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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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Deep Water (2006)
Documentary
Adventure
Drama
Action

DEEP WATER is the stunning true story of the fateful voyage of Donald Crowhurst, an amateur yachtsman who enters the most daring nautical challenge ever – the very first solo, non-stop, round-the-world boat race.

Magellenic Trim There are the things you do and things you do not, the line between describing a life. Ideally at the end you will have drawn something beautiful. Superficially, this is one superb documentary. It is really well put together and by grace has enough original...


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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Stealth (2005)
Fear The Sky
Science Fiction

Deeply ensconced in a top-secret military program, three pilots struggle to bring an artificial intelligence program under control ... before it initiates the next world war.

One of the Guys An interesting way to see this box office failure is to consider the role of the US Navy rather than that of Hollywood. The film industry makes these sort of stupid and expensive mistakes routinely. The military has less room for tolerance,...


Published February 9, 2024
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The Girl (2000)
Director: Sande Zeig
Drama
Mystery
Romance

A torrid affair between two women, a struggling artist and a flame-haired blues singer, upsets a man who has a thing for the girl.

Room in Paris I guess I should describe what the filmmaker described as her goals. She wanted to make a noir love story and to ‘abstract‘ it, making it pure, and therefore effective. This isn’t noir as I understand it, but that does not matter in this...


Published February 9, 2024
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Red Cliff (2008)
The future will be decided.
Adventure
Drama
History
Action
War

In 208 A.D., in the final days of the Han Dynasty, shrewd Prime Minster Cao convinced the fickle Emperor Han the only way to unite all of China was to declare war on the kingdoms of Xu in the west and East Wu in the south. Thus began a military campaign of unprecedented scale. Left with no other hope for survival, the kingdoms of Xu and East Wu formed an unlikely alliance.

Tectonic Extremes I am not a fan of Woo, and the reason becomes more stark when you compare this to Zhang‘s work. Zhang creates a world of grace in which people move, affected by the laws of that world. They can act, based on the values in...


Published February 9, 2024
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Ong Bak 2 (2008)
Warrior. Conqueror. Legend.
Adventure
Action
Thriller

Moments from death a young man is rescued by a renowned warrior. Realizing unsurpassed physical potential in the young boy he trains him into the most dangerous man alive. As he becomes a young man he goes on a lone mission of vengeance against the vicious slave traders who enslaved him as a youth and the treacherous warlord who killed his father.

Costume Trunk I was directed to this because I am interested in cinematic choreography. From a practical perspective, that usually means martial arts. Further, it means Asian films. But gee they sure get tedious after the first few unless there really is a master behind the camera....


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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