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Lost in the Stars (2022)
Filmmaker(s): Rui Cui, Xiang Liu

He Fei's wife, Li Muzi, disappears during their anniversary trip. When she reappears, he insists that she is not his wife. As Chen Mai, a top lawyer gets involved in this bizarre case, more mysteries start to emerge.

Film within I think I have seen this plot twice before, and pretty sure one was a TeeVee movie. In that case, the orchestrator was the local police chief. What we have here is a combination of noir that turns out to be what I call a...

Published April 20, 2024
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The Mysterious Affair at Styles (2022)

The Big Reveal This almost made it to my list of fours, just based on its ambition. But I am returning to comments after an absence, and don’t want to be rash. It seems unlikely that you will see this, so I will uncharacteristically describe it. The...

Published February 4, 2024
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The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse (2022)
A journey, in search of home.

The unlikely friendship of a boy, a mole, a fox and a horse traveling together in the boy’s search for home.

Ensnared The affirmative platitudes that anchor this are inescapable, and since they are relatively true, you may as well embrace them. My tween boys did, and I’m glad for it. But why I am recommending this is the art and animation. I have to admit that...

Published August 6, 2023
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No Bears (2022)

Religions All religion is about sex, all tribalisms about religion, and all film about tribalism. This is the form of how I approach things these days, with three layers of introspective epiphany, and a token from the film for each layer. In this case, I thought to share...

Published July 14, 2023
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Goodnight Oppy (2022)
A 90-day mission becomes a 15-year journey of opportunity.
Filmmaker(s): Ryan White

The inspirational true story of Opportunity, a rover that was sent to Mars for a 90-day mission but ended up surviving for 15 years. Follow Opportunity’s groundbreaking journey on Mars and the remarkable bond forged between a robot and her humans millions of miles away.

Projections on the Wall-E I work in the broad area called AI. I also spent nearly a decade attached to the space station project (before it was international), and while my time was at Houston and with the engineering side, I know the kinds of folks...

Published January 26, 2023
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The Sea Beast (2022)
Hit the high seas.
Filmmaker(s): Chris Williams

In an era when terrifying beasts roamed the seas, monster hunters were celebrated heroes. None were more beloved than the great Jacob Holland. But when young Maisie Brumble stows away on his fabled ship, he's saddled with an unexpected ally. Together they embark on an epic journey into uncharted waters and make history.

Competent Navigation I am seeing many complaints about the ‘wokeness’ of elements of this. I suppose that is just how America is put together now. Some large number of vocal folks will find lucid history not to their liking. For me, I find the modern reworking...

Published January 16, 2023
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Strange World (2022)
Journey to a place where nothing is as it appears!
Filmmaker(s): Don Hall

A journey deep into an uncharted and treacherous land, where fantastical creatures await the legendary Clades—a family of explorers whose differences threaten to topple their latest, and by far most crucial, mission.

Ted’s Law Forget the story; despite the appealing message(s) this is not a decent way to spend time. But it does illustrate a principle I have noticed, which I believe applies universally in film projects and in most successful introspective AI projects. I modestly call this...

Published January 1, 2023
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Elvis (2022)
The Man. The Legend. The King of Rock & Roll.
Filmmaker(s): Baz Luhrmann

The life story of Elvis Presley as seen through the complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker.

Whole Lotta Shakin’ Baz reinvigorated film. It was a simple concept, and advanced by others long before: having the camera in the chaos. My first experience with this was “Red Shoes”, which though novel in its time isn’t even notable today. What Moulin Rouge did was...

Published December 6, 2022
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Confess, Fletch (2022)
A dead body. A stolen Picasso. And this guy.
Filmmaker(s): Greg Mottola

The roguishly charming and endlessly troublesome Fletch becomes the prime suspect in a murder case while searching for a stolen art collection. The only way to prove his innocence? Find out which of the long list of suspects is the culprit - from the eccentric art dealer and a missing playboy to a crazy neighbor and Fletch’s Italian girlfriend. Crime, in fact, has never been this disorganized.

Padre For some reason, the noir detective — and the companion trope of sky — is easy to turn comedic. One of the tried and true techniques is the Nick Charles model of coolness, plus joke lines intended directly for the viewer not the on-screen companion. I...

Published December 5, 2022
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