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Billy’s Balloon (1998)
Filmmaker(s): Don Hertzfeldt

A balloon wraps itself around a young child's hand, bringing him higher and higher, much to the child's delight, but a sinister truth begins to unravel.

Inflated This is a replacement comment. The original bothered a diligent reader, so I have made some expansion. Animation is like any film type: artists ally to certain philosophies, perhaps without realising it. In the case of animation, it bumps up against that great American invention, noir....


Published August 27, 2023
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So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993)
The honeymoon was killer.
Filmmaker(s): Thomas Schlamme

Just after a bad breakup, Charlie MacKenzie falls for lovely butcher Harriet Michaels and introduces her to his parents. But, as voracious consumers of sensational tabloids, his parents soon come to suspect that Harriet is actually a notorious serial killer -- "Mrs. X" -- wanted in connection with a string of bizarre honeymoon killings. Thinking his parents foolish, Charlie proposes to Harriet. But while on his honeymoon with her, he begins to fear they were right.

Green Haggis Sometimes a movie only develops worth after a subsequent movie worked. I myself disliked “Shrek” because of the underhanded attempt to undermine the Disney/Pixar alliance, and the smarmy Bill Gates strategy. But some people did like it, largely because of the voices and key...


Published July 27, 2023
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The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)
The Most Horror-Dripping TALE EVER WRITTEN!
Filmmaker(s): Terence Fisher

When a nobleman is threatened by a family curse on his newly inherited estate, detective Sherlock Holmes is hired to investigate.

Mongrel Sherlock was an invention of the times, following the new idea of evolution. The notion of pure reason being able to perceive and comprehend everything in life was especially novel. This was contrasted to the bumbling inductive logic of doctors like Watson. Handling Holmes is...


Published July 27, 2023
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Big Daddy (1999)
Nature called. Look who answered.
Filmmaker(s): Dennis Dugan

A lazy law school grad adopts a kid to impress his girlfriend, but everything doesn't go as planned and he becomes the unlikely foster father.

The Goof It is always been an American film staple to have a simpleminded but purehearted hero. Chaplin invented the image. He would be appalled at how the notion has been appropriated by the US Republican party. An excellent character is all that matters, especially compared...


Published July 27, 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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Betsy’s Wedding (1990)
The wedding picture doesn't always tell the real story.
Filmmaker(s): Alan Alda

Offbeat fashion student Betsy Hopper and her straight-laced investment-banker fiancé Jake Lovell just want an intimate little wedding reception, but Betsy's father Eddie, a Long Island construction contractor, feels so threatened by Jake's rich WASP parents that he blows the ceremony up into a bank-breaking showpiece, sending his wife Lola into a financial panic.

Pillow Fight This is a significant failure for interesting reasons. Situations can be funny. Worlds can be funny. People can be too, but not all at the same time. Alda comes from a tradition where people are funny. Situations are there, and worlds too, but only so that...


Published July 14, 2023
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Behind the Green Door (1972)
The Mitchell Brothers Present the all American Girl

Gloria is kidnapped and taken to a theater where she is told that she will have "the most exquisite moment of her life." She shares many sexual and intimate experiences on a stage in front of a small masked audience that grows increasingly aroused as the performance progresses.

Taxi Driver’s Eyes Wide No history of film can evade porn. Some of it contains some clever ideas and every once in a while it actually influenced something. That’s the case with this. Schrader has explicitly said that this influenced his “Taxi Driver” in the notion of...


Published July 14, 2023
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Being Mick (2001)
You Would if You Could
Filmmaker(s): Kevin Macdonald

For everyone who's always envied the life of the legendary Rolling Stones frontman, this behind-the-scenes documentary lets you in on Mick Jagger's private life, with family home movies and interviews, and also follows him recording and performing songs from his solo Goddess in the Doorway" album. Special appearances by Bono, Pete Townshend, Wyclef Jean, Lenny Kravitz, and others are featured.

Walking Trousers I have such a long list of films to watch that there is often a long lag between the time it appears on the list and the actual watching. Then, part of the fun is figuring out why I was so excited about getting...


Published July 14, 2023
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Liar Liar (1997)
Trust me.
Filmmaker(s): Tom Shadyac

Fletcher Reede is a fast-talking attorney and habitual liar. When his son Max blows out the candles on his fifth birthday he has just one wish - that his dad will stop lying for 24 hours. When Max's wish comes true, Fletcher discovers that his mouth has suddenly become his biggest liability.

Anti Vax Sometimes a film is just a wrapper for a broken person, who when unconstrained amuses us. Robin Williams, Peter Sellers, Jerry Lewis are examples. These are souls we accept because we find an endearing core around which the outrageous behaviour orbits. So far as...


Published July 2, 2023
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National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)
Yule crack up!
Filmmaker(s): Jeremiah S. Chechik

It's Christmastime, and the Griswolds are preparing for a family seasonal celebration. But things never run smoothly for Clark, his wife Ellen, and their two kids. Clark's continual bad luck is worsened by his obnoxious family guests, but he manages to keep going, knowing that his Christmas bonus is due soon.

Shoot Me When I’m Dead John Hughes. What a sad case: is it drugs? He started his career with huge promise: he made films that showed he knew how to dramatise the teenage world without using teenage bluntness. These were sensitive little things that impressed not by...


Published June 29, 2023
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