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matt has written 65 reviews for films rated ★★½ during 2014.

  • The Sheik

    The Sheik



  • Mulholland Falls

    Mulholland Falls


    there are some arresting images here, like a murdered woman somehow pancaked into the ground, or the crater left behind by a nuclear test. or, if i'm being honest, a leathery Nick Nolte "erotically" pounding away at Jennifer Connelly.

    Discussed on Episode 19 of The Suspense is Killing Us.

  • Dying of the Light

    Dying of the Light


    seems primed to be a Holy Grail DTV mashup of THE POWER OF NIGHTMARES and TAKEN, fronted by a typically committed Cage and wanting to make analogs of neocon policy and religious extremism. unfortunately isn't.

  • The Theory of Everything

    The Theory of Everything



  • Thieves Like Us

    Thieves Like Us


    defiant as ever (and certainly to his credit despite how i might feel about it), Altman's project frequently seems like it's to never do the thing he thinks anyone else might want, to hold the material away from himself and pick it apart. let's make a film about Depression-era bank robbers and never really talk about bank robbery or the Depression or race or class or money, or even really give you a picture of what that lifestyle would have…

  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

    The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1


    thankfully demonstrates some occasional stakes, ditching the frankly baffling and nonsensical Hunger Games themselves in favor of making Katniss a pawn in a protracted PR war that amusingly looks exactly like the film's marketing campaign. she's still a total wash, though, crying a lot and constantly refusing the heroine's call to focus on a couple of boring boys. and of course this is insanely padded to make way for yet another installment.

  • Neighbors



    has some funny parts.

  • Shredder Orpheus

    Shredder Orpheus


    the skate-punks (straight white kids every one of them) rebelling against a soulless corporate dystopia that's beaming evil TV signals from the underworld don't do anything more transgressive than ride their boards in abandoned parking garages and listen to shitty, vaguely industrial jam bands. probably the last descriptor the filmmakers wanted or expected to be applied to this is "adorable", but all there is to it is the admittedly charming DIY aesthetic and a slightly abstracted finale. there isn't a threatening or anarchic moment to be found here. as tame as any status quo.

  • Dinosaur 13

    Dinosaur 13


    "I broke the first rule of journalism. I fell in love with my subject."

    i suppose this is not really relevant, but i would have rather spent 90 minutes learning about Tyrannosaur bones instead of a boring, questionable court case.

  • Ride in the Whirlwind

    Ride in the Whirlwind


    there's something here about short-term thinking (look at the way they idly play checkers, a game of strategy, while complaining about how futile of a game it is), and then something else that suggests these characters are trapped in a behavioral loop (endless pursuit, capture, and escape), and it seems to be pointing at something spare and existential. but deliberate inertia is still inertia, and even at 80 minutes i couldn't wait for this to either get moving or wrap up.

  • How to Train Your Dragon 2

    How to Train Your Dragon 2


    viking Pokemon

  • Nightmare



    less a HALLOWEEN knockoff than a slow-moving blanket indictment of incompetence in the psychiatric profession. not even with a team of eggheads and a supercomputer could they figure out a crazy guy was going back to his old house? some gnarly kills, though.