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  • Captain Phillips 2013

    ★★★★ Watched 20 Oct, 2013

    I really dug it. Hanks is great, so is Abdi. And what makes this worthwhile is that both of them get fair treatment in how the story is structured (despite the one-sided title). Pretty strong similarities to Zero Dark Thirty in tone and tension, and how they’re not quite really about the obvious thematic baggage they might have easily tended toward. The scale of the stuff - real gigantic boats and aircraft - made me think of 80s/90s action movies. Very refreshing. Also, having captain on the bridge talking to engineering down with the engines reminded me of Star Trek. Great stuff.

  • Enough Said 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 18 Nov, 2013

    Sometimes we are our own worst enemy, as they say. Louis-Dreyfus is a genius. Gandolfini is instantly lovable. Keener plays a perfect flaky narcissist. Such a good heart to this movie.

  • Gravity 2013

    ★★★★ Watched 04 Oct, 2013

    It’s definitely worth seeing. Very stressful in an entertaining way. Gotta respect a movie with moments where just grabbing a rail feels like the most important thing in the universe. It’s a steady sequence of disasters and new problems. The special effects are just tremendous. I love the way Cuarón plays with the sound, changing with the environment or how the camera or the viewpoint would experience it. The score is omnipresent, for better or worse, depending on how you…

  • Dallas Buyers Club 2013

    ★★★ Watched 07 Dec, 2013

    It’s not great, but never really goes wrong, and I like the moment-to-moment push and urgency of the thing. Great to see a likable hero who never remotely approaches perfection. Matthew McConaughey is something special.

  • Under the Skin 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 29 Apr, 2014

    Even now, a couple weeks later, I’m still not sure if I liked it or not. Which technically is a “yes”. At the least, I appreciate that there’s nothing quite like it.

  • In a World... 2013

    ★★★★★ Watched 18 Sep, 2013

    Loved it. The power of voice! And such a great a set of characters. No one is perfect; no one is irredeemable. I couldn’t help but think of Frances Ha, but this one, like its protagonist, is far more polished. A really fine piece of work.

  • Snowpiercer 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 11 Jul, 2014

    I keep thinking about this one. There are plenty of logical flaws, loopholes, heavy-handed messaging, whatever. But it’s so cool. The railroad car constraint lends to some great invention with sets and storytelling and form. Evans shows some range you don’t get to see in the Marvel movies. Swinton drives me nuts sometimes, but I really appreciated her role here for both evil and levity. I rank this highly among 2014 releases, in the good company of Edge of Tomorrow, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and The Lego Movie.

  • Only God Forgives 2013

    ★★ Watched 03 Aug, 2013

    Almost fell asleep. Veeerrry nice to look at, here and there, but it’s kinda boring. Even setting aside plot and taking everything as symbol or allegory or myth or archetype, the tension didn’t hold for me. None of the energy or electricity you see in Drive. Not quite as starkly focused as Valhalla Rising. No knockout performance like in Bronson. All that said, I did dig the ongoing hands/power/potency theme, and the use of an international setting without a ton of dumb exoticizing.

  • Pacific Rim 2013

    ★★★ Watched 13 Jul, 2013

    It’s a pretty mediocre-to-bad movie that I had a lot of fun watching. The dialogue is merely serviceable when it isn’t just blatant crib notes for the audience. It borrows from many good sources (Japanese montster/mecha/anime traditions, Top Gun, Star Wars, Star Trek, Transformers, Aliens, and more…), but doesn’t rise to their level. It trades in some really terrible international typing. The comic-relief duo is cringe-worthy. It also got caught in a weird zone where it was too long, they…

  • Ain't Them Bodies Saints 2013

    ★★★★ Watched 04 Sep, 2013

    Really enjoyed this one. Love the soundtrack, trimmed down to strings and clapping. There’s some DNA of tense Texas slow-pursuit films like No Country for Old Men, crossed with strains of outlaw lover flicks like Badlands and parts of Days of Heaven.

  • World War Z 2013

    ★★★ Watched 11 Oct, 2013

    Pretty stock adventure for most of its runtime, but the last act has some excellent tension. I’d still take I Am Legend or 28 Days Later or Night of the Living Dead over this one any day.

  • The Bling Ring 2013

    ★★★ Watched 10 Feb, 2014

    It's not amazing (characterization is pretty weak), but it does have an addictive energy to it. There's one burglary that's caught in a one-take long shot that's just perfect.