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  • Patema Inverted 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 20 Sep, 2014

    Patema Inverted reminded me of a lot of the current Young Adult novel adaptations: it generally seemed more interested in setting up a fantastical world and its rules, rather than focusing on creating compelling characters and telling any kind of substantial story. Consequentially, Patema Inverted is interesting, but also a little boring. The characters are all stereotypes, and it's hard to invest anything in them beyond a nominal interest, and the plot is a pretty paint-by-numbers genre affair.

    What the…

  • Somebody 2014

    ★★★ Watched 20 Sep, 2014 8

    I realize that hating on Miranda July is in vogue around here, but it's an antipathy I don't share. I quite like her first movie, in fact (The Future not quite as much). She's quirky, of course, but what artist-turned-filmmaker isn't? What it boils down is personal taste. I'd rather watch July's movies than suffer through, say, the works of Matthew Barney, for instance.

    Somebody is essentially an extended ad for an iPhone message app she's created, where the messages…

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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…