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The Warrior’s Way (2010)
Assassin. Hero. Legend.
Filmmaker(s): Lee Seung-moo

A warrior-assassin is forced to hide in a small town in the American Badlands after refusing a mission.

Edges I rushed to see this on the big screen because I expect it to go away quickly. This is another movie where the watching is itself not rewarding; the reward is in the awareness of sharing the experience of a risky, somewhat twisted experience....
Published February 22, 2024
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To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)
A federal agent is dead. A killer is loose. And the City of Angels is about to explode.
Filmmaker(s): William Friedkin

A fearless Secret Service agent will stop at nothing to bring down the counterfeiter who killed his partner.

Two Women Making a story that connects is a balancing act that rarely succeeds. You have to use the machinery of storytelling to engage, taking advantage of the power of the devices you select. But at the same time, you have to conceal that machinery....
Published February 22, 2024
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Micmacs (2009)
Non Stop Madness.
Filmmaker(s): Jean-Pierre Jeunet

While standing in the doorway of the video shop where he works, Bazil is inadvertently shot in the head. Now homeless and jobless, he is taken in by a troupe of misfits who live in a giant mound of trash. There Bazil begins his quest for revenge against the people who produced the gun that shot him.

A Very Short Engagement Span This is so very frustrating. Here we have a genius at cinematic space, a gentle, quirky imagination and the skill to know how to start a story. He has made one of the most essential films I know. But he...
Published February 22, 2024
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The Machine Girl (2008)
It's Payback Time!
Filmmaker(s): Noboru Iguchi

The life of a young, Japanese schoolgirl is destroyed when her family is killed by a Ninja-Yakuza family. Her hand cut off, she replaces it with various machines-of-death, and seeks revenge.

Borrowing There’s something disturbing about American filmmakers going to other cultures to borrow porn tropes. ‘Kill Bill‘ just never seemed right, like a traditional Jewish grandmother making Tacos for her goyim daughter-in-law‘s brownie troop because she thought that’s what it was all about. Today, when...
Published February 22, 2024
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Runaway Train (1985)
Desperate, And Determined To Survive.
Filmmaker(s): Andrei Konchalovsky

A hardened convict and a younger prisoner escape from a brutal prison in the middle of winter only to find themselves on an out-of-control train with a female railway worker while being pursued by the vengeful head of security.

Movement Having seen ‘Unstoppable,‘ I had to see this. It is hard to know what influence Kurosawa had on this, but one can guess. He had been through his rejection in Japan, suicide attempt and film made and financed by the Soviets. He subsequently arranged...
Published February 19, 2024
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Tomorrow, When the War Began (2010)
Where were you when everything changed?
Filmmaker(s): Stuart Beattie

Ellie Linton, a teen from an Australian coastal town, leads her friends on an excursion to a camp deep in the woods, dubbed "Hell." Upon their return, the youths find that their town has been overrun by an enemy army, and their friends and family have been imprisoned. When the hostile invaders become alerted to their presence, Ellie and her friends band together to escape -- and strike back against -- this mysterious enemy.

Kids I suppose studios have genre classifications that would put this as ‘action,‘ with a (Australian) patriotic flavour. But my own personal genre classification system has this as a teen stereotype movie. Maybe 20-25% of all movies are of this type, even those featuring adults....
Published February 19, 2024
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The Book of Eli (2010)
Some will kill to have it. He will kill to protect it.

A post-apocalyptic tale, in which a lone man fights his way across America in order to protect a sacred book that holds the secrets to saving humankind.

Can’t Tickle Shucks. I thought for the first 45 minutes that I had found a Denzel Washington film that was right for him and worth watching in ways he helps. Mixing Kung Fu and Jesus is alarmingly common, but this seemed more pure, more cinematic...
Published February 19, 2024
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Sanctum (2011)
The only way out is down.
Filmmaker(s): Alister Grierson

Master diver Frank McGuire has explored the South Pacific's Esa-ala Caves for months. But when his exit is cut off in a flash flood, Frank's team—including 17-year-old son Josh and financier Carl Hurley are forced to radically alter plans. With dwindling supplies, the crew must navigate an underwater labyrinth to make it out.

Enclosed We still have things to discover about 3D movies. It is not at all clear that market forces and corporate interests will drive us toward more powerful art. A basic problem is whether the brain will allow itself to be fooled. I suppose it...
Published February 17, 2024
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The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (2009)
There's A Storm Coming
Filmmaker(s): Daniel Alfredson

After taking a bullet to the head, Salander is under close supervision in a hospital and is set to face trial for attempted murder on her eventual release. With the help of journalist Mikael Blomkvist and his researchers at Millennium magazine, Salander must prove her innocence. In doing this she plays against powerful enemies and her own past.

Invisible Ink I found this trilogy a drudge, getting more tedious in the later chapters. Yes, it is another all-powerful conspiracy story with a dogged detective who triumphs. The only attraction I can see is the border that is straddled here. Our girl is alternately...
Published February 16, 2024
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Sucker Punch (2011)
You will be unprepared.
Filmmaker(s): Zack Snyder

A young girl, institutionalised by her abusive stepfather, retreats to an alternative reality as a coping strategy and envisions a plan to help her escape.

Intersection as the Razor to the Eye By now you will know that this is a box office flop, presumably because it caters to a demographic that gets easily confused, and the more engaged watchers can’t muddle through. I will say that I admire the...
Published February 16, 2024
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