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  • Where the Trail Ends 2012

    ★★★½ Watched 26 Oct, 2014

    Where the Trail Ends is a freeride mountain bike movie much like any other extreme sports movie: largely interchangeable athletes hurtle down cliffsides in spectacular fashion, bump fists or exchange high fives at the bottom, and proclaim the latest survived line “sick” or “gnarly” or “awesome” or some other new adjective currently the flavor of the month in their wild world of sports. And with every cinematic iteration, the challenges become ever more extreme. This time, the freeriders have ostensibly…

  • My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me? 2005

    ★★★★ Rewatched 25 Oct, 2014

    Eli, Eli, Lema Sabachtani? is easily my favorite of Shinji Aoyama's movies. A delightfully understated post apocalyptic tale, set in a near future where a mysterious disease, called the Lemming Syndrome, causes people to commit suicide. But there is a cure – sort of. The healing power of power duo Stepin Fetchit's noise music can combat the virus. Much sonic warfare ensues.

    Stepin Fetchit's two audio explorers are amusingly played by actor Tadanobu Asano, and non-actor Masaya Nakahara – both…

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  • From Up on Poppy Hill 2011

    ★★★★ Rewatched 13 May, 2012 9

    The world was very unkind to Goro Miyazaki when he took the unexpected leap from landscape architect and museum manager to director in 2006. Tales from Earthsea had its fair share of weaknesses and outright faults, but the yardstick by which the younger Miyazaki was measured and found lacking was downright unfair and cruel. The recent documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi contains a musing from a food critic that's strikingly relevant: 86 year old Jiro is still in charge of…

  • The Hunger Games 2012

    ★★★★ Watched 21 Mar, 2012 2

    Essentially Battle Royale for the Twilight crowd, The Hunger Games makes the leap from the pages to the big screen with the majority of the details intact. Sticking so closely to the source material means that the movie also shares the novel's strengths and weaknesses.

    First and foremost, Katniss remains an interesting, reluctant rebel character (Jennifer Lawrence, excellent), while the rest of the cast of characters veer more towards simple archetypes, sometimes wrapped in colorful costumes, sometimes not. The dystopic…