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  • The Raid 2 2014

    ★★★★½ Watched 26 Jun, 2014

    I was that guy, the one human being who didn’t like The Raid: Redemption. I found its elaborately choreographed action impressive on a technical level, its fight scenes much better than those in films I actually enjoyed; but its video game plot and almost total lack of characterization left me cold. I love a good dude-snaps-another-dude’s-neck-against-a-door-frame as much as the next guy, but I almost skipped The Raid 2.

    I’m glad I didn’t.

    With The Raid 2, Gareth Evans has…

  • Neighbors 2014

    ★★★★ Watched 23 Jun, 2014

    New parents Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne go to war with Zac Efron when his rowdy frat moves in next door. The result is probably the summer's best comedy. Rogen is hilarious, sure, but the revelations here are Byrne and Efron. I didn't particularly admire either of them prior to this, but they both have such impeccable comic timing and delivery that I'm looking forward to whatever they do next. It's also refreshing to get the sense that, unlike so…

  • The Sacrament 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 23 Jun, 2014

    Pretty thin stuff, but I still thought The Sacrament was enjoyable. It looks a hell of a lot better than most found footage films, and even provides an in-world reason for why: the characters are video journalists for Vice, immersing themselves in the world of a commune that turns out to be more like a cult. A lot of the beats will be familiar to fans of found footage or this type of horror, but Ti West squeezes as much…

  • The Rover 2014

    ★★★★½ Watched 21 Jun, 2014

    At the risk of making it sound more derivative than it is, the best way to describe David Michôd’s The Rover is as The Road by way of Mad Max. It’s a brutal post-apocalyptic tale of survival set in the scorching Australian outback, one where cars are very important. Grand theft auto is what sets the story in motion: when Eric’s (Guy Pearce) car is stolen by a group of thieves, his relentless quest to retrieve it begins.

    Why? With…

  • X-Men: Days of Future Past 2014

    ★★★★½ Rewatched 21 Jun, 2014 1

    Second time through, the emotional beats and the spectacle still work like gangbusters. That Quicksilver scene is going to be a classic. And while I wish Michael Fassbender had more to do--as he did in First Class--James McAvoy is utterly fantastic as Xavier. Oh, and I like that Wolverine, though technically the star, doesn't hog the screen like he has in most of the other films.

    What I'm trying to say is, this is a good movie and I like it.

  • Pompeii 2014

    Watched 21 Jun, 2014

    Part of Will & AJ's Excellent LOLviewings

    Will started our viewing of the Kit Harington-starring Pompeii by saying, "YOU KNOW NOTHING VOLCANO." And that was the funniest thing I heard or saw for the next two hours, except for maybe a very poorly timed Jurassic Park reference (of all things) by Kiefer Sutherland and his terrible, terrible accent. Paul W.S. Anderson's style is bland enough that the movie never makes you want to scratch your eyes out, but Jesus, did anything happen in this movie?

  • The Rules of the Game 1939

    ★★★★ Watched 20 Jun, 2014

    Considering it's one of the most acclaimed films of all time, I'm honestly surprised it took me this long to watch The Rules of the Game. Blame an initially cold reaction to Renoir's Grand Illusion; I've since warmed to it, but like that film, Rules of the Game is one I admire more than embrace. Which is not to say it's not very good, because it is. The deep focus photography is especially impressive, allowing for elaborately choreographed background action.…

  • How to Train Your Dragon 2 2014

    ★★★★½ Watched 15 Jun, 2014

    One of the best animated films of the decade deserves a follow-up every bit its equal, and that is exactly what How to Train Your Dragon 2 is. There's a comforting quality about the first film. It's a story of friendship and growing up and learning who your real family is. The sequel's drama is a little rougher, with higher stakes; be prepared for some interesting conversations with your kids.

    If you take them, that is. Just like the first,…

  • What About Bob? 1991

    ★★★½ Watched 14 Jun, 2014

    Bill Murray's my favorite actor, and for the longest time, What About Bob? was one of the few beloved Murray movies I just did not enjoy. It's new to Netflix Instant, though, so I thought I'd give it another go...and I'm glad I did. It's completely ridiculous, and if you expect any sort of plausibility, you'll be disappointed. But as a live-action Looney Tunes, with Richard Dreyfuss as Elmer Fudd and Murray as Bugs Bunny, it's pretty damn successful.

  • Wise Blood 1979

    ★★½ Watched 14 Jun, 2014

    John Huston gets weird with Wise Blood, in which an atheist returning from the war decides to start his own anti-Jesus church; he is played by Brad Dourif, whose one expression throughout the film can only be described as "pissy insanity." The church is hindered by his inability to play well with others, including a man who tries and fails to be his friend, then steals a gorilla suit and starts running around trying to get people to shake his…

  • Edge of Tomorrow 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 14 Jun, 2014

    One of the more pleasant surprises so far this year, Edge of Tomorrow is the best fit for Tom Cruise's (now apparently old-fashioned) movie star image since the underrated Knight and Day. What's great about Cruise is that he's improbably handsome and often witty yet with a dash of real nervousness. No matter the role, you always get the feeling he could go off the rails at any moment. That suits Major William Cage perfectly; a renowned PR officer with…

  • 22 Jump Street 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 13 Jun, 2014

    Not quite the prescription for comedy sequelitis, though directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller clearly know the expectations they're dealing with and do their best to circumvent clichés. As Schmidt and Jenko enroll in another school (college this time) to bust another hot new drug, they and the movie realize they're going through the motions. That lip service isn't a cure-all, though, as there's certainly a measure of repetition. When it's on, though, it's on, even if I can only…