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  • Stay Cool 2009

    ★½ Watched 15 Dec, 2014

    Cleaning out the DVR... The 1.5 stars are for Winona alone, simply because it's just good to see her onscreen again. Everything else about this disaster is limp and completely terrible.

    Watch the rather fine tv-series October Road instead if you're in the mood for a "writer who wrote a semi-biographical novel about his high school experience, returns home and faces his high school friends"-story.

  • The Boy and the World 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 15 Dec, 2014

    Minimalist, whimsical, and initially quite delightful, Brazilian animated feature The Boy and the World begins to run out of steam about halfway, when it becomes clear that there’s not a whole lot of substance to uncover beneath the stylized exterior. Finally it begins to grate, as surface and meager plot give way to hamfisted, simplistic soapboxing about the ills of industrialization.

    The story, such as it is, deals with a young boy, captivated by the natural wonders of his countryside…

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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…