The Extendables (2014)

Terminatered When you push the steroids, you do damage to your body. Your ability to have sex goes away and you get depressed. Your mental acuity suffers. These are known effects that are accepted by actors who have little to offer other than muscles. One expects these people to be dummies, obsessed with demonstrating prowess.… Continue reading The Extendables (2014)

The Equalizer (2014)

Tattoo Signals Standard fare: good guy is endowed with superhuman killing capability, presumably used in the past for what the Agency thought was good. In simple retirement, he is drawn by his sheer goodness into massive, efficient elimination of the bad guys. There isn’t much else to this. What’s interesting here are three stereotypes that… Continue reading The Equalizer (2014)

Ex Machina (2014)

Alpha City This is a superb film. I recommend it highly. My enjoyment of films is divided between the experience when watching and the much longer incubation time afterward. The success in the former in this case fights the appreciation in the latter. This kind of science fiction is all about abstraction. The world is… Continue reading Ex Machina (2014)

Rio 2 (2014)

People, Not Situations Getting back into thinking about how narratives get put together, I am reminded of how many radically different strategies there are in approaching a film. If you talk to the (old) Pixar guys, what you’ll hear is a focus on story, a cinematic notion of story, above all else. The story comes… Continue reading Rio 2 (2014)

Paddington (2014)

Birds Years ago, when I saw Billy Elliot, my attention was drawn away from where it was intended. I saw instead a tragic film about a little girl whose mother was more interested in a talented outsider. That mother was played by the redoubtable Julie Walters; her presence compared to the weakness of the others… Continue reading Paddington (2014)

Chef (2014)

Street Audiences I watched this with the presumably self referential Nic Cage movie. I found that film far less self-referential than advertised, and this far more so. Favreau denies the connection that I am making here, but it hardly matters whether he intended the connection or not. It could simply be that he does not… Continue reading Chef (2014)

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