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  • They Were Expendable

    They Were Expendable

    ★★★★★

    As a Cryptonomicon fan, I mentally add Bobby Shadow flipping off MacArthur to certain scenes and it works perfectly.

    This film is a damn masterpiece.

  • Idaho Transfer

    Idaho Transfer

    ★★★

    This is a weird little piece of stoner sci fi, with some stolidly horrible amateur acting, some great scenery porn, and an interesting ideas here and there. Time traveling teenagers escape an ecological catastrophe only to get trapped in a bleak post-apocalypse unable to fulfill their purpose. Worth it for the bitterly hilarious ending.

  • We are the tide

    We are the tide

    ★★★½

    If you're among the many who are anxiously awaiting the film adaptation of Jeff Vandermeer's Annihilation, this film ought to tide you over (Ha ha). Like much lo-fi sci-fi, this is a slow burn, and more atmospheric than dramatic or exciting, but sometimes quietly mysterious is just what's needed.

  • Institute Benjamenta, or This Dream People Call Human Life

    Institute Benjamenta, or This Dream People Call Human Life

    ★★★★★

    You never knew how much you wanted to watch Mark Rylance and Alice Krige sleepwalk through a disused Hapsburg hunting lodge until you're given the opportunity. Then you want to do it twice.

  • 24 Hour Party People

    24 Hour Party People

    ★★★½

    The combination of Michael Winterbottom, Steve Cohan and Rob Brydon is never not excellent. The film lives up to its soundtrack.

  • The Bed Sitting Room

    The Bed Sitting Room

    ★★★★★

    This is a work of pure comic genius that deserves to be much better known. Imagine if JG Ballard wrote a Monty Python skit Now add the most amazing cast possible and watch them gradually transform into prices of furniture, and, yes, a tiny apartment. When you see it then you'll understand Sort of. Keep it on hand for when you need good medicine.

  • The Last Days on Mars

    The Last Days on Mars

    ★★

    A perfectly competent zombie film that happens to be set on Mars. What a waste of props and cast. Zzz

  • Crash

    Crash

    ★★★½

    Trying to decide if this is more Cronenberg or Ballard. I'm leaning towards the former, but I have yet to read the book, which I usually do first, but I'm giving myself a Ballard film festival tonight.

  • Star Trek Beyond

    Star Trek Beyond

    ★★★½

    After the disaster that was the prior installment of JJTrek I vowed never again. But then as Discovery started up, I kept hearing people say that this film was actually pretty good.

    And so it is. Pretty good. I rolled my eyes at the reverse Star Wars when Kirk is Darth Vader trying to prevent Luke/Krall from blowing up the Death Star /Yorktown, but I have to admit that "Sabotage" destroying the X-Wings/Bees was a fun touch.

    And of course I choked up at THAT PHOTO. And every time Chekhov was on screen.

  • The Wizard of Lies

    The Wizard of Lies

    ★★½

    For all its star power, this film isn't a patch on Madoff, which featured Richard Dreyfuss and Blythe Danner in the roles Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer phoned in here (Pfeiffer's exaggerated accent really jars compared took Danner's natural speech). Meh.

  • Too Big to Fail

    Too Big to Fail

    ★★★½

    A Planet Money podcast enacted by A list actors, Too Big to Fail focuses on Treasury Secretary ( and former Goldman Sachs executive) Hank Paulson, depicting him as the adult in the room, if not an actual hero. I take some issue with that.

    Excellent performances all around, though, and the writers did a good job making boring but important events interesting and understandable.

    Occupy should have burned it all down.

  • My Scientology Movie

    My Scientology Movie

    ★★★★

    I actually prefer this one too Going Clear in artistic terms. I like the device of simultaneously telling a story and showing us how you're telling the story (e.g. casting/auditions, discussions about logistics, etc). The tension between the filmmaker and his primary source was especially interesting and absorbing. I didn't learn anything new, but I got a new way of experiencing what I'd learned elsewhere. A good effort.