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  • The Voices

    The Voices 2014

    ★★★ Watched 25 May, 2015

    What to make of this one? I know Marjane Satrapi as the writer and artist behind intimate, slice-of-life graphic novels like Persepolis, Chicken with Plums, and Embroideries, so to see her direct something like The Voices is a little unexpected. This is a black comedy about a man who believes his pets are talking to him, who is driven to murder out of necessity, all the while apologizing for stabbing his victims to death. At times, you get the feeling…

  • Top Five

    Top Five 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 25 May, 2015

    Like Roman Holiday by way of Louie, Chris Rock's directorial debut is an honest, down-and-dirty look at what goes on inside the mind of a man who is expected to be funny at all times. It's not pretty; when you're always on, you're always on. The movie also skewers those comedians who attempt to go legit, with Rock's character writing, directing, and starring in a po-faced vanity project about the Haitian revolution that fans of his idiotic Hammy the Bear

  • Jurassic Park III

    Jurassic Park III 2001

    ★★ Rewatched 29 May, 2015

    Jurassic Park III is better than The Lost World, though not by a huge margin. There's nothing as memorable as the two T. rexes attacking the trailer or the raptors in the tall grass, though there's also nothing as awful as the T. rex loose on the streets of San Diego. Basically, you can choose between Spielberg's visionary stumble or Joe Johnston's anonymous, workmanlike competence. The latter is at least more consistently watchable.

  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park

    The Lost World: Jurassic Park 1997

    ★★ Rewatched 27 May, 2015

    Even as a kid, I never cottoned to The Lost World the way I did Jurassic Park. I'm not sure I realized it was quite this bad, though. Though some cinephiles dismiss Spielberg out of hand (an attitude that seems to be fading with an older generation), he is a master of spectacle. From Jaws to Raiders of the Lost Ark to Minority Report, his craftsmanship is unparalleled. So what's striking about The Lost World is how dispassionate he feels…

  • Jurassic Park

    Jurassic Park 1993

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 25 May, 2015

    Jurassic World is coming out soon. It does not look good. In an effort to make it look as bad as possible, I revisited Jurassic Park yet again. Despite Colin Trevorrow's claims that they used practical effects on set, the Jurassic World trailers make it look like cartoon porn, with garish CGI that in no way looks like it belongs to a real world. What remains so impressive about Jurassic Park is that its effects are tactile, even though some…

  • Andrei Rublev

    Andrei Rublev 1966

    ★★★★★ Watched 31 May, 2015

    Told in eight parts spanning 24 years, each segment obliquely related to the last, and with a running time of over three hours, Andrei Rublev is a capital-A Art FIlm. Would it be heresy to admit that, even as a film buff, there are times I try to avoid these movies? Something like Andrei Rublev seems such a daunting prospect, something which requires a degree of mental preparation. Add to this the fact that, as a younger film buff, I…

  • Days of Heaven

    Days of Heaven 1978

    ★★★½ Watched 02 Jun, 2015

    Terrence Malick doesn't exactly have an extensive filmography (seven films over the last 42 years), which makes the fact that I hadn't seen Days of Heaven all the more egregious. What's a bummer is that it's probably my least favorite of his, at least upon first blush. It's a good film, and absolutely gorgeous--there are some sequences, such as a plague of locusts descending upon the farm, that are almost unbelievable--but I wasn't particularly interested in the love triangle between…

  • Spy

    Spy 2015

    ★★★½ Watched 06 Jun, 2015

    There are two very refreshing things about Paul Feig's Spy, his third straight collaboration with Melissa McCarthy following Bridesmaids and The Heat.

    The first is simply that it's an action-comedy about women. No one takes McCarthy's desk-bound CIA analyst seriously as a field agent, but not because she's a woman; it's because she's so nice and unassuming and dresses like a cat lady. Once in the field, she proves capable (if clumsy), and the fact that she and so many…

  • Archie To Riverdale and Back Again

    Archie To Riverdale and Back Again 1990

    Rewatched 07 Jun, 2015 1

    Part of Will & AJ's Excellent LOLviewings

    This alternately depressing and ridiculous TV movie imagines the Archie Comics gang 15 years after graduating from Riverdale High. The most baffling thing about To Riverdale and Back Again is that it takes these beloved children's comic book characters so seriously: Jughead's an ineffective psychiatrist so paralyzed by fear he occasionally goes catatonic, Archie's a lawyer and has several courtroom scenes, there's a scene where Betty throws herself on Archie and tells him to…

  • Valkyrie

    Valkyrie 2008

    ★★★ Watched 06 Apr, 2015

    Bryan Singer is a good director, though--like in his very different Superman Returns--there is a surprising lack of tension in Valkyrie, the true story of the Nazi officers who led a failed attempt on Hitler's life. So much of the film is consumed with explaining who's who and where they stand in the Reich that it can seem cold and distant. Little importance is given to what the men believe and what their plans are for Germany once Hitler is…

  • Jurassic Park

    Jurassic Park 1993

    ★★★★★ Rewatched 22 Jul, 2014

    I don't think the idea of "popcorn movies" is inherently a bad thing. People like to eat popcorn when they go out to a movie, right? It's part of the event, something you do when you want to have a good time. It's a comforting ritual. Cinematic comfort food doesn't come much more satisfying than Jurassic Park. After a long, exhausting day dealing with a family emergency, I came home, turned on the TV, and sat glued to an edited, commercial-filled version of a movie I've seen a hundred times and own on Blu-ray. And you know what? I don't regret a single P90X ad.

  • The Host

    The Host 2006

    ★★★★½ Rewatched 21 Jul, 2014

    Like all great monster movies, Bong Joon-ho's The Host has more on its mind than a giant fish-thing snapping up folks with its tail. Released in the midst of the Iraq War, it's a biting satire of American imperialism, not to mention general government incompetence. Of course, it's also just a fucking great monster movie, one of the absolute best of the last ten years.