RSS feed for Martin
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

    Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

    ★★★★

    Throughly entertaining big-tent circus show, in the kind of world I always wanted SF to create. Dirty, raw, tough, mean, real, with honest emotions. Still living within a formulaic approach, but approaches it with humor and a wink, and gives nod to real feelings.

  • Hidden Figures

    Hidden Figures

    ★★★★

    Had a few clunky moments in the in-betweens, but the depiction of Jim Crow South was so powerful, and the centering of the movie in the experience of these women was so well done, that it really came together in a beautiful way. Nerds to the rescue! I hope the success of this film sparks a thousand more stories of women in the space program.

  • De Palma

    De Palma

    ★★★

    What fun to sit with a curmudgeon for a few hours and hear stories. De Palma films made a certain impression on me at an age where that mattered. His hyper-unreal style and quirky camera blocking makes up a larger portion of my film DNA than I realized. Also, leaning that the Potemkin baby carriage scene was inspired by Mamet walking away when he didn't get a train chase is pure gold.

  • Ex Machina

    Ex Machina

    ★★½

    I'm downward revising my score (was 4) as I sit with this film. Or, rather, as it doesn't sit with me. Ultimately, I think it was a con film dressed as a think film. The sad thing is, it wasn't a good con film.

    Of all the reviews I've read, I think Nicola Griffith says it best: nicolagriffith.com/2015/04/25/ex-machina-review/

  • American Sniper

    American Sniper

    ★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    An American director will never make a true film about war; a true film about war would never get past the ratings board. So, every film about war is a lie (like all films, of course, are lies, but war films present verisimilitude with authorial arrogance: "My film is not about Viet Nam. My film *is* Viet Nam" ).

    On the cut, we look away. We are not being shot at and menaced by men who want to kill us.…

  • Divergent

    Divergent

    ★½

    I'd love to see a dystopian future teenager movie where the dystopia is them realizing, as young adults, their relative unimportance in the world, and how nobody really cares about anything they do.

  • The Unknown Known

    The Unknown Known

    ★★★★

    An obviously intelligent man so locked in the surety of his own logic, that nothing but what he thinks seems to move him. A humane portrait, especially in light of what he headed during his administration days. He comes out clearly against certain kinds of torture, relegating them to the CIA and not under his control (although, they were used under him). The most astonishing confession: he never read the torture memos.

    And then the smiling. Why is he smiling,…

  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

    The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

    ★★★½

    Was it just the newly renovated Cinerama theater, was it just the emotional intensity of Lawrence in her rawest acting, or was it the gut punch of seeing Phillip Seymour Hoffman on screen for likely the last time (except for next year's movie, which was one book cleaved in two for the profit making. I feel very manipulated. Remember when we used to complain about how Spielberg tugged at our strings with some artificiality? Now look at us. Shelling out…

  • Guardians of the Galaxy

    Guardians of the Galaxy

    ★★★½

    Doesn't solve all of the problems of superhero films, but it sure was a lot of fun. It checks most of the must-have boxes in the list easily, and gives us rich visuals and camera work that actually made the space battles seem fun and crazy. Plus, it's got a heart, centering on the relationship between a boy and his lost mother.

  • Oblivion

    Oblivion

    ★★★

    Everness - Jorge Luis Borges

    One thing alone does not exist: Oblivion.
    God saves the metal and the dross, his key
    Ciphers in his prophetic memory
    The moons to come, and moons of evenings gone.

    All there: reflections in the looking-glass
    -Between the two huge twilights of the day-
    That your face has gone leaving where you pass,
    And those it will go leaving on your way.

    And everything is part of that diverse
    Crystal of memory, the universe;
    Unending…

  • World War Z

    World War Z

    ★★

    One of the few book adaptations where it's fair to say the book and the movie share nearly no common ground. I liked the investigative thrust, but the over Hollywoodization of the story, especially in gender roles, was tiring.

  • Snowpiercer

    Snowpiercer

    ★★★½

    What a strange absurdity of a film. You have to admire the pure chutzpah to hang a massive work on such a potentially flawed (or small) premise. But it isn't small or cheaply played — in fact, it is too grand for the small space that contains it.

    I can't say I enjoyed the experience of watching it — who wants to be locked in a train like that for two hours? — but I was never bored. More than…