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Train to Busan (2016)
Life-or-death survival begins.
Filmmaker(s): Yeon Sang-ho

When a zombie virus pushes Korea into a state of emergency, those trapped on an express train to Busan must fight for their own survival.

Ahead of schedule This is simply a hectic escape film, where all the attention is toward anticipating where the viewer thinks it is going and staying a half step ahead. I’d say it is remarkable in how well it succeeds; I cannot recall it ever...
Published April 20, 2024
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Dinotrux (2015–2017)

Half dinosaur, half construction truck, full-on fun! Watch giant Ty Rux, his little buddy Revvit and the crew come face-to-face with evil D-Structs.

Inner Toys My kids have outgrown this by a few years; I suppose it takes that long to have the tendency fade to dismiss it as trivial. I actually have a rather high opinion of this now. These types of things have three layers. There’s...
Published April 20, 2024
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Dune: Part Two (2024)
Long live the fighters.
Filmmaker(s): Denis Villeneuve

Follow the mythic journey of Paul Atreides as he unites with Chani and the Fremen while on a path of revenge against the conspirators who destroyed his family. Facing a choice between the love of his life and the fate of the known universe, Paul endeavors to prevent a terrible future only he can foresee.

Melange In my comment on Part One, I noted that the complex charm of the books would in this part be flattened to basically two things: vast engagements with the environment, and action scenes: armies and heroes fighting. This is an action movie, alas, though...
Published April 12, 2024
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Dune (2021)
It begins.
Filmmaker(s): Denis Villeneuve

Paul Atreides, a brilliant and gifted young man born into a great destiny beyond his understanding, must travel to the most dangerous planet in the universe to ensure the future of his family and his people. As malevolent forces explode into conflict over the planet's exclusive supply of the most precious resource in existence-a commodity capable of unlocking humanity's greatest potential-only those who can conquer their fear will survive.

Knives, Teeth, Motion I am perhaps not a good demographic for this. I saw ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ when it was new, the same as Herbert. I’m a bit younger, but I went through the same study of religious traditions before Buddhisms of the new age...
Published April 7, 2024
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Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)
Some missions are not a choice.
Filmmaker(s): Christopher McQuarrie

When an IMF mission ends badly, the world is faced with dire consequences. As Ethan Hunt takes it upon himself to fulfill his original briefing, the CIA begin to question his loyalty and his motives. The IMF team find themselves in a race against time, hunted by assassins while trying to prevent a global catastrophe.

Rebecca Again Tom does his badass stuff. I don’t know how far he can take this, and how long we will care. But there is something going on here in the MI universe. Now in this film we have history. The universe matters. A bad...
Published March 21, 2024
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Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (2015)
Desperate times. Desperate measures.
Filmmaker(s): Christopher McQuarrie

Ethan and team take on their most impossible mission yet—eradicating 'The Syndicate', an International and highly-skilled rogue organization committed to destroying the IMF.

The Woman After the disaster that I consider ‘Barbie’ and the very mixed feelings I have about ‘Wonder Woman’, I’ve been sensitive to how women are often portrayed in action films, how I feel about it, and what would be better. I completely forget what...
Published March 9, 2024
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Elemental
Opposites react.
Filmmaker(s): Peter Sohn

In a city where fire, water, land and air residents live together, a fiery young woman and a go-with-the-flow guy will discover something elemental: how much they have in common.

Spatial Depth I suppose most people will talk about the story. It has the by now standard Father dynamics. The also now standard tension from a systemic (I hesitate to say ‘environmental’) threat rather than a bad guy. And a love story of the typical...
Published February 28, 2024
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Gulliver’s Travels (2010)
Something big is going down.
Filmmaker(s): Rob Letterman

Travel writer Lemuel Gulliver takes an assignment in Bermuda, but ends up on the island of Liliput, where he towers over its tiny citizens.

Action Figures There is something brilliant about this project, something absolutely brilliant. You will find it hard to locate in the storm of distracting bad decisions elsewhere. The bad? Well, you can read about that elsewhere. A cheap film factory and story meets the three...
Published February 23, 2024
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True Grit (2010)
Punishment comes one way or another.
Filmmaker(s): Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Following the murder of her father by a hired hand, a 14-year-old farm girl sets out to capture the killer. To aid her, she hires the toughest U.S. Marshal she can find—a man with 'true grit'—Reuben J. 'Rooster' Cogburn.

Pumice The Coens are important to me because they invented an approach to film that has had effect in the world of film, dreams and my life. What they are able to do is take us to the edge of a genre, showing us the...
Published February 23, 2024
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The Warrior’s Way (2010)
Assassin. Hero. Legend.
Filmmaker(s): Lee Seung-moo

A warrior-assassin is forced to hide in a small town in the American Badlands after refusing a mission.

Edges I rushed to see this on the big screen because I expect it to go away quickly. This is another movie where the watching is itself not rewarding; the reward is in the awareness of sharing the experience of a risky, somewhat twisted experience....
Published February 22, 2024
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