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  • Miami Vice

    Miami Vice 2006

    Rewatched 19 Apr, 2015 1

    The story here is pretty standard and boring (even as it flirts with semi interesting existential conflicts) but as a purely formal exercise this film is pretty beautiful to watch. This is an auteur's take on a genre, and while there's not much narrative revisionism going on here Mann's style is extremely hypnotic. Something as banal as cars driving up to a club made me want to lean in closer to the television. As a Miami native I swear that…

  • Let's Be Cops

    Let's Be Cops 2014

    Watched 18 Apr, 2015

    I'd be able to deal with the ill politics of this film (which the filmmakers most likely didn't think of beyond its comedic premise) if the entire program here were actually funny. But if there's a film that's emblematic of everything wrong with modern Hollywood comedies, it's Let's Be Cops. I couldn't even enjoy this on a "So horribly unfunny It's funny" level (Don't ask me how many times I've seen Let's Go to Prison).

  • Accidental Love

    Accidental Love 2015

    Watched 07 Apr, 2015 3

    Accidental Love is Stephen Gr-... er... David O. Russell's abandoned project after the financiers refused to pay the actors and crew for their work. It's now a notorious footnote of a forgotten auteur project hopelessly cobbled together by its producers looking to make a quick buck out of their disastrous handling of fucking over the one group of people who have probably the most powerful union in America.

    I kind of liked this?

    It's a clear Frankenstein's Monster of a…

  • Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief

    Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief 2015

    Watched 06 Apr, 2015

    Perhaps a little too scattershot for its own good. There's a wealth of great material here to explore (Hubbard himself could be his own documentary miniseries), which Gibney goes over for what feels like a bulletproof outline of Scientology talking points (which I'm under the impression most people are aware of anyways) rather than a deep inside look at the psychology of the Church members. There's a part in this doc where author Lawrence Wright says how he intended his…

  • Furious 7

    Furious 7 2015

    Watched 02 Apr, 2015 9

    Back in 2011, I wandered into a screening of Fast Five under the impression I was about to sit through another droll two hours of a Fast and the Furious movie. The previous 4 movies had ranged from mildly entertaining to absolute boredom. Two hours later, I was a born again fan. The series (to indulge a really tired metaphor) had installed a new engine under its hood. It was running faster and more furious. There was a new energy.…

  • Dog Star Man: Prelude

    Dog Star Man: Prelude 1961

    Watched 27 Mar, 2015 1

    Boyhood for the Avant-Garde crowd.

    Technically this is something that should be watched in complete silence but I live in Miami which means people are constantly partying outside so that's practically impossible when my neighbors are blasting "Compay Jose" for the billionth god damn time. So I had to resort to making my own soundtrack to play against Stan Brakhage's rhythmic images, and I chose Death Grips because why the fuck not?

    And let me tell you something: I experienced…

  • True Grit

    True Grit 2010

    Watched 14 Mar, 2015 1

    **Part of the Best Picture Project**

    Not entirely sure why I was so [relatively] harsh on this when I first saw it. Though it avoids the Coens' usual storytelling subversion in favor of a more classical approach, it's still very much imbued with their sensibilities.

    There's a real love and craft to the images on display here. The Coens have always been great when it comes to how they shoot their films, and in reeling back into a traditional story,…

  • Focus

    Focus 2015

    Watched 27 Feb, 2015

    Focus is being advertised as a film about con artists, but it's really a film about movie stars. From its charismatic leads to its stylish visuals to its materialistic pornography (I could only think about how many new shirts and jackets I wanted), it's a film that lives in that A list world most movie audiences wish they could be a part of.

    It's a kind of film that isn't made that much anymore. Mid budget films focused on the…

  • Whiplash

    Whiplash 2014

    Watched 06 Jan, 2015 3

    This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    People who find that the film is endorsing Fletcher's methods are missing the clear signs that Andrew is desperate for acceptance and masculine recognition. From his rude behavior at the dinner table to attacking Fletcher for being dismissed, it's entirely necessary to understand that our protagonist here isn't someone the film wants to succeed but change. In that very essence, the film's ending is a tragedy, born out of Andrew's full submission to Fletcher's ways in spite of his own…

  • The Theory of Everything

    The Theory of Everything 2014

    Watched 16 Dec, 2014

    This is not a very good movie, but somewhere in the second half the characters began to hint at a complexity that had been absent in the youthful grace of the first half. Feelings get complicated, the conflict becomes a little more heated, and it all becomes a bit thematically grander. In the final scene, where Redmayne and Jones look out on their children, reminding them of their own youth and how far they had come, I felt oddly moved.…

  • The Imitation Game

    The Imitation Game 2014

    Watched 18 Jan, 2015

    This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    I'm completely fine with changing/ignoring details to make for a better story. Art is not beholden to historical truth, only emotional truths. The problem with The Imitation Game is that it trades Turing's really complex and interesting life for a boring and regressive by the numbers biopic.

    Turing was, by all accounts, an utter asshole. Yet Tyldum has Cumberbatch soften that portrayal, always making sure that even when Turing is being short with someone else, he's always autistically naive rather…

  • Taken 3

    Taken 3 2015

    Watched 13 Feb, 2015

    This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    The problem with recasting Xander Berkeley with Dougray Scott is that Scott is such a devious looking individual that I know immediately he's probably the bad guy. For a film that keeps trying to hide the motivations behind the framed murder, it's pretty obvious to figure out when you have Dougray Scott wearing his "I'm totally not a villain, guys. I swear this time." face. Meanwhile, Xander Berkeley has such a normal schlub look to him that I at least…