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Audition (1999)
She always gets a part.
Director: Takashi Miike
Horror
Drama

Seven years after the death of his wife, widower Shigeharu seeks advice on how to find a new wife from a colleague. Taking advantage of their position as a film company, they stage an audition. Interviewing a series of women, Shigeharu is enchanted by the quiet Asami. But soon things take a twisted turn as Asami isn’t what she seems to be.

Simple Folding of a Love Story People forget that ‘Casablanca’ was a B-movie, made quickly and cheaply. Its success depended on its unimportance -- several modern trends were being followed by the various artists involved and they had the freedom to go a little further...


Published October 26, 2022
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Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
Every generation has a legend
Director: J.J. Abrams
Adventure
Action
Science Fiction

The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once again as the journey of Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron continues. With the power and knowledge of generations behind them, the final battle begins.

Folded Vision, Urges and Space Reflective Engagement I normally write about folding; the most obvious is when a film contains a film or play, but there are a bewildering number of types. The most interesting of these to me is when the film 'folds' the watcher in,...


Published October 26, 2022
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The Forbidden Kingdom (2008)
The battle for eternity is the fantasy of a lifetime.
Director: Rob Minkoff
Action
Adventure
Fantasy

An American teenager who is obsessed with Hong Kong cinema and kung-fu classics makes an extraordinary discovery in a Chinatown pawnshop: the legendary stick weapon of the Chinese sage and warrior, the Monkey King. With the lost relic in hand, the teenager unexpectedly finds himself travelling back to ancient China to join a crew of warriors from martial arts lore on a dangerous quest to free the imprisoned Monkey King.

The Dance As a film considered the ordinary way, this is ordinary. It has a common framing device that folds the narrative: a wimpy kid rents lots of Kung Fu movies. Then he enters those movies which here are conflated with dreams. Pretty ordinary by recent...


Published October 23, 2022
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Hero (2002)
Director: Edward A. Biery

Space Two things interesting about this project. First, the sad news, at least for the Chinese, that the Japanese have finally won. This is a Japanese film in all important respects: the theming by lush colour, the rather modern notion of benevolent conquest (genuinely originating in...


Published October 23, 2022
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Free Solo (2018)
Live beyond fear.
Director: Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin
Documentary
Adventure

Follow Alex Honnold as he attempts to become the first person to ever free solo climb Yosemite's 3,000 foot high El Capitan wall. With no ropes or safety gear, this would arguably be the greatest feat in rock climbing history.

Needy Films are stories. When the story is in the real world, a different set of narrative engineering principles come in to play. A default is that somehow the filmmaker and crew present their own story of the quest for what we separately see. But there is...


Published October 9, 2022
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Moon (2009)
The last place you'd ever expect to find yourself.
Director: Duncan Jones
Science Fiction
Drama

With only three weeks left in his three year contract, Sam Bell is getting anxious to finally return to Earth. He is the only occupant of a Moon-based manufacturing facility along with his computer and assistant, GERTY. When he has an accident however, he wakens to find that he is not alone.

I, Me, Mine Movies like this, ones that have open seams, are made for me. This happens to me a lot. This is a story with no intended ambiguities. A solitary man on the moon discovers he is an expendable clone, discovering then conspiring with one of...


Published October 9, 2022
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Bullet Train (2022)
The end of the line is just the beginning.
Director: David Leitch
Action
Comedy
Thriller

Unlucky assassin Ladybug is determined to do his job peacefully after one too many gigs gone off the rails. Fate, however, may have other plans, as Ladybug's latest mission puts him on a collision course with lethal adversaries from around the globe—all with connected, yet conflicting, objectives—on the world's fastest train.

Stations I admit to thinking the Deadpool experiments are offensive. They have introspection of the kind I study, but it is one-dimensional and the humour doesn’t justify the sacrifice of self-aware sophistication. But this folds in the best parts of ‘Pulp Fiction’, and I find it...


Published September 30, 2022
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Trents Last Case (1952)
A Woman's Kiss That Killed
Director: Herbert Wilcox
Mystery

When a wealthy business man is found dead reporter Philip Trent is sent to investigate. Against the police conclusions, he suspects the assumed suicide is really a murder, and becomes highly interested in the young widow and the dead man's private secretary.

Hidden This should be a superb movie in the mystery tradition. It has a truly complex plot that has several reveals, and a suitably Holmes-like detective. The problem is that we see the detective working things out like a Poirot would. But we learn absolutely nothing...


Published September 30, 2022
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The Man Without a Map (1968)
Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara
Mystery

A private detective is hired to find a missing man by his wife. While his search is unsuccessful, the detective's own life begins to resemble the man for whom he is searching.

Life as Navigation Everyone has an anchor when they enter a film. With a little exposure to world cinema, that anchor for each film is rooted in the tradition you select from that culture. This is a personal choice, made long before you encounter the film....


Published September 30, 2022
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In Bruges (2008)
Shoot first. Sightsee later.
Director: Martin McDonagh
Comedy
Drama
Crime

Ray and Ken, two hit men, are in Bruges, Belgium, waiting for their next mission. While they are there they have time to think and discuss their previous assignment. When the mission is revealed to Ken, it is not what he expected.

The Setup There are a lot of writerly things going on with this script. Most of them are standard devices. Almost too standard. But there is something I noticed. The spoiler here is that the story takes over by the very end and the structure of the...


Published September 23, 2022
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