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  • The Grey 2011

    ★★★★ Watched 13 Jan, 2013

    It’s great. Watch it. There are (spoiler) wolves that (spoiler) eat people! Cinematically! The occasional narration and flashbacks in the story didn’t entirely sit well with me right away, but the strength of the rest of the acting, set pieces, sound work, and general grim relentlessness were spot-on. I think maybe you can even argue in favor of the bluntness of the voiceover writing. We’re so used to heroes being accomplished, superlative, clever, admirable. This is kind of a regular…

  • Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol 2011

    ★★★ Watched 07 Jan, 2013

    Forget the skyscraper scene, that dust storm chase was dope. Pretty stock otherwise, but with smartphones! I’m glad I saw it (it’s the second-best of the modern MI series, after the first one), despite all the times it made me groan. Oh, and Patton’s Jane Carter has nothing, nothing on Carano’s Mallory Kane in Haywire.

  • Take Shelter 2011

    ★★★★★ Watched 06 Mar, 2012

    This one isn’t great as a thriller, because you go in thinking the guy’s gonna be a lunatic and you don’t buy for a second that it’s not just all in his head. BUT, and this is huge, it’s really, really good just as a movie about mental illness. I don’t think I’ve seen many movies this convincingly sympathetic. Often when I see extreme psychological issues on screen (recently: Antichrist, Repulsion, Black Swan) it feels like an excuse for spectacle,…

  • Martha Marcy May Marlene 2011

    ★★★★½ Rewatched 21 Jun, 2014

    I loved it the first time I saw it. Now I’m even more convinced that it’s pretty special. We have the privilege of seeing all sides, and how hard it is for each to understand the other. Another awesome movie that explores the gap between what one person feels and what others experience is Take Shelter, which has been on my re-watch for way too long. Watch that one, and this one.

  • The Hunter 2011

    ★★★★ Rewatched 20 Jan, 2014

    Dang, I love this movie.

  • The Hunter 2011

    ★★★★ Watched 25 Dec, 2012

    Great movie! Dafoe is awesome per usual. I was also pleasantly surprised to not just tolerate, but really enjoy the child actors. It’s nice to watch Dafoe doing the day-to-day tasks of setting traps, navigating, recording the day’s work. I don’t love the opening and closing plot elements, but you have to have something to get the rest rolling. I love the environmental sounds in this one: water drips, crickets, bird calls and such. And there’s a wonderful Springsteen moment.

  • Shame 2011

    ★★★ Watched 11 Mar, 2012

    Just like with Hunger, my interest rarely wavered but I’m not totally sure what to make of it. It felt odd that a movie that’s so vivid and unafraid is also so… conservative? I’d scrap the song scene, which is a fine performance but so, so dreary compared to the rest of the movie. Michael Fassbender is incredible, though (makes me even more excited for Prometheus). Carey Mulligan is also great, with the reservation that I like her role’s characterizing-Fassbender function much more than her plot function as the movie progresses. I’m pretty sure I’ll watch whatever Steve McQueen’s next movie is.

  • 50/50 2011

    ★★★ Watched 27 Oct, 2012

    No major flaws, no major features. Brick is still my favorite movie with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, though I haven’t seen all that many.

  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy 2011

    ★★★½ Rewatched 04 Mar, 2014

    I still like it. Such a nice change of pace, embodied in Oldman’s lead role. Patient, cautious, taciturn, deliberate.

  • Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy 2011

    ★★★½ Watched 08 Jan, 2012

    I enjoyed this much more than expected, because/despite the fact that I got lost every now and then. This one shows a lot of sitting, reading, thinking, talking—a nice contrast to more action-packed spy movies. I’d gladly see it again, in the comfort of my own home.

  • Warrior 2011

    ★★★★½ Rewatched 12 Mar, 2013

    I’ve raved about this movie before. A few things I appreciate on third viewing… 1. The efficiency of the startup. A few bits of dialogue, usually barbs hinting at old wounds. Some are too vague to be effective (“That shit you pulled”), but some are so wincingly perfect for character and delivery (“Must be tough to find a girl who could take a punch nowadays.”) 2. Shot, reverse-shot. Sports movies have to deliver on dialogue when you’re not at the…

  • Warrior 2011

    ★★★★½ Rewatched 14 Dec, 2012

    So good, you guys. I love this movie. It does nothing you don’t expect but it does it all so well. Like Umberto Eco says, "When all the archetypes burst in shamelessly, we reach Homeric depths. Two cliches make us laugh. A hundred cliches move us."