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  • Silence

    Silence 1971

    ★★½ Watched 03 Dec, 2016

    Perhaps this is gripping stuff if you're a devout believer, but coming to Chinmoku from an atheist angle definitely saps the entire narrative of interest and drama. Mostly it becomes a tedious tale of missionary arrogance and man's ability to inflict cruelty on each other. The latter is even passed on to the audience, in the form of principal actor David Lampson's wince-inducing garbling of the Japanese dialog. Yeeesh! Easily a low point in Shinoda's filmography, and one can only hope that Scorsese's remake improves on the original's weak points, rather than expand on them...

  • Cave

    Cave 2016

    ★½ Watched 29 Aug, 2016 1

    Three ex-soldiers – two guys, one gal – reteam a few years after serving, to reforge old bonds and explore a remote cave system. Two of them were an item back then, now the other two are dating, and there’s palpable tension as the three of them head into the cave system.

    Cave divers are a special breed of people – very serious, focused, and meticulous when it comes to pursuing their pastime. They have to be, because cave diving…

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  • From Up on Poppy Hill

    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

    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…