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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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Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
How do you find an enemy who is hidden right before your eyes?
Drama
Thriller
Mystery

In the bleak days of the Cold War, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet mole within his former colleagues at the heart of MI6.

Control My notion of noir is simple: it is a form of narrative that recognizes that there is a viewer, and that the presence of the viewer reshapes the world to make an interesting story. That is, various unlikely circumstances occur; portholes to visibility by us...


Published February 9, 2024
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Real Steel (2011)
Courage is stronger than steel.
Action
Science Fiction
Drama

Charlie Kenton is a washed-up fighter who retired from the ring when robots took over the sport. After his robot is trashed, he reluctantly teams up with his estranged son to rebuild and train an unlikely contender.

Frankenstein It seems that a successful Hollywood script is one that seems to do something new by recycling trusted parts of bankable film ideas. This one — to judge from the tickets sold — picked good enough bits. Father stuff; coming of age stuff; techno; Karate...


Published February 9, 2024
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Pina (2011)
Dance, dance, otherwise we are lost.
Documentary

Pina is a feature-length dance film in 3D with the ensemble of the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, featuring the unique and inspiring art of the great German choreographer, who died in the summer of 2009.

Light, via Light, for Light It seems the idea about biography — the standard biography — is to be exposed to great souls. The greater and more complex the better, and as long as we stay coherent, the more exposure the better. Apparently German filmmaker Wenders...


Published February 9, 2024
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Midnight in Paris (2011)
Fantasy
Comedy
Romance

A romantic comedy about a family traveling to the French capital for business. The party includes a young engaged couple forced to confront the illusion that a life different from their own is better.

The Woman's Kitchen I am temporarily in a situation where it Is difficult to see a film. Building the conditions to watch one properly are rare, so when you can build such a space, what film do you build it around? As with meal long deferred, most...


Published February 9, 2024
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A Dangerous Method (2011)
Why deny what you desire the most.
Director: David Cronenberg
Drama
Thriller

Seduced by the challenge of an impossible case, the driven Dr. Carl Jung takes the unbalanced yet beautiful Sabina Spielrein as his patient. Jung’s weapon is the method of his master, the renowned Sigmund Freud. Both men fall under Sabina’s spell.

Dream Wetness Doggone. Here is one of the most compelling and deep stories in history. And we have a filmmaker who knows the territory well and has changed my life elsewhere. But the magic is missed here because someone made the decision to show us too...


Published February 9, 2024
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The Artist (2011)
A breath of fresh vintage air
Drama
Comedy
Romance

Hollywood, 1927: As silent movie star George Valentin wonders if the arrival of talking pictures will cause him to fade into oblivion, he sparks with Peppy Miller, a young dancer set for a big break.

Dustcovers I am spending a lot of recent time with my list of essential films, reviewing and enhancing it. Several readers have suggested this film for that list. It has several characteristics that appeal. It is a movie about movies. It is made with movie-making explicit: the...


Published February 9, 2024
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The Gruffalo’s Child (2011)
Adventure
Animation
Family
Fantasy

A follow up to the 2009 animated feature and adapted from the childrens' book by Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler. The Gruffalo's child explores the deep dark wood in search of the big bad mouse and meets the Snake, Owl and Fox in the process. She eventually finds the mouse, who manages to outwit her like the Gruffalo before!

Flat Black Tongues Oh help. Oh no! This is not the Gruffalo. If you know the book of which this story is the sequel, then you have experienced something special. It has an untrusted narrator nested in another untrusted narrator. The inner con is by a mouse...


Published February 5, 2024
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