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  • Guardians of the Galaxy 2014

    ★★★★½ Watched 03 Aug, 2014

    I believe is one of the few movies about which you can accurately say that the filmmakers understand what made Star Wars so special:

    -There are a lot of special effects and a wide scope, but the emphasis is on story and character.
    -Everyone is well-defined. You understand what they are doing and why. The action means something because you understand the personal stakes for each main character.
    -The world seems vast and expansive, but they only give you a…

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 22 Mar, 2014

    I might like it more upon further viewings, but for me this was a slight step back from his previous efforts (while still being a damn sight better that most other films). The issue is that though Ralph Fiennes is wonderful and so is his character, the rest of the ensemble seems to get short shrift in a way that hasn't happened in prior Anderson efforts. What rescues it is the framing device: it's a story within a story within…

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  • Linda Linda Linda 2005

    ★★★★½ Rewatched 17 Jun, 2012

    A fantastic little story about teenage girls who try to learn a few rock songs in advance of a school festival. It doesn't sound like much on paper, but it is beautifully executed on screen: characters who are quirky and unique but have depth, an unobtrusive and bare-bones filmmaking style that nevertheless seems to always find director Yamashita picking the right shot, and fantastic music. Listen to the title track as performed by the film's actresses and as performed by…

  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 05 Apr, 2014

    Some people are calling this the "best Marvel movie ever," which I don't really agree with (I'd take the first Iron Man and of course The Avengers over this one, and I also have a soft spot for the first Captain America movie, which has a lot of heart despite some third-act structural issues). Still, it's pretty good stuff: Chris Evans is still great in the title role, the new additions to the cast (Anthony Mackie, Robert Redford) fit in…