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  • How to Train Your Dragon

    How to Train Your Dragon

    ★★★

    Judging by my wife's unbridled excitement every time Toothless came on screen, my issue connecting with this film stems from my lack of desire to have my own dragon -- or winged cat-dog that breathes fire. He's charming enough, I guess. Just like this movie. The American-accented children jarred among the Scots adults at first, but the surprising turns in the story and the lessons learned won me over by the end.

  • Jack Reacher

    Jack Reacher

    ★★★½

    What a strange, uneven film. It tries to be dark and funny in equal measure, usually not at the same time, and intermittently succeeds at both. It has a very good car chase and a spectacular hand-to-hand climactic fight scene. In the most audacious piece of stunt casting in recent history, it has Werner Herzog as a single-digited arch-villain. The problem is when people start talking, they tend not to stop. Good thing so many sequences play out with only the score for company.

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  • Tanna

    Tanna

    ★★★★

    The Romeo and Juliet comparison is obligatory, so let's get that out of the way.

    But no, really, Tanna is a *lot* like Romeo and Juliet. Except it's set in tribal lands in Vanuatu, where residents have rejected money, Christianity, democracy, and t-shirts, instead choosing a traditional life. And this story really happened, only a few decades ago.

    And instead of going all in with the tragedy, it ends with hope -- the hope that if you look at the…

  • Tokyo Story

    Tokyo Story

    ★★★★★

    It is our nature to disappoint ourselves, and each other; to fall short of expectations, over and over, until we accept our flaws and lower the bar. We cannot bank on others to be there when we need them; to act nobly and selflessly in times of trial. Likewise, we cannot hold ourselves up as paragons of humanity because in the end, we all have a limit at which we give up and go back to looking out for ourselves.…