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Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (2023)

Broken Cosmologies These come to me already broken. For me to enter the world of a film, I have to have some understanding of the world. But over many decades the origins have been confusing. Each movie tosses the cosmology of the previous one and substitutes...


Published July 26, 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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Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (2021)

Self with Shoes On As I understand it, this was concieved in the breakup of a marriage. The voice and most of the script is by the disappointed wife, and the surrounding framing by the presumably inadequate husband. The actual events had some videos posted to YouTube,...


Published July 14, 2023
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Liar Liar (1997)
Trust me.
Director: Tom Shadyac
Comedy

Fletcher Reede is a fast-talking attorney and habitual liar. When his son Max blows out the candles on his fifth birthday he has just one wish - that his dad will stop lying for 24 hours. When Max's wish comes true, Fletcher discovers that his mouth has suddenly become his biggest liability.

Anti Vax Sometimes a film is just a wrapper for a broken person, who when unconstrained amuses us. Robin Williams, Peter Sellers, Jerry Lewis are examples. These are souls we accept because we find an endearing core around which the outrageous behaviour orbits. So far as...


Published July 2, 2023
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Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (2023)
It's how you wear the mask that matters.
Director: Joaquim Dos Santos, Justin K. Thompson, Kemp Powers
Animation
Action
Adventure
Science Fiction

After reuniting with Gwen Stacy, Brooklyn’s full-time, friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is catapulted across the Multiverse, where he encounters the Spider Society, a team of Spider-People charged with protecting the Multiverse’s very existence. But when the heroes clash on how to handle a new threat, Miles finds himself pitted against the other Spiders and must set out on his own to save those he loves most.

Chapter and Verse Lest I sound overly critical below, let me say up front that this is an important film if only because it extends the vocabulary. I’m excited by it and what we may expect. However, I recently commented on ‘Fast X’ and noted that these...


Published June 29, 2023
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Fast X (2023)
The end of the road begins.
Director: Louis Leterrier
Action
Crime
Thriller

Over many missions and against impossible odds, Dom Toretto and his family have outsmarted, out-nerved and outdriven every foe in their path. Now, they confront the most lethal opponent they've ever faced: A terrifying threat emerging from the shadows of the past who's fueled by blood revenge, and who is determined to shatter this family and destroy everything—and everyone—that Dom loves, forever.

Neonoir Reversed There are three components to these kinds of products. Action scenes of some kind, a cosmology, and a story to weave them together. Characters and drama are irrelevant. For me, sometimes the cosmology was enough, like the middle ‘Wick’ projects. Sometimes it blows me away,...


Published June 20, 2023
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Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves (2023)
No experience necessary.
Director: John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein
Adventure
Fantasy
Comedy

A charming thief and a band of unlikely adventurers undertake an epic heist to retrieve a lost relic, but things go dangerously awry when they run afoul of the wrong people.

Little Men The story is frippery. The tone light, but not as light as advertised. Action and effects are as expected and no more. What was remarkable to this viewer were a few of the character backstories. Our hero’s story was ordinary. A petty theft got his wife...


Published June 13, 2023
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F9 (2021)
Justice is coming.
Director: Justin Lin
Action
Adventure
Crime

Dominic Toretto and his crew battle the most skilled assassin and high-performance driver they've ever encountered: his forsaken brother.

Blended Family, Family Secrets I can say that I witnessed an appreciative audience as my ten and eleven year old whooped and hollered at the stunts, oblivious to the surrounding machinery. For them, and I suppose many viewers, the movie other than the action sequences is...


Published May 29, 2023
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Ask a Policeman (1939)
Director: Marcel Varnel
Comedy

The mirthful adventures of Police-Sergeant Samuel Dudfoot and his two constables, Albert Brown and Jeremias Harbottle, who stage a fabricated crime-wave to save their jobs---and then find themselves involved in the real thing.

Ineptness The gang portrayed here is some sort of a triangulation among the Marxes, Stooges and Laurel and Hardy. We love theatrical movie ineptness, especially in policemen and politicians. Especially if the characters are Brits. And this is true it seems even if the audience is...


Published May 16, 2023
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One of My Wives is Missing (1976)
12 million reasons for murder!
Director: Glenn Jordan
Thriller
Mystery
TV Movie

Vacationing in a small town, a frantic Daniel Corban shows up at the local police station, declaring that his wife has disappeared. Corban imperiously demands that the easygoing police inspector drop everything and find his missing spouse. Within a few days, a woman claiming to be his wife shows up, but Corban insists that he's never met the woman before.

Switched Narratives There are spoilers here for this filmed stage play that in the end is not worth it. The basic idea is appealing. We are presented with a man who seems to be the target of a massive scam involving a switched wife. We...


Published April 14, 2023
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