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  • Sam's Song

    Sam's Song 1969

    ★★★ Watched 26 Aug, 2016 1

    This fatalistic, late sixties curiosity will be of interest for two reasons. 1. It's a Bobby DeNiro opus you've never heard of; and 2. You can almost make a case that he plays a "serious" or more laid back version of Rupert Pupkin.

    Because the film is not funny. And, if we're being 100% honest, it is rather boring.

    Because it has that lethargic pace of the contemplative, European-influenced, character catharsis cinema of the late 60s and the soothing, rich…

  • Balancing the Books

    Balancing the Books 2009

    Watched 26 Aug, 2016

    This is an interesting movie to see. Because it has an attractive DVD cover, a catchy title; and it boasts an attention-grabbing and eclectically varied cast of experienced and likable performers... That will grab your attention and probably compel you to choose this viewing selection as an acceptable time filler when you're looking for a thriller.

    Watching the movie, then, perfectly illustrates the indispensable nature of a nuanced screenplay with a focus on character depth and authenticity, good directing, art…

  • The Age of Adaline

    The Age of Adaline 2015

    ★★★★ Watched 18 Aug, 2016

    Blake Lively is excellent in this intriguing magic realism romance. And it is her excellence that enhances and elevates what would probably be dismissed as a relatively shallow and hollow enterprise.

    Shallow and hollow is not necessarily a bad thing, though, particularly when your goal is to create stirring emotion on a superficial level.

    It's just that maybe something more interesting could have been done with this intriguing premise...

    The premise is so good, in fact, that I had to…

  • Money Monster

    Money Monster 2016

    ★★★ Watched 17 Aug, 2016

    Up front, I'll just say we've seen this movie before. Take your pick, basically, but the whole "Righteously angry guy incites a very public hostage situation" thriller sub genre has many representatives. 

    I think my personal favorite is still Cadillac Man.

    But, if you're big on Mad City or John Q, I guess this one is for you.

    Here's the thing: It's basically pretty watchable and entertaining. You get George Clooney as a cooler version of Piers Morgan, basically (though…

  • Beyond the Reach

    Beyond the Reach 2014

    ★★ Watched 16 Aug, 2016

    It's hard to really gauge a trashy movie like this because you're distracted asking yourself what happened. That is to say: What was it about this project that appealed to Michael Douglas?

    Oh I can think of at least one thing. And it's that every actor enjoys that scenery-chewing bad guy part where they get to be the bad guy and they get to chew the scenery.

    So that's fine.

    The basic problem, though, is that for a movie like…

  • Locke

    Locke 2013

    ★★★ Watched 16 Aug, 2016

    Tom Hardy is one of the most magnetic actors working today. And if you want to understand how and why that is, then you need to watch this film.

    You'd probably do well to watch it anyway. Because it's good.

    I imagine this was an intriguing idea before it was a film: "Let's shoot a guy in real time as he drives down a motorway and takes calls on his very expensive car phone in his very expensive car." 

    It…

  • Sing Street

    Sing Street 2016

    ★★★★ Watched 14 Aug, 2016

    So I guess what it is...John Carney applies some of the Once magic to a cheerfully silly nostalgia piece. And the results, for the most part, work.

    For me... I guess it comes down to the music. And, sure, these songs are fun. And they evoke very clearly and very specifically the era and the tones they're aiming.

    Even if, to be perfectly honest, they're not particularly great or memorable songs.

    I guess what I'm saying is the integration...that expert…

  • Single White Female

    Single White Female 1992

    ★★★ Rewatched 07 Aug, 2016

    Bridget Fonda and, especially, Jennifer Jason Leigh do wonders for what is, at its very basic, a pretty disposable 90s thriller.

    Barbet Schroeder is a filmmaker with keen European sensibilities. So, yes, the film looks and feels very good...very elegant. That also helps to mask its essential hollow silliness.

    But, at its core, this is as "90s" as it gets. The NY fashion designer living an an impossibly beautiful fucking apartment right in fucking midtown...who can probably afford to live…

  • Suicide Squad

    Suicide Squad 2016

    ★★★★ Watched 04 Aug, 2016

    I don't know... Maybe I'm profoundly out of touch, because I glanced at the negative response this thing got... But, meanwhile, I'm just sitting here going: Wait a minute!!! Isn't this what these damn things are supposed to be? Isn't this what everyone was afraid it wasn't going to be?

    Because the thing is...I had fun. I had a lot of fun. And, frankly, if you take the time and the effort to pull that shiny stick you seem to…

  • The Legend of Tarzan

    The Legend of Tarzan 2016

    ★★ Watched 03 Aug, 2016

    There's a lot of good stuff here. That's the thing. And there's just enough good stuff that you very easily see where it all went wrong.

    It wouldn't surprise me, in fact, if the blu ray release is touted as "David Yates' Restored Director's Cut Vision" and we have this triumphant reassessment of things - a la Kingdom of Heaven - because I have to figure there's about half of this fucking thing that was just dumped onto a cutting…

  • Blackie the Pirate

    Blackie the Pirate 1971

    ★★ Watched 31 Jul, 2016

    There is some general interest to be had, I suppose, in seeing Terence Hill and Bud Spencer branch out beyond the Western genre for the first time. And they look the part wearing pirate costumes and standing around on big ships out at sea, as well as they look it wearing cowboy hats and sitting on horses in the desert landscapes of Spain...

    But, unfortunately, the best thing I can really say about the middling swashbuckler they decided to make…

  • Midnight Special

    Midnight Special 2016

    ★★★★ Watched 29 Jul, 2016

    Jeff Nichols' elegant tone poem of a genre piece has been compared to the classic work of Spielberg and Carpenter by some critics.

    I suppose, on the surface, it has something in common with some of those works. And it's not a stretch to say that Nichols was probably influenced to some degree by Close Encounters or, the film it most closely resembles, Starman.

    But this has a much more muted, existential quality than any of those. It's too meditative…