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  • Looper

    Looper 2012

    ★★★½ Watched 30 Sep, 2012

    I suspect that, like the protagonist's older doppelganger's shifting memories, this won't hang long in my mind, but while it is there I can only take pleasure in Johnson's handling of time travel on emotional terms. Johnson reins in some of the self-indulgence that weighed down The Brothers Bloom to get back to good solid storytelling, even if, as Jeff Daniels' character says, it copies films that copy other films.

  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

    The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 2012

    Watched 15 Dec, 2012

    One star for Martin Freeman's fun performance, and even that may have been stripped if I'd seen this in 48fps. It is excruciating and incompetent enough at the normal rate.

  • The Cabin in the Woods

    The Cabin in the Woods 2012

    ★★★½ Rewatched 08 Aug, 2014

    Had no pressing urge to ever revisit this, despite really liking it, yet some friends put it on the other night and damned if it didn't still entertain the hell out of me.

  • The Cabin in the Woods

    The Cabin in the Woods 2012

    ★★★★ Watched 13 Apr, 2012

    After trying for horror film commentary with Cloverfield, Drew Goddard tries again and scores with Cabin in the Woods, which surpasses the love-letter-to-horror of Sam Raimi's Drag Me to Hell and serves as an excellent piece of criticism on the genre. Funny without being too cute about its meta-awareness, creepy without resorting to too many cheap scares, Cabin is simply brilliant.

  • Frozen

    Frozen 2013

    ★★ Watched 12 Jan, 2014 1

    Wasn't overly fussed over this, despite finding the snowman amusing (sometimes I'm easy to please) and really getting on with some of its sly subversions of expectation toward the end. But I'd rather the whole film challenged Disney's staid animated projects than the last 10 minutes, and I didn't find any of the songs to be memorable even while watching it, much less nearly a week later. In terms of Disney's last few projects, I'm still more enamored with TANGLED,…

  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

    The Hunger Games: Catching Fire 2013

    ★★★ Watched 23 Nov, 2013

    A marked improvement over the first, effectively replaying all of the elements that could have been done well the first time but with more refinement. The cast is excellent—though NO ONE could salvage some of these lines—and what we lost in Wes Bentley's beard we make up for in PSH's smarm, a double-dose of agreeable twitchiness from Jeffrey Wright and Amanda Plummer, and Jena Malone being Jena Malone. There also seemed to be an actual world this time, as opposed…

  • The World's End

    The World's End 2013

    ★★★★★ Watched 24 Aug, 2013 1

    A summary of Wright to this point, from Tim's man-child defense of emotional maturity with a plea to TERMINATOR 2 to SCOTT PILGRIM's ability to find self-discovery in fighting (something few Western action films even seek to convey). Wright employed jump cuts to match Scott's ADD space-outs, and here the fight choreography is coherent even as the camera slurs a bit and swings itself to and fro among the characters as if it too attempted the Golden Mile. The references,…

  • The World's End

    The World's End 2013

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 29 Nov, 2013

    Still not quite sure about its last, oh, 45 seconds, still more than sure about its remaining ones. Eddie Marsan's "Yes it fucking is!" shook me even harder a second time, I'm not sure how.

  • The Hunger Games

    The Hunger Games 2012

    ★★½ Watched 23 Mar, 2012

    I've not read the book, but the movie made me want to; it's full of fascinating ideas and the most clever extrapolation of human behavior I've seen come from a YA novel. Unfortunately, this half-directed mess is struggling for its PG-13 rating and has to cut around everything in a shaky cam frenzy. Every time I thought the film might truly stick a knife in the audience, it settled for jumbling them instead. A shame.

  • Dallas Buyers Club

    Dallas Buyers Club 2013

    ½ Watched 25 Feb, 2014 33

    It's easy, if one only ever has to suffer a few times a year the no-budget, no-talent indies dumped on one-week NY runs and burned onto screener discs, to have a charmed view of what constitutes a bad film. Truth be told, with the number of films produced domestically exploding in recent years thanks to mass proliferation of acceptable-quality, cheap DV, it's a good bet that the vast majority of American movies made each year now consist of films made…

  • Godzilla

    Godzilla 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 12 May, 2014 1

    In an otherwise embarrassingly gung-ho review of the film in Little White Lies, a shout-out to painter John Martin provides a good prism through which to view GODZILLA. Yes, the first act's a drag, and the film flirts with some kind of political statement before swiftly falling back on the more straightforward "Let them fight" tone of the original sequels, not the '54 film. Having to spend any time with Aaron Taylor-Johnson will never not feel like punishment.

    But when…

  • Star Trek Into Darkness

    Star Trek Into Darkness 2013

    ★½ Watched 16 May, 2013

    I've only just gotten into TNG and sporadically watched TOS, so I'm not a die-hard at all, but this is so far from what Star Trek is it is truly repulsive. "I thought we were explorers," Scotty protests right around the time I thought the same thing, but the idealism of Gene Roddenberry is unfashionable, so instead we get slick cynicism and an utter lack of consequences. To begin the film with a casual violation of the Prime Directive that…