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  • The Place Beyond the Pines 2013

    Watched 16 Apr, 2013 3

    Definitive proof that "novelistic" is not in and of itself a compliment. Cianfrance continues to be blind to the implications of his classist designs, and now he adds sexism and, in the Bickle-esque glances of rage on the faces of those who see a black man and are ultimately sympathized with, racism. Mirroring structure does not communicate existential trap of sins of the fathers passed onto sons but sub-Innaritu bullshit of loaded-dice fate. There are sequences in which every single…

  • X-Men: Days of Future Past 2014

    ★★ Watched 20 May, 2014

    Why is this even a time travel movie? It does so astoundingly little with its own premise that the future stuff exists only for a sub-operatic mass-killing of heroes, only some of whom are familiar, that lacks the bite of the comics' depiction of same because now superhero death is old hat. It's one good setpiece involves a character who subsequently disappears from the movie; he doesn't die, he just goes home to watch TV, as if the writers realized…

  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2012

    ★★½ Watched 03 Jul, 2012

    The bit where Garfield is adjusting to his powers is fantastic. Everything else is muddled, poorly shot and contradictory. But it has potential, at least, to not suck.

  • Prisoners 2013

    ★★ Watched 21 Sep, 2013 1

    A promising opening that moves quickly but patiently through the realization of children gone missing, allowing comprehension to dawn on parents without taking too long to get to the event, soon collapses as Villeneuve's arthouse-thriller aesthetic puts enough space in the shots that the distended, half-connected threads of the script have more room to fall apart. The film's greatest tension is in the total incompatibility of its forced stabs at social relevance (which at least aren't as clumsily on the…

  • Goodfellas 1990

    ★★★★★ Watched 28 Dec, 2013 1

    I love returning to this film. As a teenager, I thought it was just the coolest movie ever, yet I'm reminded of Ebert's thoughts on returning to LA DOLCE VITA throughout his life: the movie never changes, but I do, and every time I revisit GOODFELLAS every few years, I see more and more cracks, its coolness a subjective veneer of the gangsters' self-perception that clashes with how increasingly banal they seem. Looking at it after seeing THE WOLF OF…

  • The Great Gatsby 2013

    ★★ Watched 07 Dec, 2013

    Leonardo DiCaprio is actually really great in this and helped bring out Gatsby better than my high-school reading of the book did. My favorite scene of the film is the one of his and Daisy's brutally awkward reunion, in which Gatsby's veneer of cool and control utterly collapses in nervousness worthy of a teenager who realizes that, after pulling every string he can to get in contact with the woman on whom he has a crush, he has absolutely no…

  • Guardians of the Galaxy 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 30 Jul, 2014

    Most assuredly a Marvel movie, with formulaic turns, dialogue that thinks it's cleverer than it is, and a general flattening of the risks inherent in plucking such a C-list team for franchise elevation. Even so, this is up there with the two Captain Americas as the best the studio's put out; as bad as the opening of young Star Lord watching his mother is, the fact that we then leap over all the bullshit of watching him grow up in…

  • Thor: The Dark World 2013

    ★★ Watched 29 Nov, 2013 2

    The climax, despite its modest aesheticization, is the most ambitious thing Marvel have yet tried to pull. It's a shame that, for all the desperate attempts for comic relief, the sheer absurdity of its Duck Amuck climax is taken so bloody seriously. And you have to love the notion that even Marvel's writers are so sick of the stingers that a major character dies and is obviously reborn within a matter of a few cuts.

  • 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…

  • 21 Jump Street 2012

    ★★★★ Watched 18 Mar, 2012

    Man, just, well done, everyone. Ably parodies and affectionately salutes tropes both classic and modern. I need to see it again just to hear all the lines I laughed over.

  • Stoker 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 08 Aug, 2013

    Even Hitchcock might have balked at the on-the-nose suggestions of this film's visual symbolism, but Park's English-language debut succeeds largely because of how little spoken language there is. The worst actor, Goode, gets the bulk of the lines, leaving Kidman's still-frozen but sufficiently limbered up face and Wasikowska's bring-it grimace to say all they need to say with only a handful of words per line. Park knows how to shoot their faces, stiff with willpower or injections, and how to…

  • Elysium 2013

    Watched 04 Jan, 2014

    In the future, the wealthy will be so rich they can trick out their voices with custom accents.