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Strange World (2022)
Journey to a place where nothing is as it appears!
Filmmaker(s): Don Hall

A journey deep into an uncharted and treacherous land, where fantastical creatures await the legendary Clades—a family of explorers whose differences threaten to topple their latest, and by far most crucial, mission.

Ted’s Law Forget the story; despite the appealing message(s) this is not a decent way to spend time. But it does illustrate a principle I have noticed, which I believe applies universally in film projects and in most successful introspective AI projects. I modestly call this...


Published January 1, 2023
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A Walk on the Moon (1999)
It was the summer of Woodstock... when she became the woman she always wanted to be.
Filmmaker(s): Tony Goldwyn

The world of a young housewife is turned upside down when she has an affair with a free-spirited blouse salesman.

Nixon Wins This is a huge failure as a movie, but an interesting one in a way. At least for someone my age who lived through the period appropriated here. Here’s the basic challenge in showing a love story: how do you cinematically show the pulls on...


Published December 25, 2022
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A Separate Peace (2004)
Filmmaker(s): Peter Yates

Four friends with one dark secret they could never outrun.

Parallel Branches Some books seem natural for high school study. They need to be simple to read, but contain enough ambiguity and analogy to show students that real literature is more than a plot. If the book is set in high school, so much the better....


Published December 25, 2022
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Perfect Day (1929)
Goodbye...
Filmmaker(s): James Parrott

Two families embark on a pleasant Sunday picnic but manage to run into a variety of issues with their temperamental automobile. Each incident requires repeated exits and reboardings by Laurel, Hardy, their wives and grouchy, gout-ridden Uncle Edgar.

Not Perfect I am in the midst of watching a lot of Laurel and Hardy shorts. I’m amazed at a few things. There are over a hundred. They all use the same gag philosophy, often the same gags. And they range from pretty darn funny to...


Published December 24, 2022
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A Jolly Good Furlough (1943)
Filmmaker(s): Dan Gordon

Popeye is doing a great job of sinking Japanese ships (complete with toilet-flush sound effect). A carrier pigeon brings him notice that he's been granted a month furlough, which he plans to spend with Olive and his nephews. But on arrival, he's run over by Olive, who immediately leaves him alone with his nephews, who are practicing home defense.

Home not Attractive I’ve been watching propaganda movies recently. I don’t think we appreciate the government influence on the industry. It is easiest to see here. In this case, the message seems to be that GIs can be relatively happy away compared to home. The story is that...


Published December 24, 2022
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A Good Day to Die Hard (2013)
Yippee Ki-Yay Mother Russia
Filmmaker(s): John Moore

Iconoclastic, take-no-prisoners cop John McClane, finds himself for the first time on foreign soil after traveling to Moscow to help his wayward son Jack - unaware that Jack is really a highly-trained CIA operative out to stop a nuclear weapons heist. With the Russian underworld in pursuit, and battling a countdown to war, the two McClanes discover that their opposing methods make them unstoppable heroes.

Vehicle Porn I'm pretty sure I understand how this got funded. The franchise is pretty worn out; since the first one, we have hundreds a year of tough boys and girls who manage to flamboyantly kill a lot of bad guys. (Set aside for a moment...


Published December 24, 2022
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A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
A tale of murder, lust, greed, revenge, and seafood.
Filmmaker(s): Charles Crichton

While a diamond advocate attempts to steal a collection of diamonds, troubles arise when he realises he’s not the only one after the collection.

Remote Brits I watched this recently, and also saw it when it was new. At the time, I suppose it was funny. Now I do not, and I think perhaps it is because the center of gravity for humour has changed. Each of the Pythonista’s had a...


Published December 24, 2022
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Aunt Peg’s Fulfillment (1981)
Shocking...Daring...Erotic
Filmmaker(s): Anthony Spinelli

The continuing lustful sexual adventures of Hollywood producer Aunt Peg as she tries to continue with financing her latest movie project.

Unfulfilling Classic porn, the kind celebrated in “Boogie Nights,” cannot be avoided if you are serious about studying film. An amazing number of these, mostly from the 70s, have pretty cleverly engineered contexts. It is completely different than the porn of today, where there is no attempt...


Published December 24, 2022
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Baby Geniuses (1999)
Think innocent. Think helpless. Think again. Naps are history.
Filmmaker(s): Bob Clark

Scientist hold talking, super-intelligent babies captive, but things take a turn for the worse when a mix-up occurs between a baby genius and its twin.

99 Dalmatians People hate this movie. I’m not sure I know why. Oh, it is bad, but other movies that are just as bad are not seen as so: — with the plot being the some sort of thin adventure. This is actually a bit more interesting than...


Published December 16, 2022
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1984 (1984)
George Orwell's terrifying vision comes to the screen.
Filmmaker(s): Michael Radford

George Orwell's novel of a totalitarian future society in which a man whose daily work is rewriting history tries to rebel by falling in love.

Is What It Shows It is a pet peeve of mine to discover films whose point is undermined by its container. Most of these are the trivial case of movies about taking chances and being unique, but the form of the movie is the complete opposite. What...


Published December 15, 2022
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