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Drive (2011)
There are no clean getaways.
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Drama
Thriller
Crime

Driver is a skilled Hollywood stuntman who moonlights as a getaway driver for criminals. Though he projects an icy exterior, lately he's been warming up to a pretty neighbor named Irene and her young son, Benicio. When Irene's husband gets out of jail, he enlists Driver's help in a million-dollar heist. The job goes horribly wrong, and Driver must risk his life to protect Irene and Benicio from the vengeful masterminds behind the robbery.

Neutral I don’t know how many more of these kinds of movies I have room for. And how much tolerance I have for expert craft taking me to the edge of insight and stopping. The focus of this film is an aspergers-like solitary young fellow who,...


Published February 9, 2024
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Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
When patriots become heroes
Action
Adventure
Science Fiction

During World War II, Steve Rogers is a sickly man from Brooklyn who's transformed into super-soldier Captain America to aid in the war effort. Rogers must stop the Red Skull – Adolf Hitler's ruthless head of weaponry, and the leader of an organization that intends to use a mysterious device of untold powers for world domination.

Shifting Interiors It just doesn’t make any sense to me, how consistently bad Marvel‘s films are. Perhaps someone who loves the comics can be transported out of the movie into some well established fantasy world. In that case, all you need are a few cues. But...


Published February 9, 2024
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Lost: The Mystery of Flight 447 (2010)

One year on, a full explanation of what might have happened has emerged.

French Spitoons If you know the aircraft business, you will know that you are far less likely to die from a terrorist attack than choosing to fly on an Airbus instead of a Boeing aircraft. The reason? Fundamentally, the cause is that the...


Published February 9, 2024
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Cars 2 (2011)
Take a trip. See the sights. Save the world.
Animation
Family
Adventure
Comedy

Star race car Lightning McQueen and his pal Mater head overseas to compete in the World Grand Prix race. But the road to the championship becomes rocky as Mater gets caught up in an intriguing adventure of his own: international espionage.

Killer TeeVee You can see Pixar being as Disney-fied at the same time Disney gets Pixar-ated. In this case, the experiments in a spatial camera all go away while the cartoon becomes an ordinary 3D production. And there’s too much story. It is a kid‘s movie, so...


Published February 9, 2024
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Psych (2006-2014)

The Adventure of the Speckled Bandwidth I was assaulted by multiple episodes of this on a transatlantic flight, and got sick. It is typical TeeVee fare in the way it reduces possibly complex dynamics of all kinds to billboard simplicity. Abstraction is always the game with theatrical...


Published February 9, 2024
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Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)
The game is afoot.
Director: Guy Ritchie
Adventure
Action
Crime
Mystery

There is a new criminal mastermind at large (Professor Moriarty) and not only is he Holmes’ intellectual equal, but his capacity for evil and lack of conscience may give him an advantage over the detective.

Intermediaries This is a new genre, I think. You go to it not so much for what it is, but what it points to, and what filters have been applied. Perhaps the genre was cemented with the Depp Pirate movies which had noise and story, but...


Published February 9, 2024
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Red State (2011)
Fear God.
Horror
Action
Thriller

Set in Middle America, a group of teens receive an online invitation for sex, though they soon encounter Christian fundamentalists with a much more sinister agenda.

State Shifting Suppose you are a filmmaker with one skill only. You know it; you have milked it as much as you can and want to grow. Kevin Smith has one talent only: to create and effectively present a world that is a bit different. The difference...


Published February 9, 2024
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Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
The invasion we always feared. An enemy we never expected.
Action
Science Fiction
Adventure

The Autobots continue to work for NEST, now no longer in secret. But after discovering a strange artifact during a mission in Chernobyl, it becomes apparent to Optimus Prime that the United States government has been less than forthright with them.

Panopticon Defects Sometimes you simply get proved wrong. I was wrong and I admit it. When I saw the first Transformers movie, I thought I was seeing something that advanced the cinematic vocabulary. The movie was still otherwise worthless, and the advance was in the service of...


Published February 9, 2024
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Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
No plan. No backup. No choice.
Director: Brad Bird
Action
Thriller
Adventure

Ethan Hunt and his team are racing against time to track down a dangerous terrorist named Hendricks, who has gained access to Russian nuclear launch codes and is planning a strike on the United States. An attempt to stop him ends in an explosion causing severe destruction to the Kremlin and the IMF to be implicated in the bombing, forcing the President to disavow them. No longer being aided by the government, Ethan and his team chase Hendricks around the globe, although they might still be too late to stop a disaster.

The Unused Helo I saw this close to seeing the third Transformer movie, and the lessons are clear. That other film was unconstrained, had no coherence other than the external reference to the world order established by the toy manufacturer. This film in contrast is shaped, pruned...


Published February 9, 2024
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Cowboys & Aliens (2011)
First Contact. Last Stand.
Director: Jon Favreau
Action
Science Fiction
Thriller
Western

A stranger stumbles into the desert town of Absolution with no memory of his past and a futuristic shackle around his wrist. With the help of mysterious beauty Ella and the iron-fisted Colonel Dolarhyde, he finds himself leading an unlikely posse of cowboys, outlaws, and Apache warriors against a common enemy from beyond this world in an epic showdown for survival.

Golden Womb I’ll let others talk about the nature of the disaster here. There are so many disintegrated narrative chunks in this stew that you are forced to grab onto one. The one that fascinates me is what ‘the girl‘ is all about. In the sort of...


Published February 9, 2024
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