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  • How Vietnam Was Lost 2005

    ★★★½ Watched 13 Nov, 2012

    “And then the battle started.”

    Prior to watching this movie, I never really registered that the Vietnam War lasted so long – almost exactly two decades, from 1955 to 1975. And while the documentary doesn’t try to summarize the conflict’s entire convoluted and painful history, taking almost the opposite approach – only two fateful days in October 1967 – the long-term impact of the horrors of the War is obvious in the reactions of most of interviewed people.

    How Vietnam…

  • Jack Reacher 2012

    ★★½ Watched 30 Dec, 2012 9

    Remember that episode of The office when the crew discovers Michael Scott’s secret action movie screenplay, featuring his
    thinly-veiled alter ego Michael Scorn – the perfect human being slash action hero? You’ll be pleased to hear it’s just been adapted for the silver screen.

    You suspected it ever since the trailer announced “if he’s coming for you, you deserve it” without a hint of irony but boy, did you ever imagine the extent of it. Jack Reacher is essentially propaganda,…

  • Django Unchained 2012

    ★★★½ Watched 29 Dec, 2012 5

    The first half of Django unchained is as close to perfection as it gets. Every single masterful frame just oozes personality, and the story flows with astonishing smoothness. The idea is original and engrossing, the action riveting, Christoph Waltz steals most of the limelight in his fantastic portrayal of a silver-mouthed (yet rational) bounty hunter, and everything’s sprinkled with just the right amounts of humour. The intermissions linking subsequent scenes alone exhibit more bravado and visual poetry than other director’s…

  • Spider-Man 2 2004

    ★★★ Rewatched 28 Dec, 2012

    “What a great collection,” I thought the moment the Fasten Your Seatbelt sign flickered out and I had a chance to browse the onboard entertainment library at the beginning of an 11-hour transpacific flight. “All of those movies I wanted to see, but I missed in the theaters. They have Searching for Sugar Man and I will finally be able to watch Beasts of the Southern Wild.” But that was my ambitious, worldly side talking. “Why don’t you get off…

  • Eega 2012

    ★★★★ Watched 22 Dec, 2012

    Pressing Save after I’m done writing this review will forever enshrine it as the first recorded viewing of Makkhi on Letterboxd. That hardly makes me Vasco da Gama, though, as the circumstances were as arbitrary as they can get: a six-hour bus ride to and from an Indian temple, and a flat screen TV in front projecting Tollywood hits. Of those, Makkhi proved to be by far the most memorable, and in the year of quite a few unique watching

  • Premium Rush 2012

    ★★★½ Watched 19 Dec, 2012

    This movie has a higher body count than 300 and Saving Private Ryan combined… or it would have, if it was at least a little bit realistic. I don a helmet and bike in city traffic pretty much every single day and what those riders are doing here would definitely get them killed. Many excruciating times over. I’m still recovering from going over the handlebars months ago, in a situation much less dangerous than most portrayed here, and every time…

  • Silver Linings Playbook 2012

    ★★★★½ Watched 07 Dec, 2012

    Movie trailers is a subject worthy of its own social website (Letterboxd Mini?), and their taxonomy invites hour-long discussions. Among many types, we have the No–Spoiler-Left–Behinds, the Everyone–Speaking–In–One-Liners, the Stupid–Joke–At–The–End–Ruining–Everythings, the You–Thought–That–Was–The–Last–Explosion–Think–Agains, the Boy–Aren’t–You–So–Proud–Of–That–Typographical–Treatment–Of–The–Release–Dates and the ever-popular Can’t–Believe–They’re–Still–Using–Clint–Mansell’s–Musics. And then, there’s the elusive Trojan-Horse, a trailer which (deliberately or otherwise) promises a much worse movie than it actually is.

    Silver linings playbook was sold as a generic romantic comedy – the pairing of a good-looking hunk who’s been in a…

  • Miracle on 34th Street 1947

    ★★★★ Watched 30 Nov, 2012

    For someone who prefers Enemy of the state to The conversation, and who’d skip Bullitt just to re-watch Bad boys 2 (there, I said it), sitting through a black-and-white movie from 1947 sounds like a tall order. Surprisingly, though, the order turned out not just rather short, but also pretty entertaining.

    If movies are exercises in escapism, this one was doubly so. Black-and-white. Decades old. From Hollywood(land), but yesteryear’s, with no single actor I knew. Front-loaded with so many credits.…

  • Labyrinth 1986

    ★★½ Rewatched 22 Nov, 2012 7

    I’d like to start by thanking whoever invented the observer effect – my friends and I watched Labyrinth on Thanksgiving, and it was our snarky, NSFMT (Not Safe For Movie Theatre) commentary that made us all go through it somewhat entertained and relatively unscathed.

    Otherwise, this is such a weird and creepy movie. The action starts way too soon, without allowing anyone to invest much in anything. Actually, the whole story is just an excuse to string together a set…

  • Miracle on Interstate 880

    ★★★ Watched 17 Nov, 2012

    Some failures of man-made objects have rather frivolous names. The Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapsed in 1940 because of something called “aeroelastic flutter.” There is a term for when a train carriage bolts through the one in front of it during a collision – it’s “telescoping.” And then, there’s also something called “pancaking” – and that’s what happened to a 1½–mile segment of highway I-880 called Cypress Viaduct, back in the late 1989.

    San Francisco was devoured by the 1906 earthquake…

  • Gomorrah 2008

    ★★★ Watched 16 Nov, 2012

    This is organized crime in Italy, five interleaved stories based largely on truth. It is, however, neither the glamour nor splendor of Mafia’s upper echelons, but rather the rank and file of Camorra – its larger, but lesser-known counterpart operating around Naples.

    There is certain beauty in the urban decay of housing projects, quarries, and underground caverns we visit in the movie. But the decay expands to so much more: the kids in the projects grow up dreaming to be…

  • The Master 2012

    ★★★★ Watched 15 Nov, 2012

    The master is not a story about the founder of Scientology, but not because the portrayed cult, The Cause, is fictitious (it shares enough commonalities for the real-world influence to be obvious). The main reason is that it’s not really that much of a story.

    What we have here is a collection of vignettes from the life of a leader of an enigmatic, burgeoning movement, and his most fervent, unpredictable acotyle. Their flawed personalities are fascinating, and their many shared…