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Sherlock: The Abominable Bride (2016)
Welcome to Sherlock 1895!
Filmmaker(s): Douglas Mackinnon

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson find themselves in 1890s London in this holiday special.

What is written writes itself I can’t say enough good things about this. Let’s start with what it is not. It is not rewarding long form filmmaking. It is TeeVee, and despite the rush of talent into TeeVee series, and their ability to engage, this will...


Published February 4, 2024
| Categorised as IMDB Comments, Threes |
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The Girl with All the Gifts (2016)
Our greatest threat is our only hope.
Filmmaker(s): Colm McCarthy

In the future, a strange fungus has changed nearly everyone into thoughtless, flesh-eating monsters. When a scientist and a teacher find a girl who seems to be immune to the fungus, they all begin a journey to save humanity.

Film as Virus to Fight Us Zombie films have always been about social analogy: AIDS, immigration, Islam!, climate change, AI revolt. Regardless, it is always followed the western form of good guys, bad guys. Always. This one twists that from the very first moments which focuses...


Published February 3, 2024
| Categorised as IMDB Comments, Threes |
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Moana (2016)
The ocean is calling.
Filmmaker(s): Ron Clements, John Musker

In Ancient Polynesia, when a terrible curse incurred by Maui reaches an impetuous Chieftain's daughter's island, she answers the Ocean's call to seek out the demigod to set things right.

Disney within Disney I was expecting a standard, manufactured Disney Princess item. What I encountered was a powerful embodiment of myth in a young woman, with the notable exceptions of the coconut pirate and glittery crab sequences. These were conceived and directed by others. I suppose...


Published November 19, 2023
| Categorised as Fours, IMDB Comments |
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Star Trek Beyond (2016)
The final frontier...and beyond.
Filmmaker(s): Justin Lin

The USS Enterprise crew explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a mysterious new enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test.

Rubber Bands Break Star Trek in any incarnation confounds me; I cannot understand the appeal without getting depressed about the low level of cinematic and narrative challenge some audiences require. But these days I am interested in smoke, water and the special effects that have devolved...


Published February 25, 2023
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The Great Wall (2016)
1700 years to build. 5500 miles long. What were they trying to keep out?
Filmmaker(s): Zhang Yimou

European mercenaries searching for black powder become embroiled in the defense of the Great Wall of China against a horde of monstrous creatures.

Jump! I am an admirer of this filmmaker, and he does better when he gets closer to a single soul or small collection of them. But for large projects he seems to be able to understand how to group extras and their CG equivalent for...


Published November 6, 2022
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Goldstone (2016)
Where worlds collide.
Filmmaker(s): Ivan Sen

Indigenous Detective Jay Swan arrives in the frontier town of Goldstone on a missing persons inquiry. What seems like a simple investigation unearths an intricate web of crime, corruption, human trafficking, and coordinated exploitation of indigenous people’s land. Jay must bury his differences with young local cop Josh, so together they can bring justice to Goldstone.

Less Lessons The shape of this is ordinary. The forces at work are familiar: big company, coopted locals, indigenous victims. It happens to be well crafted, so is better in quality than most. But it has two features that endear it, at least to me. It has...


Published September 21, 2022
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The Fifth Wave (2016)
Protect Your Own
Filmmaker(s): J Blakeson

16-year-old Cassie Sullivan tries to survive in a world devastated by the waves of an alien invasion that has already decimated the population and knocked mankind back to the Stone Age.

Water Films made for kids, by kids. It seems safe enough: use a best seller from the YA bookshelf. Have some reasonable action scenes. Hire a known kid actor. Insert a romance and a twist, and take the money. It should not be fair for me to...


Published July 1, 2022
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Ice Age 5: Collision Course (2016)
One small step. One giant mess.
Filmmaker(s): Mike Thurmeier

Set after the events of Continental Drift, Scrat's epic pursuit of his elusive acorn catapults him outside of Earth, where he accidentally sets off a series of cosmic events that transform and threaten the planet. To save themselves from peril, Manny, Sid, Diego, and the rest of the herd leave their home and embark on a quest full of thrills and spills, highs and lows, laughter and adventure while traveling to exotic new lands and locations.

Acorny I cannot recall which of the previous I liked and why. It may have been the story that included the telling of a story. But that depends on coherence, and what have here are several sties or skits smeared into each other. There are the...


Published May 13, 2022
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Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)
The quest begins
Filmmaker(s): Travis Knight

Kubo mesmerizes the people in his village with his magical gift for spinning wild tales with origami. When he accidentally summons an evil spirit seeking vengeance, Kubo is forced to go on a quest to solve the mystery of his fallen samurai father and his mystical weaponry, as well as discover his own magical powers.

Gently Weeps This film hit a sweet spot for me. It merges essential Shintoism, magic and origami in a story about storytelling, four subjects of deep interest for me. This is orgasmic level engagement, this mix. I need to see it again in 3D to see...


Published May 13, 2022
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