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On a long enough timeline, the survival of everyone drops to zero.

Fight Club (1999)
(SPOILERS) Still David Fincher’s peak picture, mostly by dint of Fight Club being the only one you can point to and convincingly argue that that the source material is up there with his visual and technical versatility. If Seven is a satisfying little serial-killer-with-a-twist story vastly improved by his involvement (just imagine it directed by Joel Schumacher… or watch 8mm), Fight Club invites him to utilise every trick in the book to tell the story of not-Tyler Durden, whom we encounter at a very peculiar time in his life.
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When primal forces of nature tell you to do something, the prudent thing is not to quibble over details.

Field of Dreams (1989)
(SPOILERS) There’s a near-Frank Darabont quality to Phil Alden Robinson producing such a beloved feature and then subsequently offering not all that much of note. But Darabont, at least, was in the same ballpark as The Shawshank Redemption with The Green MileSneakers is good fun, The Sum of All Our Fears was a decent-sized success, but nothing since has come close to his sophomore directorial effort in terms of quality. You might put that down to the source material, WP Kinsella’s 1982 novel Shoeless Joe, but the captivating magical-realist balance hit by Field of Dreams is a deceptively difficult one to strike, and the biggest compliment you can play Robinson is that he makes it look easy.

She was addicted to Tums for a while.

Marriage Story (2019)
(SPOILERS) I don’t tend to fall heavily for Noah Baumbach fare. He’s undoubtedly a distinctive voice – even if his collaborations with Wes Anderson are the least of that director’s efforts – but his devotion to an exclusive, rarefied New York bubble becomes ever more off-putting with each new project. And ever more identifiable as being a lesser chronicler of the city’s privileged quirks than his now disinherited forbear Woody Allen, who at his peak mastered a balancing act between the insightful, hilarious and self-effacing. Marriage Story finds Baumbach going yet again where Woody went before, this time brushing up against the director’s Ingmar Bergman fixation.

He's a talented, pretentious enigma.

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (2017)
(SPOILERS) I find there’s a take-it-or-leave-it with Noah Baumbach’s films, such that this has been sitting on Netflix for two years without my feeling much urgency to visit it; only the arrival of Marriage Story and the attention it’s been receiving finally nudged me. The berth I gave turns out to have been warranted, since it’s a mainly tiresome, laboured piece of work, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)’s structure seemingly arrived at by whatever bright idea came into Baumbach’s head at that moment regarding the titular family.

I thought our job was to provide oversight and accountability. Not middle ground.

The Report (2019)
(SPOILERS) It’s a recurring problem for today’s politically-inclined movies, and even more so for politically-inclined movies dealing with coverups and unconscionable establishment acts, that you can no longer surprise or shock the audience, let alone elicit anger. Which means they tend to function as mutual pats on the back of the privileged but cause-conscious Hollywood in-crowd, a vouching of just how decent and concerned for the welfare of us all they are, despite being safely ensconced in their ivory towers. The end products are usually the kind of ineffectual fare George Clooney puts his name to, and despite no one having any interest in seeing them, they continue to get greenlit to keep the stars and creatives sweet. Short of a Truther account of 9/11, which you would never get – you wouldn’t even get a Capricorn One-style retelling, and no, Star Trek Into Darkness doesn’t count – it takes the irreverence of The Big Short to muster wider interest (and when that’…

It's their place, Mac. They have a right to make of it what they can. Besides, you can't eat scenery!

Local Hero (1983)
(SPOILERS) With the space of thirty-five years, Bill Forsyth’s gentle eco-parable feels more seductive than ever. Whimsical is a word often applied to Local Hero, but one shouldn’t mistake that description for its being soft in the head, excessively sentimental or nostalgic. Tonally, in terms of painting a Scottish idyll where the locals are no slouches in the face of more cultured foreigners, the film hearkens to both Powell and Pressburger (I Know Where I’m Going!) and Ealing (Whisky Galore!), but it is very much its own beast.

Those were not just ordinary people there.

Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
(SPOILERS) Eyes Wide Shut’s afterlife in the conspirasphere has become so legendary, even a recent BFI retrospective article had to acknowledge the “outlandish” suggestions that this was Kubrick’s all-out exposé of the Illuminati, an exposé so all-out it got him murdered, 24 all-important minutes excised into the bargain. At the time of its release, even as a conspiracy buff, I didn’t think the film was suggestive of anything exactly earthshattering in that regard. I was more taken with the hypnotic pace, which even more than the unsympathetic leads, made the picture stand out from its 1999 stablemates. I’m not enough of a Kubrick devotee to rewatch his oeuvre on a loop, but that initial response still largely holds true; I can quite respect those who consider Eyes Wide Shut a (or the) masterpiece from the director, but it can’t quite reach such heights for me.