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127 Hours (2010)
There is no force more powerful than the will to live.
Director: Danny Boyle
Adventure
Drama
Thriller

The true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston's remarkable adventure to save himself after a fallen boulder crashes on his arm and traps him in an isolated canyon in Utah.

The Hand Left in the Thing There are so many filmmakers out there that I am still approaching many films the way they were intended to be approached: as self-contained works of art (or craft). But there are some filmmakers I know well enough to trust...


Published February 16, 2024
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The Passenger (1975)
I used to be somebody else...but I traded him in.
Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
Drama
Thriller
Mystery

David Locke is a world-weary American journalist who has been sent to cover a conflict in northern Africa, but he makes little progress with the story. When he discovers the body of a stranger who looks similar to him, Locke assumes the dead man's identity. However, he soon finds out that the man was an arms dealer, leading Locke into dangerous situations. Aided by a beautiful woman, Locke attempts to avoid both the police and criminals out to get him.

Dying Authentically, Inside Out I watched this again because of the recent loss of Maria Schneider. She was at times important to some influential film experiences by actively supporting passivity, and thus was a sort of transition archetype. And it reminded me once again of the...


Published February 16, 2024
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Central Park Joker (2011)

The Slipperiness of Beginnings I‘m pretty steeped in long form, why it works and how to increase effect. There is the assumption in long form, that you can contain some structure that by itself matters, and in doing so fits into the larger narratives that surround...


Published February 16, 2024
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Source Code (2011)
Make every second count.
Director: Duncan Jones
Thriller
Science Fiction
Mystery

When decorated soldier Captain Colter Stevens wakes up in the body of an unknown man, he discovers he's part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train.

Time and Times and Half Time An unfortunate rule in science fiction is that you have to explain the world. Thus, you have to maintain three story lines. One is the story that you give the viewers to get them from where they are to where...


Published February 16, 2024
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I Am Number Four (2011)
There were nine of us. Three are dead...
Director: D. J. Caruso
Action
Thriller
Science Fiction
Adventure

A teenage fugitive with an incredible secret races to stay one step ahead of the mysterious forces seeking destroy him in this sci-fi action thriller. With three dead and one on the run, the race to find the elusive Number Four begins. Outwardly normal teen John Smith never gets too comfortable in the same identity, and along with his guardian, Henri, he is constantly moving from town to town. With each passing day, John gains a stronger grasp on his extraordinary new powers, and his bond to the beings that share his fantastic fate grows stronger.

The Bad Guys I suppose we will have to endure a succession of movies which feature adults pretending to be high school kids. There will be the girl next door falling in forever-love with a supernatural guy, who is threatened. There is not much here to even...


Published February 16, 2024
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Concorde’s Last Flight (2010)
Documentary

Highly interesting documentary Concorde's Last Flight tells the story of this eventually ill fated super plane, which could fly from London to New York in three and a half hours and travelled at twice the speed of sound but it was it's final flight and the crash just outside Paris of Air France Flight AF4590 that ultimately sealed its fate. Ten years later the French Courts are still trying to discover just what happened and who, if anyone, was to blame.

National Narratives Superficially, this is a collection of interviews from people who built and flew what they consider the greatest aircraft ever built. They literally beam and cry as the story is told. The spine of the story is one of national pride, pride of two...


Published February 14, 2024
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Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)
Twice the awesomeness.
Director: Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Animation
Family
Comedy

Po is now living his dream as The Dragon Warrior, protecting the Valley of Peace alongside his friends and fellow kung fu masters, The Furious Five - Tigress, Crane, Mantis, Viper and Monkey. But Po’s new life of awesomeness is threatened by the emergence of a formidable villain, who plans to use a secret, unstoppable weapon to conquer China and destroy kung fu. It is up to Po and The Furious Five to journey across China to face this threat and vanquish it. But how can Po stop a weapon that can stop kung fu? He must look to his past and uncover the secrets of his mysterious origins; only then will he be able to unlock the strength he needs to succeed.

Seeing Inside I’ve been in China for a month, discovering calligraphic cinematic principles. I had a chance to see this film while there and note two remarkable aspects. The first is that while this is wholly an American film in its obsession with fathers, character sculpting and...


Published February 14, 2024
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Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)
Live Forever Or Die Trying.
Adventure
Action
Fantasy

Captain Jack Sparrow crosses paths with a woman from his past, and he's not sure if it's love -- or if she's a ruthless con artist who's using him to find the fabled Fountain of Youth. When she forces him aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge, the ship of the formidable pirate Blackbeard, Jack finds himself on an unexpected adventure in which he doesn't know who to fear more: Blackbeard or the woman from his past.

New Ships The franchise has shifted. The ‘first trilogy‘ was visually-centred. It was quite literally a ride, allowing Depp room to creatively be silly. Some of the cinematic stretch was significant, and I still remember the Shackleford reference fondly. This is something entirely different. Sure, it...


Published February 14, 2024
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Marwencol (2010)
When his world was stolen, Mark Hogancamp made a world of his own.
Documentary

After a vicious attack leaves him brain-damaged and broke, Mark Hogancamp seeks recovery in "Marwencol", a 1/6th scale World War II-era town he creates in his backyard.

Exposed Cathouse Tortures I saw this with a science documentary that bothered me because instead of giving us the worthwhile narrative of the actual events, it invented a narrative of ‘discovery‘ that was bogus and which occluded the cool stuff. This film settled me because it is...


Published February 14, 2024
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Thor (2011)
Courage is immortal.
Director: Kenneth Branagh
Adventure
Fantasy
Action

Against his father Odin's will, The Mighty Thor - a powerful but arrogant warrior god - recklessly reignites an ancient war. Thor is cast down to Earth and forced to live among humans as punishment. Once here, Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous villain of his world sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth.

Shakespeare, Shouted I continue to maintain that the least imaginative and cinematically effective production group is not Michael Bay‘s, Jerry Bruckheimer‘s, or that gleeful combination of Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. It is Marvel, who time after time think a hard punch is an effective punch,...


Published February 14, 2024
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