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The Third Murder (2017)
Everyone has a truth to want to believe.
Filmmaker(s): Hirokazu Kore-eda

A lawyer tasked with defending a robbery-and-murder suspect begins developing doubts about what truly happened.

Wandering narratives You only have a few choices in film, alas. So when a filmmaker wants an adventure in narrative form, they are constrained. I come to these not for the experience, but to see the choices that have been made and whether they are effective. This...

Published March 24, 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 guy...

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 came after...

Published March 9, 2024
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Ten Little Indians (1987)
Filmmaker(s): Stanislav Govorukhin

A disturbing psychological thriller based on the classic novel by Agatha Christie. Ten strangers are forced to come face to face with their dark pasts after receiving an anonymous invitation to an isolated island off the coast of England.

Invasive You are not likely to find this easily. It is ‘Desyat negrityat’ in its original Russian (Десять негритят), being a comparatively faithful adaptation of an Agatha Christie mystery. Some context why this is interesting. The book is allegedly the largest selling fiction book in the...

Published March 3, 2024
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Good Chemistry: The Story of Elemental (2023)

Combustable This is a companion film to “Elemental’, being more of less the story of the director/writer’s life and how it influenced that animated project. It is a charming piece, done well; clearly, Pixar talent was behind how it was themed and assembled. I am a sucker...

Published March 2, 2024
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Searching (2018)
No one is lost without a trace.
Filmmaker(s): Aneesh Chaganty

After David Kim's 16-year-old daughter goes missing, a local investigation is opened and a detective is assigned to the case. But 37 hours later and without a single lead, David decides to search the one place no one has looked yet, where all secrets are kept today: his daughter's laptop.

Folded Detection As you will know, this is ostensibly all from a few computer screens, manipulated by the father of a missing teen girl. He is searching her various histories, supplemented by internet searches. As a detective, this constitutes the clues. The actual story is also...

Published March 1, 2024
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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 kind...

Published February 28, 2024
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The InBESTigators (2019)

Four clever school kids start their own detective agency and vlog about their adventures, becoming fast friends in the process.

Little Dinners Dear reader, you may never encounter this, an Australian series designed for tweens and their parents. 40 episodes. The setup is four 10-11 year olds set up an ‘agency’ to solve mysteries that as it happens are small by cinematic standards but loom largish in...

Published February 7, 2024
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The Mysterious Affair at Styles (2022)

The Big Reveal This almost made it to my list of fours, just based on its ambition. But I am returning to comments after an absence, and don’t want to be rash. It seems unlikely that you will see this, so I will uncharacteristically describe it. The...

Published February 4, 2024
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A Dream of Dolls Dancing (2017)
Filmmaker(s): Christiane Cegavske

A Dream of Dolls Dancing is a new short film by Christiane Cegavske, the creator of Blood Tea and Red String. In the dead forest, The One dreams. In his dream he hears the siren call of the dolls dancing on a far away island. He must answer their call no matter the risk. In a paper boat on a liquid sea he sails for the island where they dance. Will he find salvation or despair?

Mechanical Some time back, Christmas 2006 to be precise, I saw a film that was so engrossing, I elevated it to a ‘Four’, meaning you really should see this. That list is hard to get on. No filmmaker can have more than two, and no more...

Published January 21, 2024
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