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Despicable Me (2010)
Some call him bad. They call him dad.

Villainous Gru lives up to his reputation as a despicable, deplorable and downright unlikable guy when he hatches a plan to steal the moon from the sky. But he has a tough time staying on task after three orphans land in his care.

Foreground/Background I see that I did not write a comment on this when it came out. I have since had kids and rewatched it recently, and am impressed by a couple key decisions. The first is the quality of the animation and choices made in the story....

Published July 7, 2024
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Pitch Perfect (2012)
Get pitch slapped.
Filmmaker(s): Jason Moore

College student Beca knows she does not want to be part of a clique, but that's exactly where she finds herself after arriving at her new school. Thrust in among mean gals, nice gals and just plain weird gals, Beca finds that the only thing they have in common is how well they sing together. She takes the women of the group out of their comfort zone of traditional arrangements and into a world of amazing harmonic combinations in a fight to the top of college music competitions.

Packaged Energy I recall watching ‘Fame’ when it came out. It surely was not the first film that was a performance about a performance with a personal quest overlain. But it was the first in my film life. There have since been hundreds of these where...

Published July 6, 2024
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Decision to Leave (2022)
The closer you look, the harder you fall.
Filmmaker(s): Park Chan-wook

From a mountain peak in South Korea, a man plummets to his death. Did he jump, or was he pushed? When detective Hae-joon arrives on the scene, he begins to suspect the dead man’s wife Seo-rae. But as he digs deeper into the investigation, he finds himself trapped in a web of deception and desire.

The Mist of Midst One of my ‘Fours’ is ‘In the Mood for Love’. I will have this film join that group as well, and for much the same reason. Passion is more likely to be internally held than spilled about. It is more likely to...

Published July 2, 2024
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Kung Fu Panda 4 (2024)
Filmmaker(s): Mike Mitchell

Po is gearing up to become the spiritual leader of his Valley of Peace, but also needs someone to take his place as Dragon Warrior. As such, he will train a new kung fu practitioner for the spot and will encounter a villain called the Chameleon who conjures villains from the past.

Green Noodle of Wisdom There are three interwoven stories in this edition, which for apparent cost savings does not have the furious five. So this is a one-hero show. The dominant thread is the father-son story. I guess I can understand why this so deeply plays in...

Published July 1, 2024
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Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga (2024)
Fury is born.
Filmmaker(s): George Miller

As the world fell, young Furiosa is snatched from the Green Place of Many Mothers and falls into the hands of a great Biker Horde led by the Warlord Dementus. Sweeping through the Wasteland they come across the Citadel presided over by The Immortan Joe. While the two Tyrants war for dominance, Furiosa must survive many trials as she puts together the means to find her way home.

Maxxed out I understand how this was made. ‘Fury Road’ was a mess, a rescued, done-over-several-times mess that few people involved thought would work, but it did. So the studios were eager to make another, and Miller already had the prequel sketched because he needed a...

Published June 29, 2024
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Inside Out 2 (2024)
Make room for new emotions.
Filmmaker(s): Kelsey Mann

Teenager Riley's mind headquarters is undergoing a sudden demolition to make room for something entirely unexpected: new Emotions! Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust, who’ve long been running a successful operation by all accounts, aren’t sure how to feel when Anxiety shows up. And it looks like she’s not alone.

Lassiter Layers Decades ago, I had the charter to ‘study Hollywood’, ostensibly as a model for virtual enterprises, but that extended into my now serious study of folding in film narrative. One expression of folding is the play within the play, where you have narratives and narrative...

Published June 23, 2024
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Lost Treasures of the Maya (2018)
Filmmaker(s): Frederick R. Friedel

A new "treasure map" of the Maya world is transforming what we thought we knew of one of the world most mysterious ancient civilizations.

Indiana, No Jones There are a lot of ways to make a documentary, but it seems there are two familiar models. The one I want is about the subject: I want to know about these people, and their ways through what we see of their cities....

Published June 21, 2024
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The Fall Guy (2024)
Fall hard.
Filmmaker(s): David Leitch

Fresh off an almost career-ending accident, stuntman Colt Seavers has to track down a missing movie star, solve a conspiracy and try to win back the love of his life while still doing his day job.

No Stuntman This film, and every comment I’ve seen seems to not be aware of 1980s ‘The Stunt Man”. That was a similar setup, but before the noir device evolved to the comedic. In the earlier film, the fact of the stunt guy being so was...

Published June 20, 2024
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Derek DelGaudio’s In & Of Itself (2020)
Identity is an illusion.
Filmmaker(s): Frank Oz

Storyteller and Conceptual Magician Derek DelGaudio attempts to understand the illusory nature of identity and answer the deceptively simple question 'Who am I?'

Dark Crystal Frank Oz has always puzzled me. He is the second voice, the Garfunkle to whomever is the Simon. He is not the guy to have and manifest the primary vision, so his projects are inept. On the other hand, given a framework from a...

Published June 16, 2024
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The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare (2024)
Discover the first special forces mission in history.
Filmmaker(s): Guy Ritchie

During World War II, the British Army assigns a group of competent soldiers to carry out a mission against the Nazi forces behind enemy lines... A true story about a secret British WWII organization – the Special Operations Executive. Founded by Winston Churchill, their irregular warfare against the Germans helped to change the course of the war, and gave birth to modern black operations.

Slap in the Face Richie is not on my list of filmmakers to admire, but he has indeed made some admirable films, with probably the best being ‘Snatch’, a layering of noir and introspective humour, with harpsichord. They are jaunty, unique, personally cinematic. One might say...

Published June 4, 2024
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