Rio 2 (2014)

People, Not Situations Getting back into thinking about how narratives get put together, I am reminded of how many radically different strategies there are in approaching a film. If you talk to the (old) Pixar guys, what you’ll hear is a focus on story, a cinematic notion of story, above all else. The story comes… Continue reading Rio 2 (2014)

Paddington (2014)

Birds Years ago, when I saw Billy Elliot, my attention was drawn away from where it was intended. I saw instead a tragic film about a little girl whose mother was more interested in a talented outsider. That mother was played by the redoubtable Julie Walters; her presence compared to the weakness of the others… Continue reading Paddington (2014)

Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Detectives There’s something profoundly offensive about this. Oh, it isn’t the gratuitous catalog of stereotypes. It is the fact that they are stereotypes, unmodified in any way. It isn’t that it doesn’t move, but that it does so without passion. Borrowing is part of life, but a simple collage is different than a living ecosystem.… Continue reading Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Indestructible Man (1956)

Jack Webb at 287,000 Volts This is an absolutely horrid little film, not worth watching. It is a cheap blend of “Frankenstein” and the popular TeeVee show “Dragnet”, with a little “Third Man” thrown in. Dragnet started as a radio show and this project would have been better as a radio show. In fact, I… Continue reading Indestructible Man (1956)

In Her Shoes (2005)

Dislexika Once you know chronic problems faced by certain trades, you will notice how some projects reach to do some necessary thing. For instance, filming people around a dinner table is rarely done well, and almost never with great effect. So watch what the filmmaker does to change the geometry so that the shot can… Continue reading In Her Shoes (2005)

Top Gun Maverick (2022)

Practical Performance Gosh, there is so much not to like here, on top of the fact that this reinforces a positive trend in film; the effects are largely practical, pitting Cruise against Cameron for the future of film. We could probably stand the competition for our imagination. I heartily endorse it, and I think it… Continue reading Top Gun Maverick (2022)

The Fifth Wave (2016)

Water Films made for kids, by kids. It seems safe enough: use a best seller from the YA bookshelf. Have some reasonable action scenes. Hire a known kid actor. Insert a romance and a twist, and take the money. It should not be fair for me to comment on this as if I were the… Continue reading The Fifth Wave (2016)

Chef (2014)

Street Audiences I watched this with the presumably self referential Nic Cage movie. I found that film far less self-referential than advertised, and this far more so. Favreau denies the connection that I am making here, but it hardly matters whether he intended the connection or not. It could simply be that he does not… Continue reading Chef (2014)

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