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Limitless (2011)
What if a pill could make you rich and powerful?
Director: Neil Burger
Thriller
Mystery
Science Fiction

A paranoia-fueled action thriller about an unsuccessful writer whose life is transformed by a top-secret "smart drug" that allows him to use 100% of his brain and become a perfect version of himself. His enhanced abilities soon attract shadowy forces that threaten his new life in this darkly comic and provocative film.

Constraints There are two things here to recommend. The first is that the screenplay is based on a fresh idea that springs from the kind of gangster genre typified by Snatch. I’ll characterise this as an anti-genre film because it uses that genre as a shortcut to...


Published December 24, 2022
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Life in a Day (2011)
The story of one day on Earth.
Director: Kevin Macdonald, Zillah Bowes
Documentary
Drama

A documentary shot by filmmakers all over the world that serves as a time capsule to show future generations what it was like to be alive on the 24th of July, 2010.

Snail Eats Label Life in a day: The Scott brothers sponsor a film with YouTube. I suppose the idea from YouTube’s side is that ordinary people make films that are real, and that allow us to deeply share humanity...


Published December 24, 2022
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A Cinderella Story (2004)
Once upon a time... can happen any time.
Director: Mark Rosman
Comedy
Family
Romance

Routinely exploited by her wicked stepmother, the downtrodden Samantha Montgomery is excited about the prospect of meeting her Internet beau at the school's Halloween dance.

Variations Yes, this is a simple syrupy tale, childish and cliched with actors of ordinary skill and charm. But I liked it. The oddest thing is that though Disney cannot make decent cartoons any more, they sure have the old fashioned sentimental tale down, stuff from the...


Published December 24, 2022
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500 Days of Summer (2009)
This is not a love story. This is a story about love.
Director: Marc Webb
Comedy
Drama
Romance

Tom, greeting-card writer and hopeless romantic, is caught completely off-guard when his girlfriend, Summer, suddenly dumps him. He reflects on their 500 days together to try to figure out where their love affair went sour, and in doing so, Tom rediscovers his true passions in life.

Death by Numbers Boy, how frustrating it is to have a movie that is near perfect in some respects but broken in others, especially when it has the potential to do things. This has the potential because it is a love story that bends the expectations for...


Published December 15, 2022
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310 to Yuma (1957)
The lonesome whistle of a train... bringing the gallows closer to a desperado... the showdown nearer to his captor!
Director: Delmer Daves
Western
Drama
Thriller

Dan Evans, a small time farmer, is hired to escort Ben Wade, a dangerous outlaw, to Yuma. As Evans and Wade wait for the 3:10 train to Yuma, Wade's gang is racing to free him.

These Are the Brown Ones I am particularly fond of movies that I can see through other facets: remakes, derivatives, spoofs and so on. This one is particularly rich. The remake is quite modern, a story about making a story. The Crowe character (the bad guy)...


Published December 15, 2022
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Hi’-Neighbor! (1934)
Director: Gus Meins
Comedy

The gang decides to build their own fire engine.

Suburban Between the wars, and in spite of the depression, America remained in two halves. Today, those are red and blue states, but in the 30s it was rural America and the cities. During this time, the cities got bigger and the farm areas somewhat thinner...


Published December 13, 2022
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The African Queen (1951)
The greatest adventure a man ever lived… with a woman!
Director: John Huston
Romance
Adventure

At the start of the First World War, in the middle of Africa’s nowhere, a gin soaked riverboat captain is persuaded by a strong-willed missionary to go down river and face-off a German warship.

Leeches Tom Cruise played an exaggerated version of himself in “Magnolia,” following a tradition set long ago. We liked to believe that the sex sirens we saw in movies the 30’s were really that way in life and probably they were. John Wayne followed, never playing anything...


Published December 12, 2022
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36 Hours to Kill (1936)
Director: Eugene Forde
Drama
Romance

Duke and Jeanie Benson, an outlaw couple hiding out under assumed names. Duke realizes that he has a winning sweepstake ticket and will win $150,000 if he can cash it in without getting apprehended

Making Your Bed I watched this in preparation for “Europa”. Both are essentially railroad movies. This is about a gangster who has come out of hiding to take a train trip to from Los Angeles to Chicago to collect on a sweepstakes ticket. On the train, several...


Published December 8, 2022
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16 Blocks (2006)
1 witness… 118 minutes…
Director: Richard Donner
Action
Adventure
Crime
Thriller

An aging cop is assigned the ordinary task of escorting a fast-talking witness from police custody to a courthouse, but they find themselves running the gauntlet as other forces try to prevent them from getting there.

Blockage Sometimes it is just the man. It is not a new thing that movies promote personality and that certain personalities find their time. One type is the everyman. James Stewart was of this variety. Not a great man or suave. Not a lover or hero. Bruce Willis mines...


Published December 7, 2022
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36 Fillette (1988)
Director: Catherine Breillat
Drama
Romance

Lili, a pouty and voluptuous 14-year-old, is caravan camping with her family in Biarritz. She's self-aware and holds her own in a café conversation with a concert pianist she meets, but she has a wild streak and she's testing her powers over men, finding that she doesn't always control her moods or actions, and she's impatient with being a virgin. She sets off with her brother to a disco, latching onto an aging playboy who is himself hot and cold to her. She is ambivalent about losing her virginity that night, willing the next, and determined by the third.

Evenings of Cabiria In the late seventies, actress/writer Breillat made a film (“Young Girl”) about the nearly suicidal angst of female sexual discovery/fantasy. It is worth watching for the raw honesty, but it misses being a whole film. Five years later, she wrote a Fellini film,...


Published December 6, 2022
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