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The Expendables (2010)
Choose your weapon.
Filmmaker(s): Sylvester Stallone

Barney Ross leads a band of highly skilled mercenaries including knife enthusiast Lee Christmas, a martial arts expert Yin Yang, heavy weapons specialist Hale Caesar, demolitionist Toll Road, and a loose-cannon sniper Gunner Jensen. When the group is commissioned by the mysterious Mr. Church to assassinate the dictator of a small South American island, Barney and Lee visit the remote locale to scout out their opposition and discover the true nature of the conflict engulfing the city.

Sliding Planes "Speedracer" and the "Transformer" movies, even the second "Charlie's Angels." These are silly or even bad films by the conventional measures. This is too. It is vapid, misogynistic and fundamentalist. I wouldn't recommend that anyone go unless they know themselves well enough. But like those other...


Published April 25, 2024
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Train to Busan (2016)
Life-or-death survival begins.
Filmmaker(s): Yeon Sang-ho

When a zombie virus pushes Korea into a state of emergency, those trapped on an express train to Busan must fight for their own survival.

Ahead of schedule This is simply a hectic escape film, where all the attention is toward anticipating where the viewer thinks it is going and staying a half step ahead. I’d say it is remarkable in how well it succeeds; I cannot recall it ever being...


Published April 20, 2024
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Dinotrux (2015–2017)

Half dinosaur, half construction truck, full-on fun! Watch giant Ty Rux, his little buddy Revvit and the crew come face-to-face with evil D-Structs.

Inner Toys My kids have outgrown this by a few years; I suppose it takes that long to have the tendency fade to dismiss it as trivial. I actually have a rather high opinion of this now. These types of things have three layers. There’s the...


Published April 20, 2024
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Missing (2023)
No one disappears without a trace.

When her mother disappears while on vacation in Colombia with her new boyfriend, June’s search for answers is hindered by international red tape. Stuck thousands of miles away in Los Angeles, June creatively uses all the latest technology at her fingertips to try and find her before it’s too late. But as she digs deeper, her digital sleuthing raises more questions than answers... and when June unravels secrets about her mom, she discovers that she never really knew her at all.

Extra data feeds This is a great idea, presenting an entire long form film through computer/phone screens. There’s a bit of a cheat at the end where we are shifted among surveillance cameras where the focus follows the action. I’ve seen a few experiments along these lines,...


Published April 20, 2024
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Next Goal Wins (2023)
Be happy.
Filmmaker(s): Taika Waititi

Dutch coach Thomas Rongen attempts the nearly impossible task of turning the American Samoa soccer team from perennial losers into winners.

Faʻafafine Oh gosh, such a tired story. A weak sports team, including troubled youngsters in need of a father figure. A talented but haunted coach, reluctantly assigned, comes around to adopt the team. Success! Personal fulfilment. I cannot say how many times this film has...


Published April 10, 2024
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Jojo Rabbit (2019)
It's definitely not a good time to be a Nazi
Filmmaker(s): Taika Waititi

A World War II satire that follows a lonely German boy whose world view is turned upside down when he discovers his single mother is hiding a young Jewish girl in their attic. Aided only by his idiotic imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler, Jojo must confront his blind nationalism.

Multipurpose knives I think I would like to hang out with Taika. At any rate, I believe him to be a genuinely good man in a business fraught with otherwise. I actually like when a personal style is deeply reflected in a film or collection, and...


Published April 9, 2024
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Dream Scenario (2023)
Meet the man of your dreams.
Filmmaker(s): Kristoffer Borgli

Hapless family man Paul Matthews finds his life turned upside down when millions of strangers suddenly start seeing him in their dreams. But when his nighttime appearances take a nightmarish turn, Paul is forced to navigate his newfound stardom.

Films within The core of film structure these days is elaborating on where the viewer is. The two historical devices are films within, and noir, where an unwitting soul is manipulated for our amusement. So it makes sense that we would from time to time have both...


Published April 6, 2024
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Bottles (1936)
Filmmaker(s): Hugh Harman

A dark and stormy night in a drugstore. The druggist mixes a potion and falls asleep. The skull-and-crossbones on the bottle comes to life and drips the potion on the druggist.

A Mind Ajar It seems that one major theology of animation concerns the animating (meaning coming to life) of normally inanimate objects. It is one strain worth tracing, because with today’s film technologies, animals can easily be seen to talk and even wear clothes and such....


Published April 2, 2024
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Bottoms (2023)
A movie about empowering women (the hot ones)
Filmmaker(s): Emma Seligman

Unpopular best friends PJ and Josie start a high school self-defense club to meet girls and lose their virginity. They soon find themselves in over their heads when the most popular students start beating each other up in the name of self-defense.

Underpanty underparty I suppose the target demographic are teens and maybe the LGB crowd. But it worked for me, an old guy. I can say that it worked in the ‘female disempowerment space’ which is now a sub-genre, and it worked far better than ‘Barbie’ did. Like...


Published April 2, 2024
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Infinity (1996)
Filmmaker(s): Matthew Broderick

Story of the early life of genius and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman.

Surely You Jest Some theorists live in the world of their theories. If you are going to pay attention to people, these are the most worthwhile. And certainly if you are going to build a film around them, you have some pretty rich possibilities. That’s because...


Published April 2, 2024
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