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  • Godzilla 2014

    ★★★ Watched 31 Oct, 2014 2

    How to make a great Godzilla movie:

    1) Stick to the outline. Godzilla movies are like BLTs: if you change the three-ingredient formula of this sandwich, you might end up with something good, but it won't be a Godzilla movie.

    2) Don't try to make this an affecting human drama. Let the characters be flat and simplistic as anime sketches.

    3) Include plenty of bone-headedly obvious dialogue.

    4) Bring some A-list actors to the party, just for the joy of…

  • Only God Forgives 2013

    ½ Watched 28 Oct, 2014 1

    Didn't get very far with this.

    I respect a lot of art that conscientiously studies, documents, or exposes violence. But when the tools of art are employed to celebrate it, when the depiction of violence becomes a films raison d'être — that's a different situation.

    The obvious point of reference is Tarantino. But for him, the conventions of revenge storytelling are primarily (and unfortunately) his framework of choice, a scaffold on which to hang a variety of wonderful things: from…

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  • The World's End 2013

    ★★★★ Rewatched 29 Aug, 2013 1

    I'm not the first person to say it, but it's true — this film, like the two before it, is designed to be seen a second time, when viewers will realize just how every fleeting moment either foretells upcoming events, sets up elaborate jokes, or reveals a punchline for a joke yet to be told. It's the fastest-moving, most confidently scripted and edited film I've seen this year. And the action scenes are dizzyingly joyous. When was the last time…

  • Blue Ruin 2013

    ★★★★ Watched 12 Oct, 2014 3

    "That's what bullets do."

    A solid, riveting, nail-biter of a revenge thriller. It builds suspense so assuredly that its swift bursts of humor are as shocking as its gory blasts of violence. And the more intense it gets, the funnier it gets.

    It refrains, thank goodness, from glorifying revenge or valorizing the revenge-seeker. We can feel empathy for him while objecting all along to the stupid decisions he makes, laughing in grim dismay as he makes bad situations worse.

    I…