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  • Noah

    Noah

    ★★½

    Truthfully, it would be hard for me to not like Noah. I'm far from an atheist but I've always had issues with the moral view taken by the biblical stories of Noah, Job, and Abraham. Abraham, for instance, agrees to the Old Testament god's request to kill his son in order to prove he loves god more than his son - and in doing so, comes off in my eyes less as a heroic figure and more as an unctuous…

  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    ★★★★

    Now this is how you do a Hollywood blockbuster on the subject of war! Forgive me if I'm wrong, but this seems like the first time I can think of that a war movie (especially a big budget crowd-pleasing one) split its characterization and empathy precisely down the middle between two (potentially) warring factions. Each side has its heroes and each side has its (sympathetic) war-mongerers. (Avatar, where the human faction is vilified to give us a big bad to…

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  • Punch-Drunk Love

    Punch-Drunk Love

    ★★★★★

    "SHUT UP, SHUT UP! SHUT, SHUT, SHUT, SHUT, SHUT UP… SHUT UP!"
    #3 on Berken's Favorite Movies Of All Time

    Everyone involved in the making of Silver Linings Playbook should look on this movie and despair. This is how you make an offbeat indie rom-com with a bipolar protagonist, David O. Russell. You can, for that matter, give your audience a happy, uplifting ending without resorting to Hollywood cliches and ending everything with a "you had me at hello" style…

  • Some Like It Hot

    Some Like It Hot

    ★★★★½

    "My mashie!"
    #38 on Berken's Favorite Movies Of All Time

    I have to be honest about what drives me to take a look at these older films - about 80% is a genuine hope to get the same enjoyment out of them that other people have clearly had; yet, at the same time, about 20% is driven by a burning desire to tear a hole through the received wisdom that has these films consistently ranked as the untouchable greatest of…