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I Robot (2004)
One man saw it coming.
Director: Alex Proyas
Action
Science Fiction

In 2035, where robots are commonplace and abide by the three laws of robotics, a technophobic cop investigates an apparent suicide. Suspecting that a robot may be responsible for the death, his investigation leads him to believe that humanity may be in danger.

Bladewalker Some day, probably soon, we’ll become overtly offended — evolved — when special effects are used to paper over multidimensional weaknesses. Some day, probably far off, we’ll refuse to watch mugging celebrities in the place of actors. Some day, there will be more to stories...


Published November 30, 2022
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9 Songs (2004)
2 lovers, one summer, and the 9 songs that defined them.
Director: Michael Winterbottom
Drama
Music
Romance

Matt, a young glaciologist, soars across the vast, silent, icebound immensities of the South Pole as he recalls his love affair with Lisa. They meet at a mobbed rock concert in a vast music hall - London's Brixton Academy. They are in bed at night's end. Together, over a period of several months, they pursue a mutual sexual passion whose inevitable stages unfold in counterpoint to nine live-concert songs.

Rock and Roll When I saw Scorsese’s “Last Waltz”, I thought that I would never again see a concert film as true. And I haven’t, until now. The Band were the last popular musicians to tell stories, have nearly all those stories be in the third person...


Published November 30, 2022
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Alexander (2004)
The greatest legend of all was real
Director: Oliver Stone
War
History
Action
Adventure
Drama
Romance

Alexander, the King of Macedonia, leads his legions against the giant Persian Empire. After defeating the Persians, he leads his army across the then known world, venturing farther than any westerner had ever gone, all the way to India.

The Borrowed Cyrus and Darius knitted together the largest empire known before or since. Their method was innovative, to allow local control preserving the culture and gods. What they added was infrastructure: roads, a universal set of laws (the first case law) weights and monetary system. The...


Published November 30, 2022
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# Inspector Bellamy (2009)
Director: Claude Chabrol
Drama
Crime

A well known Parisian inspector becomes involved in an investigation while on holiday.

Mystery Man I was never a champion of Chabrol, but I am amazed at what he left as his last film. The film is superficially framed as a detective story but as it progresses it slowly turns inside out as it becomes a discovery about the...


Published November 29, 2022
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How Art Made the World (2005-)
Director: Donald F. Glut
Documentary

Nigel Spivey reveals how the images which surround us today come from the ancient world. It's an epic journey spanning five continents and a hundred thousand years of history.

The Skull in the Livingroom Here is a strange idea for a documentary. Make a movie about why movies work, why we cling to them and how they invent our humanity. Tell a story about storytelling. It is put together by a man who himself is a good...


Published November 29, 2022
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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
Dark Secrets Revealed
Director: David Yates
Adventure
Fantasy

As Lord Voldemort tightens his grip on both the Muggle and wizarding worlds, Hogwarts is no longer a safe haven. Harry suspects perils may even lie within the castle, but Dumbledore is more intent upon preparing him for the final battle fast approaching. Together they work to find the key to unlock Voldemorts defenses and to this end, Dumbledore recruits his old friend and colleague Horace Slughorn, whom he believes holds crucial information. Even as the decisive showdown looms, romance blossoms for Harry, Ron, Hermione and their classmates. Love is in the air, but danger lies ahead and Hogwarts may never be the same again.

Space Opera Over on FilmsFolding there is a discussion on architecture in film and luckily enough this comes along as a great example of space used intensively and to support the definition of world and some narrative elements. It isn’t art. It breaks no new...


Published November 28, 2022
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Au hasard Balthazar (1966)
Director: Robert Bresson
Drama

The story of a donkey Balthazar as he is passed from owner to owner, some kind and some cruel but all with motivations beyond his understanding. Balthazar, whose life parallels that of his first keeper, Marie, is truly a beast of burden, suffering the sins of humankind. But despite his powerlessness, he accepts his fate nobly.

Burdens Sometimes the celebration a film has garnered becomes a burden. This is perhaps the most burdened of all the films I know. The Criterion DVD has a French TeeVee program made when the film was released. It features French intellectual celebrities (which is what France...


Published November 28, 2022
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The Forgotten (2004)
You'll Never Forget The Ones You Love
Director: Joseph Ruben
Thriller
Drama
Mystery
Science Fiction

Telly Paretta is a grieving mother struggling to cope with the loss of her 8-year-old son. She is stunned when her psychiatrist reveals that she has created eight years of memories about a son she never had. But when she meets a man who has had a similar experience, Telly embarks on a search to prove her son's existence, and her sanity.

Two Faces Readers of my other comments on Julianne Moore know that I credit her with being one of the few actresses that can do “folded” acting. That’s where the actor presents us with two characters, one usually _in_ the story and another that engages in...


Published November 28, 2022
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Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)
You lose some, you get some.
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Comedy
Romance
Drama

When Sarah Marshall dumps aspiring musician Peter Bretter for rock star Aldous Snow, Peter's world comes crashing down. His best friend suggests that Peter should get away from everything and to fly off to Hawaii to escape all his problems. After arriving in Hawaii and meeting the beautiful Rachel Jansen, Peter is shocked to see not only Aldous Snow in Hawaii, but also Sarah Marshall.

Puppets This has jokes that often work. It has a genuine pathos that is surprisingly rare and is now the trademark of Apatow productions. It has Hawaii and two women, one pretty the other a beauty. It has a deftly comic foil in the “other boyfriend.”...


Published November 28, 2022
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Freaky Friday (2003)
Mondays are manic. Wednesdays are wild. And Fridays are about to get a little freaky.
Director: Mark Waters
Comedy
Family
Fantasy

Mother and daughter bicker over everything -- what Anna wears, whom she likes and what she wants to do when she's older. In turn, Anna detests Tess's fiancé. When a magical fortune cookie switches their personalities, they each get a peek at how the other person feels, thinks and lives.

Borrowed Eyes I am convinced that many movies are about movies as a matter of demand. When we enter that darkened room, we often expect not be taken to another real reality, but to a movie reality that has some degree of self-awareness. A great many of...


Published November 28, 2022
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