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  • The Villainess

    The Villainess

    ★★½

    The Villainess is a straight up rip-off of Nikita that piles on more of everything in an attempt to justify its own existence, but to mostly limited effect.

    The inventive, showy, and just plain fun camera work on display, combined with high energy action choreography, is the movie's biggest strength, while the additional buckets of gore don't really add much beyond the color red, and a slightly nastier tone. What ultimately topples the movie, though, are the many (predictable) twists…

  • Spielberg

    Spielberg

    ★★★★

    Arnold Spielberg is the real hero of this pretty good documentary.

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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…