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Punch-Drunk Love (2002)

Random chaos defines Barry Egan’s world in Punch-Drunk Love, reaching out across his work and personal life to diminish his meek existence, and yet there is a balanced coordination across every level of Paul Thomas Anderson’s incredibly formal filmmaking in this offbeat romantic comedy that finds colourful, delicate harmony among the dissonance.

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Husbands (1970)

As the title Husbands might suggest, wives are largely absent from the efforts of these emotionally inept men to deal with the repressed grief of losing a friend, thereby letting John Cassavetes’ plotless realism and intrusive camera uncomfortably linger on its exhausting portrait of middle-aged, toxic masculinity.

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The Big Sleep (1946)

Howard Hawks wields his convoluted narrative like a weapon in The Big Sleep, where fatalistic forces wind together in a treacherous labyrinth seeking to ensnare Humphrey Bogart’s cynical private detective, Phillip Marlowe, thereby immersing us into a gloriously pulpy film noir that sizzles with sexual innuendoes and coy provocations.

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Armageddon Time (2022)

In his light sepia filter and lavish retro design of 1980s New York, James Gray infuses Armageddon Time with a nostalgia that could only exist in the eyes of a child as innocent as him, thoughtfully examining a survivor’s guilt that echoes across generations of inherited privilege, prejudice, and the cultural weight of Jewish history.

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Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022)

The outpouring of grief felt in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a refreshingly sincere change of pace for Marvel Studios, as Ryan Coogler’s heartfelt eulogising for his late friend underscores new political tensions in Wakanda and the sophisticated world-building of a hidden, underwater kingdom, delivering a visual majesty that sensitively reflects on what has been lost.

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