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  • Defending Your Life

    Defending Your Life

    ★★★★★

    What happens when we die?  I often get rolled-back eyeballs from people when I comment that Albert Brooks’ version of the afterlife makes more sense to me personally than the garden-variety biblically-inspired versions. 

    I was trapped near the inner circle of thought. 

    But I *do* feel that way, arched eyebrows or not. There are so many universal human truths at the center of Defending Your Life that it unfolds like a universal coaching manual for humanity. 

    Fear is like a…

  • What's Up, Doc?

    What's Up, Doc?

    ★★★★★

    You’re upside down, sir. 

    I know what you’re thinking. “This is one of this guy’s four favorite movies?  Really?

    Perhaps it is from a disproportionately high exposure to The Three Stooges or Looney Tunes when I was a kid. Or Gilligan’s Island, for that matter. I’m not sure exactly how it all manifested itself over time, and the runner-ups are far, far too numerous and hilarious to mention, but this movie is my single favorite comedy. 
    There has to be…

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  • The Martian

    The Martian

    ★★★★★

    A long time ago I learned that The Journey Home is one of the original story types, and it’s been around for as long as we have been telling stories, be they earthbound or not. The Martian is a classic Journey Home story, but also feels somewhat like a Quest at the same time, with the protagonist thrown into the quest (here, to simply survive and find his way home) and successfully navigating a series of challenges. 
    That’s a very…

  • Ares III: Refocused

    Ares III: Refocused

    ★★★½

    Right down to the “Copyright, 2042, Space Educational Foundation,” this “documentary” about the Ares III mission story told in The Martian is an enjoyable 17 minutes, as are the other supplements on the disc... typical of a Ridley Scott production, they go a bit further than the typical special features. 
    But you gotta be a fan of the main feature to appreciate the work...

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  • Apollo 11

    Apollo 11

    ★★★★★

    If time travel doesn’t exist, one can experience a fairly vivid approximation in Todd Douglas Miller’s fantastic documentary Apollo 11. Created almost entirely from archival footage, it’s an absolute joy for any fan of the space program, or sixties history in general.  

    And that footage... Miller found reel upon reel of never-before-seen footage that was shot on 65mm negatives for a never-produced NASA documentary. The celluloid is jaw-dropping in its extreme clarity; it’s as if Miller hopped into a Delorean,…

  • Avengers: Infinity War

    Avengers: Infinity War

    ★★★★½

    I’ll write a spoiler review later, but for now... this is a really fun film. Big ensemble events like this can be hard to pull off; there’s pressure to create an opportunity for each individual character to shine a bit. But Joe & Anthony Russo succeed both in making a film with lots of great standalone action and rewarding the die-hards with plenty of references to earlier Marvel outings. It’s kind of like listening to a greatest hits album from your…