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Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (2015)
Desperate times. Desperate measures.
Filmmaker(s): Christopher McQuarrie

Ethan and team take on their most impossible mission yet—eradicating 'The Syndicate', an International and highly-skilled rogue organization committed to destroying the IMF.

The Woman After the disaster that I consider ‘Barbie’ and the very mixed feelings I have about ‘Wonder Woman’, I’ve been sensitive to how women are often portrayed in action films, how I feel about it, and what would be better. I completely forget what came after...

Published March 9, 2024
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Ten Little Indians (1987)
Filmmaker(s): Stanislav Govorukhin

A disturbing psychological thriller based on the classic novel by Agatha Christie. Ten strangers are forced to come face to face with their dark pasts after receiving an anonymous invitation to an isolated island off the coast of England.

Invasive You are not likely to find this easily. It is ‘Desyat negrityat’ in its original Russian (Десять негритят), being a comparatively faithful adaptation of an Agatha Christie mystery. Some context why this is interesting. The book is allegedly the largest selling fiction book in the...

Published March 3, 2024
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Good Chemistry: The Story of Elemental (2023)

Combustable This is a companion film to “Elemental’, being more of less the story of the director/writer’s life and how it influenced that animated project. It is a charming piece, done well; clearly, Pixar talent was behind how it was themed and assembled. I am a sucker...

Published March 2, 2024
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Searching (2018)
No one is lost without a trace.
Filmmaker(s): Aneesh Chaganty

After David Kim's 16-year-old daughter goes missing, a local investigation is opened and a detective is assigned to the case. But 37 hours later and without a single lead, David decides to search the one place no one has looked yet, where all secrets are kept today: his daughter's laptop.

Folded Detection As you will know, this is ostensibly all from a few computer screens, manipulated by the father of a missing teen girl. He is searching her various histories, supplemented by internet searches. As a detective, this constitutes the clues. The actual story is also...

Published March 1, 2024
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Opposites react.
Filmmaker(s): Peter Sohn

In a city where fire, water, land and air residents live together, a fiery young woman and a go-with-the-flow guy will discover something elemental: how much they have in common.

Spatial Depth I suppose most people will talk about the story. It has the by now standard Father dynamics. The also now standard tension from a systemic (I hesitate to say ‘environmental’) threat rather than a bad guy. And a love story of the typical kind...

Published February 28, 2024
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Wish (2023)
Be careful what you wish for.

Asha, a sharp-witted idealist, makes a wish so powerful that it is answered by a cosmic force – a little ball of boundless energy called Star. Together, Asha and Star confront a most formidable foe - the ruler of Rosas, King Magnifico - to save her community and prove that when the will of one courageous human connects with the magic of the stars, wondrous things can happen.

Many in One I won’t lead this with a rebuttal to those that did not enjoy it because they thought it woke, and part of a grand conspiracy against something. I will lead with what I think is a brilliant, effective cinematic decision. Pixar’s world is about...

Published February 18, 2024
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Wonka (2023)
Every good thing in this world started with a dream.
Filmmaker(s): Paul King

Willy Wonka – chock-full of ideas and determined to change the world one delectable bite at a time – is proof that the best things in life begin with a dream, and if you’re lucky enough to meet Willy Wonka, anything is possible.

Paddington’s Twist I never was a particular fan of Dahl’s, but I do have to admire the coherence he brought to his projects. There were bad guys and good guys, children and mothers, yearning and magic. But these all occurred in a world that worked together....

Published February 18, 2024
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The InBESTigators (2019)

Four clever school kids start their own detective agency and vlog about their adventures, becoming fast friends in the process.

Little Dinners Dear reader, you may never encounter this, an Australian series designed for tweens and their parents. 40 episodes. The setup is four 10-11 year olds set up an ‘agency’ to solve mysteries that as it happens are small by cinematic standards but loom largish in...

Published February 7, 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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A Dream of Dolls Dancing (2017)
Filmmaker(s): Christiane Cegavske

A Dream of Dolls Dancing is a new short film by Christiane Cegavske, the creator of Blood Tea and Red String. In the dead forest, The One dreams. In his dream he hears the siren call of the dolls dancing on a far away island. He must answer their call no matter the risk. In a paper boat on a liquid sea he sails for the island where they dance. Will he find salvation or despair?

Mechanical Some time back, Christmas 2006 to be precise, I saw a film that was so engrossing, I elevated it to a ‘Four’, meaning you really should see this. That list is hard to get on. No filmmaker can have more than two, and no more...

Published January 21, 2024
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