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Invisible (2007)
Life, death and something in between.
Filmmaker(s): David S. Goyer

After an attack leaves him in limbo -- invisible to the living and also near death -- a teenager discovers the only person who might be able help him is his attacker.

Disembodied Eye Many of these teen movies have to distinguish themselves by leveraging narrative tricks. That’s because the market restricts the story so much that it is impossible to stand out. The narrative device that interests me is when the viewer is deliberately placed in the...

Published January 19, 2024
| Categorised as IMDB Comments, Twos |
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Invictus (2009)
His people needed a leader. He gave them a champion.
Filmmaker(s): Clint Eastwood

Newly elected President Nelson Mandela knows his nation remains racially and economically divided in the wake of apartheid. Believing he can bring his people together through the universal language of sport, Mandela rallies South Africa's rugby team as they make their historic run to the 1995 Rugby World Cup Championship match.

Locker Room Lockup To my mind, this is less about South Africa, sport and Mandela than about another man. Oh, the drama was really there. It doesn’t matter that it was not as significant in uniting a nation as depicted. How could it be? How could it? But...

Published January 19, 2024
| Categorised as IMDB Comments, Threes |
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Black Swan (2010)
Perfection is not just about control. It's also about letting go.
Filmmaker(s): Darren Aronofsky

A journey through the psyche of a young ballerina whose starring role as the duplicitous swan queen turns out to be a part for which she becomes frighteningly perfect.

The Math When I encountered “Pi,” I was profoundly upset. It happened again with “Beautiful Mind” and “Good Will,” other films about mathematical imagination. How, I wondered, could something as inherently cinematic as the mathematical imagination be so clumsily handled? How is it that the only...

Published January 19, 2024
| Categorised as Fours, IMDB Comments |
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The Bird People in China (1998)
The children of the sky.
Filmmaker(s): Takashi Miike

Wada, a salary man, is enlisted to venture off to China to investigate a potential Jade mine. After his arrival, Wada encounters a violent, yet sentimental, yakuza, who takes the liberty of joining his adventure through China. Led on their long and disastrous journey to the mine by Shen, the three men come across something even more magical and enticing.

Purity, Song, Jade Miike has a pretty solid pattern. He makes films for a distinctly Japanese audience, teasing out some issue or two that seems culturally rooted. This is his context. He shifts it into a magical, cinematic world and imagines scenes as episodes within this...

Published September 11, 2023
| Categorised as IMDB Comments, Threes |
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Billy Elliott (2000)
Inside every one of us is a special talent waiting to come out. The trick is finding it.
Filmmaker(s): Stephen Daldry

County Durham, England, 1984. The miners' strike has started and the police have started coming up from Bethnal Green, starting a class war with the lower classes suffering. Caught in the middle of the conflict is 11-year old Billy Elliot, who, after leaving his boxing club for the day, stumbles upon a ballet class and finds out that he's naturally talented. He practices with his teacher Mrs. Wilkinson for an upcoming audition in Newcastle-upon Tyne for the royal Ballet school in London.

Battle Dancer This is a replacement comment. Though the dance was passable here, the story is so vapid and unembellished, I sat there looking for another movie. And I found one, battling to get out. It was clever and true, overlooked because of the mediocrity placed in...

Published August 27, 2023
| Categorised as IMDB Comments, Twos |
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So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993)
The honeymoon was killer.
Filmmaker(s): Thomas Schlamme

Just after a bad breakup, Charlie MacKenzie falls for lovely butcher Harriet Michaels and introduces her to his parents. But, as voracious consumers of sensational tabloids, his parents soon come to suspect that Harriet is actually a notorious serial killer -- "Mrs. X" -- wanted in connection with a string of bizarre honeymoon killings. Thinking his parents foolish, Charlie proposes to Harriet. But while on his honeymoon with her, he begins to fear they were right.

Green Haggis Sometimes a movie only develops worth after a subsequent movie worked. I myself disliked “Shrek” because of the underhanded attempt to undermine the Disney/Pixar alliance, and the smarmy Bill Gates strategy. But some people did like it, largely because of the voices and key...

Published July 27, 2023
| Categorised as IMDB Comments, Ones |
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Better Living Through Circuitry (1999)
A Digital Odyssey into Electronic Dance Culture
Filmmaker(s): Jon Reiss

A documentary about the Electronic Dance movement of the '90s. It is the first such full-length film on the topic. It was produced by Cleopatra Pictures and Entertainment Group, presided by Cleopatra Records founder Brian Perera. The film features interviews with BT, The Crystal Method, Electric Skychurch, Genesis P-Orridge, Frankie Bones, DJ Spooky, Roni Size, and DJ Keoki.

Honest Music, Dishonest Business Social trends are often shaped by strange overlaps in market forces. You have to have a steady stream of “artists” who are compelled to do their thing, driven primarily by an urge to express. We have that in this music, because the...

Published July 14, 2023
| Categorised as IMDB Comments, Twos |
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Before Midnight (1933)
Lurking FINGERS of DEATH reached out of the dim and ghostly past!
Filmmaker(s): Lambert Hillyer

A detective tries to figure out who killed a man who predicted his own death.

The Written Mystery The early thirties was a time of great experimentation with the detective narrative, leading eventually to noir. This is one of those experiments, and a rather fine one. It has a framing device where an old cop is telling a young one about the...

Published June 30, 2023
| Categorised as IMDB Comments, Twos |
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Even Dwarfs Started Small (1970)
Filmmaker(s): Werner Herzog

The inhabitants of an institution in a remote country rebel against their keepers. Their acts of rebellion are by turns humorous, boring and alarming. An allegory on the problematic nature of fully liberating the human spirit, as both commendable and disturbing elements of our nature come forward. The film shows how justifiable revolt may be empowering, but may also turn to chaos and depravity. The allegory is developed in part by the fact that the film is cast entirely with dwarfs

Chicken Out Herzog is important to me. He seeks out situations that have recoil, he takes chances and makes honest choices. His being is broken, and that means the choices and the power of the situations affect me. But sometimes he works with a situation that doesn’t...

Published June 29, 2023
| Categorised as IMDB Comments, Twos |
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Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007)
No one was supposed to get hurt.
Filmmaker(s): Sidney Lumet

When two brothers organize the robbery of their parents' jewelry store, the job goes horribly wrong, triggering a series of events that send them and their family hurtling towards a shattering climax.

Space There are from time to time successful presentations in the sense that the characters work. You understand them well enough to have some genuine acceptance of their reality as humans, but that means you realise that there are things going on that do not have...

Published June 29, 2023
| Categorised as IMDB Comments, Threes |
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