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  • Small Soldiers

    Small Soldiers

    ★★★

    It's a Joe Dante movie, and it's all here: the plot structure of starting with a sincere and perhaps a little corny set-up leading to a no-holds-barred chaotic third act; the general distrust of the establishment, particularly the corporate/profit-minded kind; the liberally sprinkled odes and kisses to other movies of all kinds; and the general set-up of misfits having to stand up to bullies. On top of this, we get some satirical criticism of the military. What more could you…

  • Revenge

    Revenge

    ★★★½

    As unfamiliar as its style would be to a film viewer used to mostly Western filmmaking, it would be easy to dismiss Revenge as a story that tackles a simple theme with a simple observation -- that the desire for revenge is in all ways poisonous -- partially due to how opaque it is. That may be the wrong angle to tackle it from; it ought to be seen as enticing, as something more than what its simple title suggests.…

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  • Skyfall

    Skyfall

    ★★★★★

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

    3rd viewing. I've liked this increasingly more each time, and especially this time in contrast to all the Bond movies that came before it, which I've been recently rewatching in order. I remember a critic's quote about Alfonso Cuarón's Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which called it the first Harry Potter movie that could be rightfully termed as "cinema." That's mostly how I feel about Skyfall, which feels like the first arthouse Bond movie (sorry, Marc Forster). The…

  • April and the Extraordinary World

    April and the Extraordinary World

    ★★★★½

    Viewed in French. This was pretty wonderful, probably the closest thing I've seen to a French version of Japanese anime, a sci-fi adventure set in a polluted steampunk alternate history where great scientists disappear, leaving the world stuck with old technology and antiquated sources of energy (the prelude directly links world conflicts to the need for dwindling energy resources, which was a nice touch). The story follows the young daughter of two scientists, now trying to duplicate their work of…