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Army of the Dead (2021)
Survivors take all.
Filmmaker(s): Zack Snyder

Following a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas, a group of mercenaries take the ultimate gamble: venturing into the quarantine zone to pull off the greatest heist ever attempted.

Legionnaire’s Disease I was completely taken by “Sucker Punch”: layered, visually imaginative. Narrative ambiguity and engineered parallel causality. “300” on the other hand seemed an unadorned testosterone arc. In both cases, the visual composition was notable, in terms of mastery of rhythm. This is more...
Published May 13, 2022
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Willy’s Wonderland (2021)
Their idea of fun is killer!
Filmmaker(s): Kevin Lewis

When his car breaks down, a quiet loner agrees to clean an abandoned family fun center in exchange for repairs. He soon finds himself waging war against possessed animatronic mascots while trapped inside Willy's Wonderland.

Mechanical I am interested in the projects that successful artists design for themselves. It often shows that they are less interesting than they appear. Actors in particular depend on surrounding artists that remain invisible. Cage’s work is all over the place, but this is pretty...
Published May 13, 2022
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Monster Hunter (2020)
Behind our world, there is another.
Filmmaker(s): Paul W. S. Anderson

A portal transports Cpt. Artemis and an elite unit of soldiers to a strange world where powerful monsters rule with deadly ferocity. Faced with relentless danger, the team encounters a mysterious hunter who may be their only hope to find a way home.

Lovers Back when I was doing this full time, I maintained a database of films where the filmmaker and actor (usually an actress) were lovers. It often imparts a situated intimacy, because you nearly literally see a soul through a lover’s eyes. Is there anything...
Published May 13, 2022
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Uncharted (2022)
Fortune favors the bold.
Filmmaker(s): Ruben Fleischer

A young street-smart, Nathan Drake and his wisecracking partner Victor “Sully” Sullivan embark on a dangerous pursuit of “the greatest treasure never found” while also tracking clues that may lead to Nathan’s long-lost brother.

The Search for Women Villains I came to this to have something to watch with my 9 and 10 year olds, and for that it was a rousing success. As I’m not familiar with the source material, I can judge it purely on the films...
Published May 13, 2022
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John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019)
If you want peace, prepare for war.
Filmmaker(s): Chad Stahelski

Super-assassin John Wick returns with a $14 million price tag on his head and an army of bounty-hunting killers on his trail. After killing a member of the shadowy international assassin’s guild, the High Table, John Wick is excommunicado, but the world’s most ruthless hit men and women await his every turn.

The Last Supper’s Table If you come to this for the much advertised fight choreography or exciting chase scenes, you will be disappointed. We’ve seen more exciting of each many times. There’s no new ground here, no stunts in the Tom Cruise sense to speak...
Published May 13, 2022
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The GrandMaster (2013)
In Martial Arts there is no right or wrong, only the last man standing.
Filmmaker(s): Wong Kar-wai

Ip Man's peaceful life in Foshan changes after Gong Yutian seeks an heir for his family in Southern China. Ip Man then meets Gong Er who challenges him for the sake of regaining her family's honor. After the Second Sino-Japanese War, Ip Man moves to Hong Kong and struggles to provide for his family. In the mean time, Gong Er chooses the path of vengeance after her father was killed by Ma San.

Uppercut I’ve been in training of a sort and unable to view serious movies, so it was difficult to arrange for this, and the anticipation built. Now I regret not having prepared better. Filmmaking for me is calligraphy on water. A filmmaker’s art can be...
Published May 13, 2022
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Haywire (2011)
They left her no choice
Filmmaker(s): Steven Soderbergh

A black ops soldier seeks payback after she is betrayed and left for dead.

Needles I saw this years ago and could not find anything useful to say about it. I saw it again because I am trying to understand what Soderbergh is doing with his life. He worries me because I have invested part of my life to...
Published May 13, 2022
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Looper (2012)
Hunted by your future, haunted by your past.
Filmmaker(s): Rian Johnson

In the year 2044, time travel has not yet been invented but in 30 years it will have been. When the mob wants to get rid of someone, they will send their target into the past where a looper, a hired gun, like Joe is waiting to mop up. Joe is getting rich and life is good until the day the mob decides to close the loop, sending back Joe's future self for assassination.

Annoyingly Trustworthy Monkey Time is all we must encounter; all else is urges. Narrative is built on this simple principle, usually with time forcing the cadence and agents with fate embodying the urges. So when time enters the story as a citizen, we have the...
Published May 13, 2022
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Inception (2010)
Your mind is the scene of the crime.
Filmmaker(s): Christopher Nolan

Cobb, a skilled thief who commits corporate espionage by infiltrating the subconscious of his targets is offered a chance to regain his old life as payment for a task considered to be impossible: "inception", the implantation of another person's idea into a target's subconscious.

Insides of Emma (The Fall of Angels) When I watch a movie, all sorts of machinery kicks in. I am aware of only some of that, and can massage and train only a bit of it — of what I see of myself. This machinery...
Published May 13, 2022
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Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018)
Rise up.
Filmmaker(s): Steven S. DeKnight

It has been ten years since The Battle of the Breach and the oceans are still, but restless. Vindicated by the victory at the Breach, the Jaeger program has evolved into the most powerful global defense force in human history. The PPDC now calls upon the best and brightest to rise up and become the next generation of heroes when the Kaiju threat returns.

Head Space I really disliked the first one. The world building, in retrospect, was very impressive, building on a number of strong cinematic conventions that were ripe for evolution. But all the backstory and parallel plots, all the character development was within a single testosterone...
Published May 13, 2022
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