she first encounters in a pop-up book.

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Phoenix is a postwar noir, an incredible showcase for star Nina Hoss, and a reworking of Vertigo from the opposing perspective. A triumph of humanist filmmaking. Brie Larson in her breakout film is Grace, a counselor at a short-term resident foster facility for at-risk kids, where many of her charges stay for years — and where Grace must confront her own history of abuse. Writer-director Destin Daniel Cretton has a brutally real design: Every seeming breakthrough is followed by a harsh fallback. Sandra must now convince her peers to turn down those bonuses so she can keep her job.

Two Days, One Night follows the character as she makes her case and unearths fraught emotions. A dark, delectable comedy involving two distant cousins: the formidable Lady Sarah Rachel Weisz and the wily, on-the-make Abigail Emma Stone , each vying to be the favorite of the ailing Queen Anne Olivia Colman.

And made for television, really, but shown in enough theaters to qualify for encomiums and awards from film critics — and to make us once again muse on the dwindling distance between the various means of exhibition.

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Simpson epic pokes and prods, extrapolates and interpolates. We see the fractious world out of which the inhumanly handsome and talented black football star emerged, and the impact of that world on his psyche. The horrible irony lingers — that this man with zero interest in being a symbol for his race became an instrument of black revenge on a police force that had brutalized it for decades.

The Act of Killing is an extraordinary experiment, a way of using cinema to test the boundaries of denial and erasure by having two government-sanctioned killers reenact the atrocities they participated in, in increasingly fantastical interpretations.

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Writer-director Josephine Decker pushes the boundaries of reality and dreams, creation and personhood, through a series of bold aesthetic and narrative choices. POV shots disorient. Scenes are blurred at the edges.

But what it becomes it so much darker and more profound — a brilliant meditation on the monstrous side of maternal love, a tie forever binding you to someone, no matter how much hurt comes with it. For the past three decades, Keanu Reeves has prevailed as one of our most beguiling modern stars.


The neo-noir-tinged action flick, written by Derek Kolstad, takes a simple premise — an ex-assassin plagued by grief returns to his former life when the sniveling son Alfie Allen of a powerful mob boss kills his dog — wringing from it supreme, wholly cinematic pleasures. Neon-drenched gun battles. A lightning-bright, fresh mythos. What makes the film rise to the level of one of the best of the decade is how directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, former stuntmen and coordinators who met Reeves on The Matrix , understand the beauty and mayhem of the human figure, capturing its contours with an unprecedented clarity.

Rebuttal: Respectfully, this is as basic as thrillers get: You killed my dog, prepare to die. I will concede that the sequel, John Wick: Chapter 2 , was sensational, its carnage so balletic it was almost abstract. The third part, Parabellum , had some great stuff amid the bloat.

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Following the travails of a promising but way too abrasive and strident folkie played by Oscar Isaac, becoming a star before our very eyes who has too much integrity to sell out, and not enough talent or charisma or luck to break out big, they give us a journey of failure masquerading as triumph. Adonis Creed is a fascinatingly complicated underdog for a new millennium, and Michael B.

Watching it is like taking a joyride in a car with its breaks cut, following Howard as he careens around the city attempting to balance his business, his family, his mistress the awesome Julia Fox , and his debts, and doing an outstandingly terrible job of it. The Safdie brothers have always had a way with live-wire subjects and intensely New York setting, but Uncut Gems is in its own league, a movie about a man who thrives on chaos that replicates his point of view with a cinematic jolt of sensory overload.

I stumbled onto the independent Irish horror film A Dark Song when it was still streaming on Netflix and was blown away by the arresting simplicity of its staging and visual landscape, along with its lead performance by Catherine Walker. Tense and riveting, A Dark Song grapples with the nature of grief in a way that terrifies and emotionally bruises in equal measure.

The highlights of his journey, like the stretch in which he travels to New York to perform for an adoring crowd at MoMa PS1, are intoxicating, and then time slips by and reality rises up unavoidably under his feet like the ground beneath a skydiver. There are a lot of movies about chasing your dreams, and almost none about coming to terms with moving on from them — and Eden is a masterful reflection of the latter.

Long story, but this Georgian masterpiece never actually saw the theatrical light of day after premiering at Sundance, garnering wild acclaim and getting picked up by Netflix — who promptly buried it deep in their lineup with little announcement or fanfare or screenings or anything. The violence is brusque, flat — un-mythic. Who could imagine the pop-top Pesci as a gangster who seeks to modulate every encounter, accepting that murder is inevitable but, sadly, seeing it as the ultimate failure?

After making films for years in England, the director announced his return to Poland with this Oscar-winning movie. Will, for instance, a mockumentary about the rise and fall of a pop-rapper named Conner4Real remain as funny in a few years as it was when it came out? The answer is yes. The Macklemore skewering, hoverboards, and home-appliance partnership were, anyway, just the trappings of what is, at heart, an enduring story about the fickleness of celebrity, the enduring bonds of friendship, and Seal getting attacked by wolves during a viral proposal gone wrong.

The flow of the camera, the vibrant colors of the set and costumes, the gait of the gorgeous leads Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling enhance everything else, so the stylishness seems exponential, if not existential. Skip to Some Biopics. A Girl.