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Uncharted (2022)
Fortune favors the bold.
Filmmaker(s): Ruben Fleischer

A young street-smart, Nathan Drake and his wisecracking partner Victor “Sully” Sullivan embark on a dangerous pursuit of “the greatest treasure never found” while also tracking clues that may lead to Nathan’s long-lost brother.

The Search for Women Villains I came to this to have something to watch with my 9 and 10 year olds, and for that it was a rousing success. As I’m not familiar with the source material, I can judge it purely on the films and...


Published May 13, 2022
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Turning Red (2022)
Growing up is a beast.
Filmmaker(s): Domee Shi

Thirteen-year-old Mei is experiencing the awkwardness of being a teenager with a twist – when she gets too excited, she transforms into a giant red panda.

Transitions When narrative transitions occur, they sometimes follow the world and seem smooth, or they try and engineer the future and are jagged. I think this is the latter. Superficially, this film extends the Disney effort to cover all ethnicities with princess characters. It makes business sense...


Published May 13, 2022
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Christopher Robin (2018)
Don't underestimate the value of doing nothing.
Filmmaker(s): Marc Forster

Christopher Robin, the boy who had countless adventures in the Hundred Acre Wood, has grown up and lost his way. Now it’s up to his spirited and loveable stuffed animals, Winnie The Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and the rest of the gang, to rekindle their friendship and remind him of endless days of childlike wonder and make-believe, when doing nothing was the very best something.

Stuck in the Box The story is conventional Disney, and in the trend of expanding the reach of established properties, with as little actual drama as possible. Three things are notable to me. This was shot on video, with a deliberate nod to cheap TeeVee productions from...


Published May 13, 2022
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Blown Away (2019)
Filmmaker(s): Giovanni Fago

Ten master artists turn up the heat in glassblowing sculpture challenges for the chance to win $60,000 in prizes and the title of champion.

Someone Else’s Bubble I don’t know who originated the formula. I’ve seen it on “Legomasters”. You start with 8 teams, here 8 glass artists. You give them an assignment, material and some time. Then their creation is judged, someone eliminated until there is a winner. With Lego...


Published May 13, 2022
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David Bull: The Great Wave (2015)

A Hello Now that I am free from posting on IMDB, I can watch films and study alternative film sources that matter. Movies emerged from a context. I understand that context in the West well enough for my purposes. The narrative devices I study are inherited...


Published May 13, 2022
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Ice Age 5: Collision Course (2016)
One small step. One giant mess.
Filmmaker(s): Mike Thurmeier

Set after the events of Continental Drift, Scrat's epic pursuit of his elusive acorn catapults him outside of Earth, where he accidentally sets off a series of cosmic events that transform and threaten the planet. To save themselves from peril, Manny, Sid, Diego, and the rest of the herd leave their home and embark on a quest full of thrills and spills, highs and lows, laughter and adventure while traveling to exotic new lands and locations.

Acorny I cannot recall which of the previous I liked and why. It may have been the story that included the telling of a story. But that depends on coherence, and what have here are several sties or skits smeared into each other. There are the...


Published May 13, 2022
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Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018)
Rise up.
Filmmaker(s): Steven S. DeKnight

It has been ten years since The Battle of the Breach and the oceans are still, but restless. Vindicated by the victory at the Breach, the Jaeger program has evolved into the most powerful global defense force in human history. The PPDC now calls upon the best and brightest to rise up and become the next generation of heroes when the Kaiju threat returns.

Head Space I really disliked the first one. The world building, in retrospect, was very impressive, building on a number of strong cinematic conventions that were ripe for evolution. But all the backstory and parallel plots, all the character development was within a single testosterone paradigm....


Published May 13, 2022
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The Hunger Games (2012)
May the odds be ever in your favor.
Filmmaker(s): Gary Ross

Every year in the ruins of what was once North America, the nation of Panem forces each of its twelve districts to send a teenage boy and girl to compete in the Hunger Games. Part twisted entertainment, part government intimidation tactic, the Hunger Games are a nationally televised event in which “Tributes” must fight with one another until one survivor remains. Pitted against highly-trained Tributes who have prepared for these Games their entire lives, Katniss is forced to rely upon her sharp instincts as well as the mentorship of drunken former victor Haymitch Abernathy. If she’s ever to return home to District 12, Katniss must make impossible choices in the arena that weigh survival against humanity and life against love. The world will be watching.

More Games, Less Hunger I am seeing this a second time with pre teenagers, close to the target market for the books I assume. I think for them, the film is serviceable and as they see the series the plot complications will be engaging. But it...


Published May 13, 2022
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Unmistakable Child (2008)
In search of a lifetime
Filmmaker(s): Nati Baratz

In Nepal, a venerable monk, Geshe Lama Konchog, dies and one of his disciples, a youthful monk named Tenzin Zopa, searches for his master's reincarnation. The film follows his search to the Tsum Valley where he finds a young boy of the right age who uncannily responds to Konchog's possessions. Is this the reincarnation of the master? After the boy passes several tests, Tenzin takes him to meet the Dali Lama. Will the parents agree to let the boy go to the monastery, and, if so, how will the child respond? Central to the film is the relationship the child develops with Tenzin.

Unputdownable Tulku If you have not seen this, it documents from the cremation of a senior Buddhist monk to the certification of his reincarnation by the hierarchy though to the Dalai Lama, and subsequent installation in a monastery at about three. We follow the quest by...


Published May 13, 2022
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To Sleep So As to Dream (1986)
Filmmaker(s): Kaizo Hayashi

An aging silent film actress hires a private eye and his wacky but helpful assistant to track down her missing daughter, Bellflower. The two follow a succession of bizarre, obscure clues, until they track down the location of the kidnappers and the daughter.

Mysterious Silences As my readers know, I study folding in film; when films have parallel positions for the viewer as supported by the construction of the thing. Usually, this is a fluid contract between filmmaker and viewer that requires deeper engagement. I like these in part because...


Published May 13, 2022
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