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What in the world has happened to Wong Kar-wai? The freshest, most effortlessly cool man in cinema since the mid-1990s, Wong seems to be floundering at the moment. For a director whose style once seemed all about being free, off-the-cuff, jammed out, and playful, his most recent flicks show every sign of simply relying on what worked before.

When I reviewed Wong’s last film (and his first failure), “2046,” it struck me as “a maddeningly self-referential remix” of his work so far. At least in “2046” that seemed to be the point — playing with old ideas and attempting a sort of summation.

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