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  • Sabotage 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 26 Mar, 2014

  • The Raid 2 2014

    ½ Watched 27 Mar, 2014 1

    There are people making worse films (at least he gets great fight choreography), but if I could stop anyone from making movies, I think it would be Gareth Evans and his infantile understanding of drama, slipshod directorial ability, and almost comical post-Nolan extremity. This is garbage, sickeningly and meaninglessly violent, without even a whisper of mitigating wit and, like the first film, ultimately tedious in otherwise remarkable fight scenes for how indifferently and lazily they are established and how they all blend together into one indiscriminate whole.

  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier 2014

    ★★★ Watched 27 Mar, 2014 1

    I really shouldn't like this movie. It's overlong, over-serious (despite those moments of air-dropped Whedon punch-up that are starting to feel perfunctory instead of charming), and it continues Marvel's trend of having the dullest villains in blockbusters, Loki excluded. But I still can't get enough of Chris Evans' Cap, who manages to pull off the aw-shucks, Greatest Generation throwback but square that tone with the disgust he feels at modern politics and warfare. His hero name also gives away his…

  • Veronica Mars 2014

    ★★★ Watched 12 Mar, 2014

    Fan service as existentially trapped horror. I'm choosing to believe that's an intentional mark of the movie and not an accidental revelation of its need to please. Also a reminder that Bell has never come close to seeming as natural and destined a star as she does when playing this part.

  • Need for Speed 2014

    Watched 10 Mar, 2014

    Two-hour long setup to a women can't drive joke. Spare me.

  • 300: Rise of an Empire 2014

    Watched 04 Mar, 2014

    The first 2/3 of POMPEII are still terrible to me but it's useful to compare how beautifully Anderson stages pandemonium (not just in an aesthetic sense but a human one) to a bloodlusty POS like this. What attempts are made to address some of the blinkered history of Frank Miller's masturbatory fantasy (i.e. pointing out that less trained Athenians pulled off far more impressive tactical feats than the Spartans) is quickly subsumed into a general love of carnage and a…

  • Non-Stop 2014

    ★★ Watched 25 Feb, 2014

    Neeson gets put into a scenario that renders irrelevant his gravitas and the increasingly superhuman strength he's shown in action movies. That keeps things lively for about the first hour, but then they try to apply meaning to the villain's sadism and seeming omniscience that is an inevitable come-down, made worse by how poorly the film adjusts for new wrinkles; here is a movie that works best as a repetitive cycle and collapses when it tries to introduce an actual arc. I wouldn't mind seeing some additional Neeson-Moore team-ups in the future, though.

  • Hard to Be a God 2014

    ★★★★★ Watched 30 Jan, 2014

    Not since THE TAKING OF POWER BY LOUIS XIV has the sheer stench of a pre-indoor-plumbing world emanated from a film as it does in HARD TO BE A GOD. Confounding (I would not hazard a plot summary even using a synopsis of the book it's based on for reference without at least another viewing) but tactile, German's final film is one that relentlessly looks at the world without sentiment, as a place slick with blood and shit. And rather…

  • In Secret 2014

    ★½ Watched 18 Feb, 2014

    The actors are so committed it's a shame they're stuck in this ascetic slog. The last hour progresses so haphazardly that I'm not sure whether the shooting script itself omitted any and all segues between the material's intervallic mood swings or if editing sliced out anything that wasn't totally necessary to plot or eye candy for the sake of making this bore shorter. I didn't realize until halfway into it that THIRST adapted the same Zola book. Then I spent the rest of the time just wanting to go watch THIRST.

  • Pompeii 2014

    ★½ Watched 19 Feb, 2014 4

    Anderson's worst since MORTAL KOMBAT. Takes the worst parts of TITANIC and GLADIATOR (well, maybe not all the bad parts from GLADIATOR; otherwise it'd be four hours long) and makes the audience endure them until the volcano explodes. Never have I been tempted to respond to mass extermination with "FINALLY" before, but Jesus Christ. In fairness, when that destruction comes, it's the best of its kind I've ever seen, and more truly terrifying to me than any of Emmerich's end-of-days pictures. Otherwise, I'm gonna close my eyes and wait for RE6.

  • The LEGO Movie 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 01 Feb, 2014

    Anarchic and almost endlessly quotable, though if the film is not, contrary to some wishful liberals and easily offended conservatives, anti-business, it does chide the toy makers it's about to turn a profit for by pointing out the absurdity of transitioning something meant to open the imagination into rigid, preplanned sets with instructions to guide everything. By the same token, it also understands that sometimes, banding together to do things the boring, "proper" way is necessary. Would've given this a…

  • The Monuments Men 2014

    ★½ Watched 23 Feb, 2014 1

    I was depressed at how disappointing I found POMPEII, but I'll take a movie like that, in which idiocy is rendered smartly (at least some of the time), over this kind of rot, the "refined" movie pitched at such a condescending level that the audience should feel insulted by how childishly they are treated. Clooney can't go six minutes without throwing in some Jeff Winger speech about the importance of the mission, always to the comrades that already believe fervently…