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  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone 2001

    ★★★ Rewatched 19 Dec, 2014

    Production value up the wazoo, endlessly bombastic John Williams music; and pretty much a perfect cast.

    It is, in fact, the immediate likability of that cast...these kids, which serves to counter the film's major shortcoming.

    Namely: its fastidiousness.

    Steve Kloves' screenplay is faithful to a fault... He takes an episodic children's novel and effectively transforms it into an episodic kiddie film. It feels, in fact, like watching an entire season of television in one sitting. Its central "story" has so…

  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies 2014

    ★★ Watched 15 Dec, 2014

    And so the journey is complete; as Peter Jackson's seemingly eternal tenure of Middle Earth comes to an end with this bombastic, yet strangely unceremonious, finale.

    In any case, Peter Jackson can now claim a complete six film cycle that, for better or worse, is at least going to feel a lot more concise and cohesive than George Lucas' sci-fi version.

    I suppose, in due time, it will be a worthwhile effort to sit down and go through all of…

  • Interstellar 2014

    ★★★★★ Watched 09 Nov, 2014

    Christopher Nolan wears his influences on his sleeve about as blatantly as Tarantino if you really pay attention. The difference is he masks it in a sense of academia that passes for subtlety. And so, the mark of inspiration is all over this. There's bits of Kubrick, chunks of Spielberg, a dash of Tarkovsky and, just for seasoning, a little Soderbergh.

    Oh, it's clear from the get go what Blu Rays Nolan was checking out in preparation for this. And,…

  • The Rocketeer 1991

    ★★★★ Rewatched 03 Nov, 2014 3

    When Joe Johnston gave Raiders of the Lost Ark a modern superhero spin a couple of years ago, the result was Captain America. And the crowds cheered.

    And yet, when he did pretty much the same thing - and I'd argue he did it better - in the Summer of 1991, they stayed away in droves.

    Maybe Disney didn't know how to market this. Maybe people had their fill of old fashioned adventure with Kevin Costner not bothering to sound…

  • The Town That Dreaded Sundown 1976

    ★★ Watched 01 Nov, 2014

    A proto-slasher from back when the most important thing seemed to be that these movies were "based on a true story."

    Of course that's usually a load of baloney, but this one is probably a little more truthful than most. In any case, there really was a killer who went around murdering couples in Texarkana in the late forties.

    Now then, how historically accurate all of this is doesn't really matter. Since its mission first and foremost is just to…

  • Grounded: Making The Last of Us 2013

    ★★★ Watched 01 Nov, 2014

    I suppose only a hardcore fan of this extraordinary game is going to get a lot out of watching this feature-length EPK.

    Though, in all honesty, The Last Of Us is probably one of the top examples of interactive storytelling out there right now. It's a good one to point to as an example of video games as an emerging medium for storytelling and genuine artistic expression.

    The process of making it was complicated. As it is with most video…

  • Sabotage 2014

    ★★★ Watched 01 Nov, 2014

    At absolute face value, this grim action picture is pretty fucking stupid. David Ayer applies his corrupt cops formula to a Ten Little Indians narrative; in which Schwarzenegger's top class DEA team all start getting gruesomely offed, one by one, after an attempt to rip off a cartel presumably goes wrong.

    There's not much in the way of sophistication or wit here by any means. But, on the other hand, Arnold is given a late period Charles Bronson/Lee Marvin type…

  • I Know That Voice 2013

    ★★★ Watched 01 Nov, 2014

    I'm glad they made this.

    Because these are some extremely talented people. And it's very cool to see them all sit and talk about their craft, demonstrating how it is very much an acting art form all to its own.

    If you have any affection at all for any of these characters, this will be nice to see. But, just looking at it as a showcase is enough to put you in awe.

    It's a little too focused on current…

  • Silent Running 1972

    ★★★★ Watched 31 Oct, 2014

    Douglas Trumbull's strange, hypnotic adventure is - first and foremost - visually stunning... And you expect that, given the talent involved. You expect an arresting production design, model work and special effects that were the very state of the art in the era.

    It's also a tour de force performance piece for the very wonderful Bruce Dern.

    Those are the surface details. But, beyond that, here's a movie that is pretty much unlike anything else produced in the genre.


  • The Buddy Holly Story 1978

    ★★★★ Watched 31 Oct, 2014

    Is this the one that set the template? Because it's basically a checklist movie. As it progresses, you can tick off every box on the item list and it covers all the bases.

    Now, I wish they had come up with a better title. Something that doesn't sound like THE ABC SUNDAY NIGHT MOVIE... Or a TBS MOVIE OF THE WEEK... Because it's actually really good.

    A biopic of this nature is only going to be as good as its…

  • Footloose 1984

    ★★★ Watched 30 Oct, 2014

    It's an enjoyable chunk of corn that gets by on the charm of its leads and a nostalgic soundtrack full of hits that people like.

    But that's really all it is.

    Herbert Ross doesn't quite have the sense of flair of Adrian Lyne. So, when it came time for him to do his "MTV movie," the result is something rather stiff and stuffy. There are some good, memorable sequences. "Let's Hear It for the Boy" is a good example -…

  • Say Anything... 1989

    ★★★★ Watched 30 Oct, 2014

    What sets Cameron Crowe's teen movie apart from the pack is its intelligence, which runs through the entire picture - from the screenplay to the soundtrack to the casting - and never feels smug or self important.

    Also... It's not a gimmick or high concept movie in the least. It's just a human love story about two real people, anchored by three terrific performances at the core.

    John Cusack and Ione Skye play two very believable young people who fall…