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  • Magic Mike XXL

    Magic Mike XXL 2015

    ★★★½ Watched 01 Jul, 2015

    A film that is almost aggressively good-natured. It’s incredibly silly, conflict-free, basically sex-free, and committed to be entertaining and that’s about it. On that note, it works pretty well, with Soderbergh’s protege keeping the same style as the first, but losing all thematic weight. Give the people what they want, they say, and from the screaming ladies in the theater with me, I would say they succeeded.

  • Inside Out

    Inside Out 2015

    ★★★★½ Watched 29 Jun, 2015

    Not just a clever, funny look into the workings of the mind, but this is a film made by adults who have not forgotten what it’s like to grow up and want to impart the emotional lessons to the kids that, despite the plead in the closing credits, have to grow up. The world gets more and more complex and our emotions get more complex to sort it out. And, unfortunately, there are things to leave behind. There are sequences here that rival some of Pixar’s best, and the scenes that are unabashedly goofy work just as well. A near-perfect blend.

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  • High and Low

    High and Low 1963

    ★★★★★ Watched 12 Nov, 2013

    Stunning. This might be a 10 on another viewing just because it is so knotty and there’s no way I caught everything that is wonderful about this film. But I caught a lot. Best blocking of any film ever? Probably. Best sunglasses? Definitely. This is a goddam motion picture, folks. And please, my God, anyone who is planning to make a movie that makes use of space (every movie ever), please study how this film makes sure that we know exactly where everyone is in relation to everyone else at all times. Study that tailing scene in the streets! Study it!

  • The Grandmaster

    The Grandmaster 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 24 Feb, 2014

    [review of festival cut]

    Suddenly not so angry that there are multiple cuts to this film as it is clearly a case of a really good movie struggling to be told. The shots are there, I think, but there is something off about how it is put together, rhythmically and otherwise. It wants to be about Ip Man, it wants to be about Gong Er, and revolutionary/civil war China, and the golden age of Chinese martial arts, but by doing…