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  • 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…

  • The Maze Runner 2014

    ★★★ Watched 15 Sep, 2014

    Here it is, another one of those movies that inevitably make me feel really old: based on a multimillion dollar bestselling YA book series I've never heard of. Rather than wizards or vampires, this one's another superficial spin on the dystopic future genre, entirely constructed out of the usual tropes, and not a lot of originality.

    It's not terrible, but it's also not wildly compelling, just something innocuous and unremarkable inbetween. Like so many other of these movies and novels,…

  • Into the Storm 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 09 Sep, 2014

    Essentially a "found footage" spin on the Twister formula.

    As a purely visceral experience, Into the Storm is pretty excellent stuff – at least the Dolby Atmos version I saw is. Definitely the closest modern equivalent to Earthquake in Sensurround that I've experienced so far!

    As a story, Into the Storm is strictly paint by numbers disaster pic stuff. But then again, nobody in their right mind goes in expecting a great story in something like this, right?

    I sure didn't. I just strapped in and enjoyed the ride. I recommend that you do the same!

  • The Bling Ring 2013

    Watched 06 Sep, 2014

    A disappointingly vapid film about vapid, obnoxious people I didn't care one whit about. It does have a pretty excellent soundtrack, as you'd expect from Sofia Coppola, but that's not exactly enough to carry a movie. Buy the CD instead.

  • Escalator 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 04 Sep, 2014

    Nearly a decade after his feature length debut, Free Jimmy, cult cartoonist Christopher Nielsen returns to the world of animation with a shorter work. Escalator is an unapologetically metaphorical representation of life, full of Nielsen’s signature dark wit and penchant for moderately grotesque characters.

    Naked people struggle endlessly upwards against the downwards movement of the escalator they are all trapped on. Some run, eyes and minds laser focused on the top, others walk at a more measured pace, and some…

  • The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 06 Sep, 2014

    Jean-Pierre Jeunet's latest movie appears to have been ignored by cinema markets almost everywhere – rather unfairly as it turns out, as it's a charming, bittersweet tale with an actual, beating heart inside.

    It chronicles the young, runaway genious T.S. Spivet, as he makes his way from his family's rural farm in Montana, across the country to The Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., to accept an award for his perpetual motion machine design. The trip is spurred on by a tragedy…

  • Boyhood 2014

    ★★★★★ Watched 18 Aug, 2014

    It's a perfect movie!

  • Unforgiven 2013

    ★★★★ Watched 02 Aug, 2014

    A Japanese remake of a modern American classic, by a Korean-Japanese filmmaker – the potential for this Eastern take on the David Peoples-scripted meditation on violence to stumble embarrassingly was not insignificant. However, said filmmaker is Lee Sang-Il, a man well versed in the art of telling stories of people with troubled pasts. Have the shoes of the Eastwood part filled by solid actor Ken Watanabe, and you’re well on your way to a successful retelling.

    In Lee’s version, the…

  • Hercules 2014

    ★★★ Watched 30 Jul, 2014

    Hercules, the The Rock’s latest cinematic outing, is fundamentally average stuff. That’s not the actors’ fault – there are actually a great deal of talented thespians in the cast, and they mostly do a credible job with the material they were given. The one to shoulder the blame is, unsurprisingly, Brett Rattner – a boring, visionless director whose movies are consistently artless. Hercules is not a break from tradition.

    Adapted from the comic book by the late Steve Moore (who,…

  • Ani*Kuri15: Good Morning 2008

    ★★★★ Watched 28 Jul, 2014

    Just a minute long, but in that little minute, Satoshi Kon's Ohayō manages to establish a world and tell a shortstory that everyone will find familiar and recognizable. It's quite wonderful, and being Kon's final work, unescapably bittersweet.

    The short can be found in its entirety at the end of Tony Zhou's excellent video essay on Kon's style of editing.

  • Ring of Bright Water 1969

    ★★★★ Watched 16 Jul, 2014

    My mustelid-loving heart skipped a beat or two, and I fell hard for this absolutely lovely movie. It is, unavoidably, otter-ly delightful! Big, goofy grins, all around!

  • Transcendence 2014

    ★★★ Watched 13 Jul, 2014

    I'm surprised by the level of vehement disdain cinematographer Wally Pfister's directorial debut has been met with, but then again, perhaps it explains its reception with a line of dialog: "People always fear what they don't understand." To be sure, Transcendence is not a great movie, but it's also not the awful failure word of mouth has proclaimed it as.

    A science fiction movie about ideas – a rare beast in this day and age of the genre mostly being…