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  • Ukraine on Fire

    Ukraine on Fire

    ★★

    A response to the Winter on Fire documentary, that supposedly tells the other side of the story of the recent unrest in Ukraine. Unfortunately, it's nowhere near as visceral and compelling in its telling, taking instead the form of a televisual, exhausting firehose of (alternative) facts and opinions, that ultimately overwhelms rather than informs. The presence of Oliver Stone is also troubling, given the conspiratorial nature of many of the allegations - his generally hyperbolic approach to things makes it…

  • City of Gold

    City of Gold

    ★★★★

    LA Times food critic Jonathan Gold is quite literally the antithesis of Ratatouille's Anton Ego: open-minded and genial, and, it has to be said, rotund. City of Gold is ostensibly a portrait of the Pulitzer Price winning critic, but ends up just as much as a portrait of and love letter to the city of Los Angeles. Perhaps not a documentary that delves deep, but nevertheless a very enjoyable and uplifting piece of fluff, that may very well leave you hungry, if not hungry for more!

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  • From Up on Poppy Hill

    From Up on Poppy Hill

    ★★★★

    The world was very unkind to Goro Miyazaki when he took the unexpected leap from landscape architect and museum manager to director in 2006. Tales from Earthsea had its fair share of weaknesses and outright faults, but the yardstick by which the younger Miyazaki was measured and found lacking was downright unfair and cruel. The recent documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi contains a musing from a food critic that's strikingly relevant: 86 year old Jiro is still in charge of…

  • The Hunger Games

    The Hunger Games

    ★★★★

    Essentially Battle Royale for the Twilight crowd, The Hunger Games makes the leap from the pages to the big screen with the majority of the details intact. Sticking so closely to the source material means that the movie also shares the novel's strengths and weaknesses.

    First and foremost, Katniss remains an interesting, reluctant rebel character (Jennifer Lawrence, excellent), while the rest of the cast of characters veer more towards simple archetypes, sometimes wrapped in colorful costumes, sometimes not. The dystopic…