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A Haunting in Venice (2023)
Death was only the beginning.
Filmmaker(s): Kenneth Branagh

Celebrated sleuth Hercule Poirot, now retired and living in self-imposed exile in Venice, reluctantly attends a Halloween séance at a decaying, haunted palazzo. When one of the guests is murdered, the detective is thrust into a sinister world of shadows and secrets.

The Influence of Inscrutability Agatha Christie based films are a sort of bellwether for me. I think the most important trend in our culture just now is how we play with awareness. The most obvious and experimental centre for that is long form film. The most...


Published November 15, 2023
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The Flash (2023)
Worlds collide.
Filmmaker(s): Andy Muschietti

When his attempt to save his family inadvertently alters the future, Barry Allen becomes trapped in a reality in which General Zod has returned and there are no Super Heroes to turn to. In order to save the world that he is in and return to the future that he knows, Barry's only hope is to race for his life. But will making the ultimate sacrifice be enough to reset the universe?

Illuminated There’s been a decision made to not tune the CGI very much, I guess in the assumption that it won’t matter. The emphasis instead is on a lot of story in many episodic clusters, plus what passes for human interest in this demographic. There is some...


Published September 17, 2023
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The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023)
Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear overalls.

While working underground to fix a water main, Brooklyn plumbers—and brothers—Mario and Luigi are transported down a mysterious pipe and wander into a magical new world. But when the brothers are separated, Mario embarks on an epic quest to find Luigi.

Winning I shudder with the knowledge that in a few days, this grossed higher than any Pixar movie. Imagineer that. This about as charmless as it gets without the floor falling off, so I can only attribute the success to love of the character. As a non-gamer,...


Published September 11, 2023
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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (2023)
Heroes aren't born. They're mutated.
Filmmaker(s): Jeff Rowe

After years of being sheltered from the human world, the Turtle brothers set out to win the hearts of New Yorkers and be accepted as normal teenagers through heroic acts. Their new friend April O'Neil helps them take on a mysterious crime syndicate, but they soon get in over their heads when an army of mutants is unleashed upon them.

Inside the Lines In most respects, this is a conventional film. It has a lot of story, more than one dynamic development, and character portrayals way beyond the normal. Its conventionalism is also reflected in the father dynamic, pervasive these days, the social message of antiracism,...


Published September 5, 2023
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Oppenheimer (2023)

Fours First let me remark on the film itself. Visually, Nolan continues his ‘dogma of performance’ where every decision is slanted toward reality except — predictably — the sex scenes. Structurally, he has mapped his philosophy of folded narrative onto basically four events with nested histories,...


Published August 27, 2023
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The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse (2022)
A journey, in search of home.

The unlikely friendship of a boy, a mole, a fox and a horse traveling together in the boy’s search for home.

Ensnared The affirmative platitudes that anchor this are inescapable, and since they are relatively true, you may as well embrace them. My tween boys did, and I’m glad for it. But why I am recommending this is the art and animation. I have to admit that...


Published August 6, 2023
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Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (2023)

Broken Cosmologies These come to me already broken. For me to enter the world of a film, I have to have some understanding of the world. But over many decades the origins have been confusing. Each movie tosses the cosmology of the previous one and substitutes...


Published July 26, 2023
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No Bears (2022)

Religions All religion is about sex, all tribalisms about religion, and all film about tribalism. This is the form of how I approach things these days, with three layers of introspective epiphany, and a token from the film for each layer. In this case, I thought to share...


Published July 14, 2023
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Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (2021)

Self with Shoes On As I understand it, this was concieved in the breakup of a marriage. The voice and most of the script is by the disappointed wife, and the surrounding framing by the presumably inadequate husband. The actual events had some videos posted to YouTube,...


Published July 14, 2023
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