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Source Code (2011)
Make every second count.
Filmmaker(s): Duncan Jones

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...
Filmmaker(s): D. J. Caruso

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)

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.
Filmmaker(s): Jennifer Yuh Nelson

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.
Filmmaker(s): Rob Marshall

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.
Filmmaker(s): Jeff Malmberg

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.
Filmmaker(s): Kenneth Branagh

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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Troll Hunter (2010)
You'll believe it when you see it!
Filmmaker(s): André Øvredal

A group of students investigates a series of mysterious bear killings, but learns that there are much more dangerous things going on. They start to follow a mysterious hunter, learning that he is actually a troll hunter.

Petrified and Exploding Legacy Wow. This is yet another folding of a movie being made into the movie we see, but with the deliberate dissonance of ‘Blair Witch.‘ The game in such things is to play off the difference among layers. Blair did that well, I think. It...


Published February 10, 2024
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Super 8 (2011)
It Arrives.
Filmmaker(s): J.J. Abrams

In 1979 Ohio, several youngsters are making a zombie movie with a Super-8 camera. In the midst of filming, the friends witness a horrifying train derailment and are lucky to escape with their lives. They soon discover that the catastrophe was no accident, as a series of unexplained events and disappearances soon follows. Deputy Jackson Lamb, the father of one of the kids, searches for the terrifying truth behind the crash.

Reborn Another primary layering. This time the idea is to start with a horror subgenre and grow inside it. This is virtually set in the fifties (though literally in 1979). It has the military conspiracy, the small town at risk, the alien monster, the lone cop...


Published February 10, 2024
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The Tree of Life (2011)
Nothing stands still.
Filmmaker(s): Terrence Malick

The impressionistic story of a Texas family in the 1950s. The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father. Jack finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith.

Connected Paths I’ve been studying Chinese calligraphy in the context of the cinematic life. 1300 years ago, Chinese poet-theorists had the notion that layered expression, perhaps with four layers or more, was the purest expression possible. The first of these layers come with the ideograms: you...


Published February 10, 2024
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