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  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

    Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2016

    ★★★★ Watched 30 Nov, 2016

    JK Rowling makes a very solid screenwriting debut with this cinematic expansion of her celebrated literary universe.

    The plot, as it is, comes off as rather thin...more so for a movie that feels the ever present need to be 140 minutes long. And there is an oddly pedantic reliance on a Deus Ex Machina formula that dilutes some of the impact out of the finale but, overall, it's not too bad. And I knocked the length but at least it…

  • The Secret Life of Pets

    The Secret Life of Pets 2016

    ★★★ Watched 20 Nov, 2016

    There's an idiosyncratic essence to this animated comedy starring Louis CK that I can't quite put my finger on.

    It takes place in New York, which I guess had to be a given, and it's about a bunch of cute animals with human personalities, which is basically how these things tend to be I guess and that's fine.

    The characters look cool and there's a vibrant energy to the animation. The people who did this also made those Despicable Me

  • Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

    Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb 2014

    ★★★ Watched 04 Nov, 2016

    Although this "trilogy" probably should've just been a one and done, I have to admit this is an improvement over the second entry.

    Maybe by default or design, this movie bookends the first to such an extent that you could probably skip the second one altogether.

    I guess a change of setting helps. I mean, let's be fair: The city has been changed from New York to "London," but it still consists mainly of Ben Stiller and company running around…

  • Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange 2016

    ★★★ Watched 03 Nov, 2016

    Outside of an exotic metaphysical scenario, I'd have to concede that there's probably not much that's "new" here far as the Marvel formula is concerned.

    In fact, this almost plays like a remake of Iron Man. You have an arrogant dick for a protagonist, who suffers a karmic comeuppance that ultimately teaches him the important lesson of how to give a shit.

    I do think it's noteworthy that the filmmakers themselves don't seem to give a shit. That is to…

  • Resident Evil

    Resident Evil 2002

    Watched 02 Nov, 2016

    What is this?

    Well, I'm not sure... But, if you've seen it and it's been years, chances are it's worse than you remember.

    For one thing those low rent cgi effects of the early 2000s...where they're so desperately trying to fool you into thinking this bargain basement Screen Gems or whatever blockbuster is slicker than you'd imagine...well they've certainly aged like hot garbage.

    But you know what? That would be okay. I still watch the old Star Trek TV show…

  • The Accountant

    The Accountant 2016

    ★★★★ Watched 29 Oct, 2016

    I guess Ben was a little jealous of his buddy Matt getting to do all those Bourne movies... So he figured, even though he'd been Daredevil, and was now Batman... Why not also be an autistic Jason Bourne?

    And so we have this pretty terrific little thriller. 

    It's compelling and suspenseful; and it's also quite a bit of unexpected fun.

    There is a massive exposition dump in the back third of the picture. I'm talking huge. It's: "Let's explain EVERYTHING…

  • Raiders of the Lost Ark

    Raiders of the Lost Ark 1981

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 27 Oct, 2016

    Let's just get it out of the way up front, because there's nothing I can really add...no fresh insight I have to bring to the table of universal acclaim this thing has continuously and consistent received since its theatrical release in the Summer of 1981.

    And, let's be fair, for good reason. Because, far as these things go, this is about as close to a "perfect" film as anything.

    So, yes... It's excellent, obviously. And yes... It stands the test…

  • Deepwater Horizon

    Deepwater Horizon 2016

    ★★★ Watched 25 Oct, 2016

    So this is basically like one of those prestige blockbuster disaster dramas...of which we had seemingly dozens coming down the pike throughout the 90s.

    And that's all well and good... And I guess, in and of itself, that makes the movie exactly what it is supposed to be and a reasonably watchable 100 minutes at the pictures if this happens to be what you're in the mood for.

    But, more than any of that, I want to discuss how distracting…

  • Desierto

    Desierto 2015

    ★★★ Watched 22 Oct, 2016

    So here's a little blurb for your video box: Will do for border jumping what Psycho did for showers and Jaws did for going to the fucking beach...

    I don't know that the Cuaron family deliberately timed this thing to get an American theatrical release in late 2016, but it's either a reaction to the horror of a Trump campaign or a strangely potent and prescient thriller that contextualizes American hostility towards illegal immigrants in an effectively entertaining way.

    Entertaining…

  • Inferno

    Inferno 2016

    ★★★ Watched 13 Oct, 2016

    I'm not going to lie. I find Dan Brown's Robert Langdon airport books to be compulsively readable entertainments. I've read them all... So here we go.

    None of them are free of issues, and the problem I had with this one is that it was preachy as hell... It was 400 pages of preachy Sixth Extinction dire warnings and 300 pages of standard Bob Langdon globe-trotting, puzzle-solving nonsense... With a cute twist, thrown in and then capped off by a…

  • Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

    Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian 2009

    ★★ Watched 12 Oct, 2016

    Change of location + contrived premise ... We have ourselves a standard comedy sequel.

    Far as that goes, I guess this one is kind of okay. I mean, it's basically isolated amusing bits and pieces in search of a whole, but it's okay.

    You get some genuinely fun stuff. There's an early bit with Jonah Hill that is exactly what you would expect out of a Jonah Hill cameo in a Ben Stiller movie... There's Amy Adams playing a spunky,…

  • Regression

    Regression 2015

    ★★★ Watched 11 Oct, 2016

    Alejandro Amenabar returns to the realm of thrillers after a hiatus with this potentially very schlocky material given classy and sophisticated treatment.

    It says "inspired by a true story" because this Minnesota based, 1990 set procedural draws its inspiration from America's Satanic Cult Paranoia of the 80s.

    So, although this specific case never happened, there were many reportedly like it. So let's let this one stand in for all of them, as Amenabar goes through a very personal agenda that…