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  • Inception

    Inception

    ★★★★½

    In his 1999 essay Celluloid Vs. Digital, Roger Ebert cites studies equating the experience of watching a movie to entering a fugue state: "film creates reverie, video creates hypnosis." In other words, experiencing a film in the traditional manner, projected at 24 frames per second in a darkened theater, affects the brain in a way akin to dreaming. Inception is far from the first movie set in dreams, but it may be alone in attempting to encode the experience into…

  • Cloud Atlas

    Cloud Atlas

    ★★★★½

    Books are books, and movies are movies. I usually don't want or expect any adaptation to copy its source -- in fact, it's usually in everyone's best interests for a derivative work to strive to be its own thing, and not… well, derivative. But Tom Tykwer and Lana & Lilly Wachowski's Cloud Atlas turned out to be an astonishingly faithful adaptation of David Mitchell's novel. For a book so sprawling and commonly deemed unadaptable, I fully expected more characters and incident…

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  • Equals

    Equals

    ★★

    Gattaca √ Logan’s Run ÷ THX-1138 = Equals

  • mother!

    mother!

    ★★★★

    If nothing else, you can’t deny “mother!” earned its exclamation point.

    An allegory so undisguised that it barely qualifies as an allegory. It’s more like a smoothie: blend one (1) King James Bible, the Big Bang / Big Crunch wikipedia article, a heavy splash of Lars Von Trier-esque torture of a beautiful woman, season to taste with climate change studies, and suffer through it.

    A male filmmaker portraying a male artist as god, simultaneously elevating and exploiting the woman that…

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  • The Counselor

    The Counselor

    ★★★

    Cormac McCarthy and Ridley Scott were bound to be an odd couple in any case. All the richly composed and poetic dialogue in the world doesn't disguise the fact The Counselor is basically a grimy, scuzzy, sleazy, feel-bad potboiler.

    There is an element of pulp to several of McCarthy's novels, but here it's brought to the forefront. As highly regarded as he is as a literary novelist, his subject matter is still mostly comprised of cowboys, bandits, whores, thieves, madmen,…

  • Raiders

    Raiders

    ★★★★

    I was somehow under the impression that Steven Soderbergh's alternate version of Raiders of the Lost Ark was recut, but it appears to be merely desaturated and muted. But suppress your "my kid could do that" instinct and let Raiders affirm how expertly crafted Spielberg's original is.

    The narrative is never less than fully clear, the expressive actors (especially the delightful Karen Allen) tell you everything you need to know with their faces, and the sheer scope and sprawl of the adventure become apparent.

    Read more, and watch the film on Soderbergh's Soderblogh: extension765.com/soderblogh/18-raiders