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  • The Magic of Ordinary Days 2005

    ★★★ Watched 12 Mar, 2014

    Sweet, quaint and surprisingly restrained, but it feels like a lot has been glossed over from the novel.

  • Blue Is the Warmest Color 2013

    ★★★★ Watched 12 Mar, 2014

    The film lives up to its controversy. It's, at times, a stunning piece and, at other times, just feels stunted. The writing for the most part can be terrific, the acting is more than superb, but it's with his sex scenes where Kechiche just takes you out of it. Because it's directed by a man, they felt unnatural, porn-like, and, for the most part, exploitative. I felt invested in every sense of their relationship except the sexual, which did not feel romantic, just lustful.

  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 10 Mar, 2014

    This is a marked improvement from the first, which felt extremely lackluster as a visual piece despite seemingly being tailor made for it. The one thing Jennifer Lawrence can do so well each and every time is reel you in, make sure she has you focused on her. She is nothing but a star, but the kind of star that makes it so easy to root for her/love her in every single film she stars in. Though I know the…

  • Lore 2012

    ★★★★ Watched 10 Mar, 2014

    Of course with being a Holocaust setting, I would expect this to be a a dark film, but Shortland's take here is quite grim despite what is a miraculous journey for these kids to stay alive. Almost too grim, in fact, but because she balances the tone/writing with her visual aesthetic so well, it's hard not to be enamored, even moved, despite it being a hard watch. A starkly beautiful underrated gem from 2013.

  • About Time 2013

    ★★★ Watched 04 Mar, 2014

    Though it's ultimately hokey, there is some kind of wisdom here in the languid way the story is told. It's a sweet little movie, if nothing more, but it's nowhere the standard Curtis set with Notting Hill or even Love Actually.

  • Oblivion 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 25 Feb, 2014

    It's gorgeous to look at, beautifully designed, and while the story is an interesting one, it ultimately feels a bit hollow. It's worth another watch just to hear the music and bask in the visuals again.

  • From Up on Poppy Hill 2011

    ★★★½ Watched 20 Jan, 2014

    It's less fantastical than a lot of his father's stuff, but Goro Miyazaki's film is a beautiful little piece. It's a sweet and natural story, even if it gives us a possibility of "ugh incest." It'll be fascinating to see what he'll provide for us in the future, especially if his father actually retires.

  • Blancanieves 2012

    ★★★★½ Watched 24 Feb, 2014

    This is a beautiful reimagining of Snow White. A silent, black and white, foreign version was not what I would've though of for this, as Disney has so clearly brainwashed fairy tales on us, but what Berger does here is show just what a new interpretation of this might be. It's wonderful, much more of an ode to old Hollywood film than The Artist. Enrapturing it is and you can't help but fall for it. For all it's technical prowess, it's the good old fashioned story that does it.

  • The East 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 19 Feb, 2014

    Marling has been with Batmanglij since his short, The Recordist in 2007. Of the two features they've done together (the other being Sound of My Voice) this is the stronger-structured, less rough around the edges piece. But, it plays out like any other film like this might; Voice was more intriguing. But, it's terrifically written - it's never bland - and just like their previous film, it's a bit of think-piece, though more eco than religously driven. I'm looking forward to seeing if they have any other collaborations up their sleeve in the future.

  • The Armstrong Lie 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 19 Feb, 2014

    Gibney's depth of research is apparent, but I feel like he kind of got in his own way here a bit. He's not removed from the work, he's right dead in the middle of it. And though that can usually benefit a work, I think it hinders it; keeps it from being a stronger piece. Still, it's a fascinating documentary, and Lance Armstrong is a fascinating study. What we're left with here is, after everything, Armstrong still believes that despite everything, his achievements will still be found extraordinary. And that says as much about him as the rest of the film's two hours does.

  • The Way Way Back 2013

    ★★★ Watched 18 Feb, 2014

    I think that Faxon and Rash thought they could cash in on their Oscar success with The Descendants with this coming of age tale with a terrific ensemble cast, and the truth of it is, it is good, but just good. We've seen a thousand of these and this one feels no different that most of them maybe save the mercurial Sam Rockwell. He is easily the best thing here, giving us wit and humour, but also depth and understanding…

  • Ender's Game 2013

    ★★★ Watched 18 Feb, 2014

    It's beautiful visually but has all the character development of a Uwe Boll film. This is sad since the novel does such a great job of internally presenting Ender as well as the supporting characters around him. And since the ending is supposed to be very emotional, it makes the whole film feel somewhat cold and detached. Now, it does make it fun enough that you forget you're basically getting fed movie junk food, but there's nothing here but an empty place where its soul should be.