Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The day Hawaii bombed Japan?


A lethargic if occasionally lovely slog through the legend of the forty-seven ronin, as tarted up by $175 million worth of Hollywood fantasy, and even though I know that I'm supposed to be totally offended by that, the fanciful nonsense parts are also by a huge margin the best parts.

Directed by Carl Rinsch
Written by Chris Morgan, Hossein Amini, and Walter Hamada
With Keanu Reeves (Kai), Kikuchi Rinko (The Witch), Asano Todanobu (Kira), Shibasaki Ko (Rika), Sanada Hiroyuki (Oishi), Yanamoto Takato (The Fat One), Akanishi Jin (The Young One), Sogabe Hiroshi (The Mean One), and Zombie Boy (Sir Not Appearing In This Film)

Spoiler alert: severe

Monday, December 30, 2013

Of Mars and men


Forgive me.  I didn't know.

Directed by Andew Stanton
Written by Mark Andrews, Michael Chabon, and Andrew Stanton (based on the novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs)
With Taylor Kitsch (John Carter), Willem Dafoe (Tars Tarkas), Lynn Collins (Dejah Thoris), Samantha Morton (Sola), Mark Strong (Matai Shang), Dominic West (Sab Than), Bryan Cranston (Col. Powell), and Daryl Sabara (Ned)

Spoiler alert: high

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Earth vs. Rape


"Scenes of violence and sensuality" is MPAA code for "completely unacknowledged sexual assaults," so it's got that great Twilight flavor the kids can't get enough of.  But what does Andrew Niccol add to this crock of shit?  More than you'd think, more than this awful, baldly mercenary stab at box-office success deserved, or would ever reward; but when you look at the end result, you wonder how this movie could ever have these moments when it also has those moments.

Written and directed by Andrew Niccol (based on the novel by Stephanie Meyer)
With Saoirse Ronan (Melanie Stryder/Wanderer), Diane Kruger (Seeker), William Hurt (Uncle Jeb), Chandler Canterbury (Jamie Stryder), Max Irons (Jared), and Jake Abel (Ian)

Spoiler alert: severe

Damn near killed her!


Far less than the sum of its parts, almost every opportunity in Stoker is a missed one, with the exceptions being Chung Chung-hoon's photography, which is almost reason enough to recommend the film, and the two and a half great performances so unfortunately underserved by an underwritten script.

Directed by Park Chan-Wook
Written by Wentworth Miller
With Mia Wasikowska (India Stoker), Matthew Goode (Charlie Stoker), and Nicole Kidman (Evelyn Stoker)

Spoiler alert: high

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The reason for the season


Did the militant atheist enjoy spending the afternoon of his last day off watching a right-wing Christian fundamentalist film about humanity's inherent worthlessness in the absence of God?  The answer may surprise you!  Especially if you don't look at the tags!

Directed by Mel Gibson
Written by Benedict Fitzgerald and Mel Gibson (based on the books by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)
With Jim Caviezel (Yeshua), Maya Morgenstern (Maryam), Luca Lionello (Yehudah), Hristo Shopov (Pontius Pilate), Francesco De Vito (Shimon), Christo Jivkov (Yochanan), and Monica Belluci (Magdalen)

Spoiler alert: N/A

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Jasper Johns of tonally confused tae kwon do


You see, because his compositions were vivid but muddled and stupid too.

Directed by David O. Russell
Written by Eric Singer and David O. Russell
With Amy Adams (Sydney Prosser), Christian Bale (Irving Rosenfeld), Bradley Cooper (Richie DiMaso), Jennifer Lawrence (Rosalyn Rosenfeld), Jeremy Renner (Carmine Polito), and some bullshit stunt casting

Spoiler alert: mild

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Basically, it's The Eternal Jew, but with Millennials


As in, "Ha ha ha ha ha.  You're fucking kidding.  Aren't you?"

2012 (2013, for the uncool)
Directed by Noah Baumbach
Written by Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach
With Greta Gerwig (Frances), Mickey Sumner (Sophie), and Michael Esper (Dan)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Taste the rainbow, feel its length


A delightfully throwback thriller that's far more about crafting imagery than it is about anything you're particularly likely to give a shit about, like sensible or comprehensible plotting, how brains work, or, until its last surprisingly functional moments, character.  But it's so gorgeous, I rarely minded.

Directed by Danny Boyle
Written by Joe Ehearne and John Hodge
With Rosario Dawson (Elizabeth), James McAvoy (Simon), and Vincent Cassel (Franck)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

But what if it had music by Queen?


I didn't have half the issues I expected to have with it, but Frozen doesn't disappoint: it's still a deeply problematic, rather frustrating film, that through lovely imagery and basic entertainment value takes a spot just barely on the right side of wrong.

Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
Written by Jennifer Lee, Chris Buck, and Shane Morris (based on the story "The Snow Queen" by Hans Christian Andersen)
With Kristen Bell (Anna), Idina Menzel (Elsa), Jonathan Groff (Kristoff), Josh Gad (Olaf), and Santino Fontana (Hans)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Saturday, November 23, 2013

I wish John Brown had nuclear weapons


The feel bad movie of the year!  It's entirely possible, even probable, that I appear to have stolen that, though I did make it up; but that's because it is the most obvious damned thing you could say about this great movie.  And it may not be true.

Directed by Steve McQueen
Written by John Ridley (based on the book by Solomon Northrup)
With Chiwetel Ejiofor (Solomon Northrup), Michael Fassbender (Edwin Epps), Lupita Nyong'o (Patsey), Benedict Cumberbatch (Ford), and Brad Pitt (the Magical Caucasian)

Spoiler alert: N/A

The J.D.: the degree so versatile you can fail to deal drugs with it too


I loved this movie.  You might.  They didn't.  You know who I mean.

Directed by Ridley Scott
Written by Cormac McCarthy
With Michael Fassbender (The Counselor), Cameron Diaz (Malkina), Javier Bardem (Reiner), Brad Pitt (Westray), Penelope Cruz (Laura), and Ruben Blades (Jefe)

Spoiler alert: everyone either dies, should have died, or wishes they had died let's say moderate

Saturday, November 9, 2013



A divinely inspired work of cinema with a real beating heart, featuring the best fantasy world in contemporary film, the best straight superhero story in any film, the best supervillain since Claude Rains wore black velvet, and the best colors of 2011, which, if I had my way, would be an Oscar category.

Directed by Kenneth Branagh
Written by Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Don Payne, Mark Protosevich, and J. Michael Straczynski
With Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Natalie Portman (Jane Foster), Anthony Hopkins (Odin), Rene Russo (Frigga), Kat Dennings (Darcy Lewis), Stellan Skarsgard (Dr. Erik Selvig), Idris Elba (Heimdall), Jaime Alexander (Sif), Zachary Levi (Fandral), Ray Stevenson (Volstagg), Tadanobu Asano (Hogun), Colm Feore (Laufey), and Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson)


Whosoever holds this camera, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Kenneth Branaghand of course it didn't even budge.  Yet, somehow, this sequel is a very good movie, proving how much script and performancesand probably sheer goodwill for a franchisereally do matter.

Directed by Alan Taylor
Written by Christopher Markus, Stephen McFeely, Christopher Yost, and Don Payne
With the same, minus Colm Feore (a void in my icy heart) and Clark Gregg (a pain like a stab in the chest), plus Christopher Eccleston (if you really, really insist)

Spoiler alert: severe for Thor, mild for The Dark World

Friday, October 25, 2013

A prison movie: now only .17% references to sexual assault by volume!


An all-star cast topped off by the biggest names in the action cinema of twenty thirty years ago bring to life this prison-escape-action-adventure-thriller, which feels like it was made fifty years ago: and there hasn't been a more simply pleasurable movie in a long, long time.

Directed by Mikael Hafstrom
Written by Miles Chapman and Jason Keller
With Sylvester Stallone (Ray Breslin), Arnold Schwarzenegger (Emil Rottmayer), Jim Caviezel (Hobbes), Sam Neill (Dr. Kyrie), Vincent D'Onfrio (Lester Clark), Faran Tahir (Javed), Vinnie Jones (Drake), Amy Ryan (Abigail), and Fitty Cent (Hush)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Maybe remake The French Connection so Popeye isn't a huge racist instead


They're not even going to laugh at it, because Carrie doesn't have the decency to at least be an incompetent as well as unnecessary remake: merely bland in most respects, inferior in every single respect, and willing neither to innovate nor to truly plagiarize.

Directed by Kimberly Peirce
Written by Lawrence D. Cohen and Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (based on the novel by Stephen King)
With Chloe Grace Moretz (Carrie White), Julianne Moore (Margaret White), Gabriella Wilde (Sue), Portia Doubleday (Chris), Judy Greer (Ms. Collins Desjardin), Ansel Elgort (Tommy), and Alex Russel (Billy)

Spoiler alert: seriously?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Man, this newest John Carpenter movie is disappointing


At about the 60 minute mark, Escape From Tomorrow proceeds to end.  It does so approximately 4.5 times, and it's only the half of an ending that is remotely satisfying.

Written and directed by Randy Moore
With Roy Abramsohn (Jim), Elena Schuber (Emily), Katelynn Rodriguez (Sara), Jack Dalton (Eliot), Danielle Safady (Sophie), Annet Mahendru (Isabella), Alison Lees Taylor (Other Woman), Stass Klassen (Scientist)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The handheld camera is an enemy of all mankind


I want to give Tom Hanks a big hug.  I want to give Barkhad Abdi a big sandwich.  I want to give Paul Greengrass a big open-mouthed kiss, right before I empty my stomach directly into his lungs.

Directed by Paul Greengrass
Written by Billy Ray (based on the book A Captain's Duty by Richard Phillips and Stephan Talty)
With Tom Hanks (Richard Phillips), Barkhad Abdi (Muse), Faysal Ahmed (Najee), Barkhad Abdirahman (Bilal), Mahat M. Ali (Elmi), MV Alexander Maersk (MV Maersk Alabama), USS Truxtun DDG-103 (USS Bainbridge DDG-96), USS Wasp LHD-1 (USS Boxer LHD-4), USS Halyburton FFG-40 (herself), and Catherine Keener (Andrea Phillips)

Spoiler alert: N/A

Sunday, October 6, 2013

No poets need apply


This movie stopped me from suicidally ideating.

Directed by Alfonso Cuaron
Written by Jonas Cuaron and Alfonso Cuaron
With Sandra Bullock (Ryan Stone), George Clooney (Matt Kowalski), and Ed Harris (as Mission Control?—hell, yeah!)

Spoiler alert: moderate  

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Starring David Duchovny and Sierra Sinn


A very fun comedy about how Internet porn is transforming society, albeit seemingly made by a person current with Western culture only up to about the mid-1990s.

Written and directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt
With Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Jon Martello Jr.), Scarlett Johannson (Barbara Sugarman), Julianne Moore (Esther), Tony Danza (Jon Martello Sr.), Glenne Headly (Angela Martello), Brie Larson (Monica Martello), Rob Brown (Bobby), and Jeremy Luke (Danny)

Spoiler alert: moderate
Content warning: it's a movie about porn, it's a movie about jerking off, therefore the words "porn" and "jerking off," and many fine technical terms besides, are going to be used.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

I'm usually less one, these days


If it's Can't Hardly Wait vs. Primer, Primer wins.  Add copious nudity, and a seriously unexpected ending, and, yeah, it's pretty great.

Directed by Dennis Iliadis
Written by Bill Gullo and Dennis Iliadis
With Rhys Wakefield (David), Logan Miller (Teddy), Natalie Hall (Melanie), Colleen Dengel (Allison), Ashley Hinshaw (Jill), and Rohan Kymal (Angad)

Note: you may sometimes see this movie referred to as Plus One, but not here, except for search engine purposesand done.

Spoiler alert: mild

Friday, September 20, 2013

Telegraph for Robert De Niro: stop


Another one of these Goddamned movies where we're supposed to think Robert De Niro is funny because he's Robert De Niro.  Also, turns out Luc Besson hates France.  This is sort of a French movie.  I don't hate France, but I am disappointed in it.

Directed by Luc Besson
Written by Michael Caleo and Luc Besson (based on the book by Tonino Benacquista)
With Robert De Niro (Giovanni/"Fred Blake"), Michelle Pfeiffer ("Maggie Blake"), Diana Agron ("Belle Blake"), John D'Leo ("Warren Blake"), and Tommy Lee Jones (Robert Stansfield)

Spoiler alert: mild

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Or how I learned to stop worrying and love the gym


Admit it: if the Coens made this, you'd masturbate to it.  Okay, since Michael Bay made it, it is probably technically easier to actually masturbate to parts than it would be otherwise.

Directed by Michael Bay
Written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely (based on the articles by Pete Collins)
With Mark Wahlberg (Daniel Lugo), Dwayne Johnson (Paul Doyle), Anthony Mackie (Adrian Doorbal), Tony Shaloub (Victor Pepe Kershaw), Bar Paly (Sorina Luminita), Rebel Wilson (Robin Peck), Ed Harris (Ed DuBois), Rob Corddry (John Mese), and Ken Jeong (Johnny Wu)

Spoiler alert: severe

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Busting makes me feel good, but probably displeases my mom


An acceptable diversion that will either please you or annoy you, depending on your genre expectations—but it won't do either to any really excessive degree.

Directed by James Wan
Written by Leigh Whannell and James Wan
With Patrick Wilson (Josh Lambert), Rose Byrne (Renai Lambert), Ty Simpkins (Dalton Lambert), Lin Shaye (Elise Rainier), Steve Coulter (Carl), Leigh Whannell (Specs), Angus Sampson (Tucker), and Barbara Hershey (Lorraine Lambert)

Spoiler alert: high

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Rule the brown


The action movie you wrote in sixth grade.  By that, I also mean the movie you wrote in 1993.  And I mean it in a largely complimentary way.

Directed by David Twohy
Written by Oliver Butcher, Stephen Cromwell, and David Twohy
With Vin Diesel (Richard B. Riddick), Jordi Molla (Santana), Matt Nable (Johns), and Katee Sackhoff (Dahl)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Friday, August 30, 2013

I'm a master of wang chung


A Wikipedia article that I paid $8 to read.  And, yes, I do mean read.  No, I do not mean the subtitles.

Directed by Wong Kar Wai
Written by Zou Jingzhi, Hu Haofeng, and Wong Kar Wai
With Zhang Ziyi (Gong Er), "Tony" Leung Chiu Wai (Ip Man), Zhang Jin (Ma San), Wang Qingxiang (Gong Bao Sen)

Spoiler alert: high

Thursday, August 29, 2013

You know what really grinds my gears?


The perfect chase movie.  Edited.  The fuck.  To death.

Directed by Courtney Solomon
Written by Sean Finegan and Gregg Maxwell Parker
With Ethan Hawke (Brent Magna), Selena Gomez (The Kid), Jon Voight (The Voice) 

Spoiler alert: mild

Monday, August 26, 2013

It wants to hide inside an imitation


Funny, ice cream cones usually finish pretty cleanly.

Directed by Edgar Wright
Written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright
With Simon Pegg (Gary), Nick Frost (Andy), Paddy Considine (Steven), Martin Freeman (Oliver), Eddie Marsan (Peter), Rosamund Pike (Sam), Pierce Brosnan (Guy)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Anybody in the mood for strawberry daquiris?


Class warrior classic.

Directed by Adam Wingard
Written by Simon Barrett
With Sharni Vinson (Erin), AJ Bowen (Crispian), Nicholas Tucci (Felix), Wendy Glenn (Zee), Joe Swanberg (Drake), Margaret Laney (Kelly), Amy Seimetz (Aimee), Ti West (Tariq), Rob Moran (Paul), Barbara Cramton (Aubrey), Simon Barrett (Tiger Mask), Lane Hughes (Fox Mask) Steve Buscemi L.C. Holt (Lamb Mask)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Thursday, August 22, 2013

You win, you revengeful son of a bitch, you win


Designed to make you sad and mad, but it's the real shit.

Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite
Written by Eli B. Despres and Gabriela Cowperthwaite

Spoiler warning: N/A

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Damn hell ass superheroes


As a companion piece to the more ambitious, more interesting, generally more thrilling original, it's fun enough.

Written and directed by Jeff Wadlow (based on the comic by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.)
With Chloe Grace Moretz (Hit-Girl/Mindy Macready), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass/Dave Lizewski), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (The Mother Fucker/Chris D'Amico), Jim Carrey (Col. Stars and Stripes), John Leguizamo (Javier)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Everybody wants to [destroy] the world, part 3


Roughly equivalent in tone, quality, action content, scientific fidelity, and thematic subtlety to the average late-run Gundam Wing episode, and slightly less good at framing, editing, and voice acting.

Written and directed by Neill Blomkamp
With Matt Damon (Max), Jodie Foster (Delacourt), Sharlto Copley (Kruger), Alice Braga (Frey), William Fichtner (Carlyle), Wagner Moura (Spider)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Friday, August 9, 2013

Everybody wants to [destroy] the world, part 2


A metamovie, about what, basically, constitutes child abuse.

Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
Written by Gary Whitta, M. Night Shyamalan, and Will Smith
With Will Smith (Cypher Raige), Jaden Smith (Kitai Raige), Gwaihir the Windlord (himself)

Spoiler alert: mild 

Everybody wants to [destroy] the world, part 1


Seeing Oblivion for the first time is a lot like seeing a great movie for the second time. 

Directed by Joseph Kosinski
Written by Karl Gajdusek, Michael Arndt, and Joseph Kosinski
With Tom Cruise (Jack Harper), Andrea Riseborough (Victoria), Olga Kurylenko (Julia Rusakova), Melissa Leo (Sally), Morgan Freeman (Beech), Nicolaj Coster-Waldau (some useless character who got all of Zoe Bell's lines), Zoe Bell (criminally wasted)

Spoiler alert: severe

Friday, August 2, 2013

@ Guns


Without condoning or condemning, 2 Guns is certainly in theaters and you can buy tickets and everything.  It's a free country.

Directed by Baltasar Kormakur
Written by Blake Masters (based on the comic by Steven Grant)
With Denzel Washington (Bobby Trench), Mark Wahlberg (Michael Stigman), Earl (Bill Paxton), Deb (Laura Patton), Edward James Olmos (Papi Greco), James Marsden (Quince)

Spoiler alert: mild

Friday, July 26, 2013

Everything you wanted to know about Japan but were too lazy to look up


It needed more grit and less plot but for a while there, an iconic character is taken back to his early comic roots and I was reminded why I cared in the first place.

Directed by James Mangold
Written by Mark Bomback and Scott Frank
With Hugh Jackman (Logan), Rila Fukushima (Yukio), Tao Okamoto (Mariko), Harahiko Yamanouchi (Yashida), Famke Janssen (Jean Grey)

Spoiler alert: mild

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Cowboy Bebop at his computer


Credibly brings to life the sheer oppression of being trapped with a large, tightly-knit family on account of a girl you like but who you are not sure actually likes you—however, as an Internet apocalypse movie, Summer Wars only marginally succeeds as science fiction, or science fantasy, or fiction, or fantasy.

Directed by Hasoda Mamoru
Written by and Okudera Satoko and Hasoda Mamoru
With holy shit, you're Dean fucking Venture! Michael Sinterniklaas (Koiso Kenji), Brina Palencia (Shinohara Natsuki), Pam Dougherty (Jinnouchi Sakae), God knows how many other voice actors, and there's a Japanese seiyu cast too but I watched it dubbed like a philistine—a philistine like a fox

Spoiler alert: moderate

There are a lot of ways you can go with a destructive AI let loose upon the Internet.  There's The Terminator approach, which is to give it access to your killer robots and nuclear arsenal.  There's the Ghost in the Shell approach, which is to allow your characters to talk to it and reason with it, and also giving it access to your killer robots as well as your killer sex robots.  There's The Matrix approach, which is to create an entire virtual world within which your characters' minds are wholly immersed, so that fighting software is not dissimilar to a kung fu battle.  There's the Serial Experiments Lain approach, which is to mysticize it so that it becomes a Lovecraftian horror capable of emerging into the real world (I think).  Back on the other end of the realism spectrum, there's the WarGames approach, which involves a Broderickesque nerd, if not an actual Matthew Broderick, typing on a keyboard for hours on end.  Using the WarGames method, you would be well-advised to involve some chase scenes and military guys with guns.

Then there's the Summer Wars approach, which is to have an ancillary character try to beat up all the AI's pixels with his custom M.U.G.E.N. character.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Guy killed me, Mal


An overly insistent cartoon about the Thai underworld featuring mainly white people that is better shot than Street Fighter but maybe not quite as entertaining.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Busting makes me feel good, but probably displeases the Lord


"The end result?  The Conjuring is fine, but like Insidious, while it may have its terrifying turns, it won't stick with you forever—or even overnight."

Directed by James Wan
Written by Chad Hayes and Carey Hayes
With Vera Farmiga (Lorraine Warren), Patrick Wilson (Ed Warren),  Lily Taylor (Carolyn Perron), Ron Livingston (Roger Perron), approximately four hundred and ten pounds worth of interchangably good child actors (the five Perron and one Warren daughter[s], respectively)

Spoiler warning: moderate (but goes to high with a heads-up)

Finally, a movie about pop Catholic mythology that attempts to explain the theodicy behind a nominally omnipotent, nominally omnibenevolent God, that nonetheless lets other supernatural entities venture onto the material plane, manifest greater power within this world than I Am has been witnessed to wield since Old Testament days, and eat innocent people's souls, fundamentally contradicting basic Catholic soteriology: yeah, so I saw Prince of Darkness for the first time last year, and it was amazing.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

To the or not to the


"From the moment Mia gets evil and dead, this is one of the grandest of guignols you're ever likely to see."

Directed by Fede Alvarez
Written by Rodo Sayugues, Fede Alvarez, and Diablo Cody
With Jane Levy (Mia), Shiloh Fernandez (David), Lou Taylor Pucci (Eric), Jessica Lucas (Olivia), Elizabeth Blackmore (Natalie)

Spoiler alert: moderate

The Evil Dead had almost no story and barely had characters.  Even Ash wasn't really Ash back then; Bruce Campbell was still growing into his chin.

My deficiency has since been rectified, but I didn't get a chance to rewatch the original before going to see the remake back in April.  Thus I had only my memories to which to compare it; memories corrupted by one of the sexiest movies of all time, the superior, and different, Evil Dead 2

Articleless Evil Dead 2013 hardly possesses the full ecstatic charisma of that latter film.  This remake is played very straight.  But The Evil Dead, however madcap, was itself a purer horror movie, at least in tone.  Alvarez' vision is a bit less garish than even that, and its tone is, at times, almost sullen.  This has nothing to do with the gore, which is phenomenal.  Rather, this movie thinks it has a story; it arguably has characters.

Monday, July 15, 2013

With Sean Astin as Leatherface


"Despite some pretty novel and highly competent filmmaking, Maniac adroitly eludes greatness.  And I'm relieved."

2012 by technicality/2013 for peons

Directed by Franck Kalfoun
Written by Alexandre Aja, Gregory Levasseur, and Joseph Spinell
With Elijah Wood (Frank), Nora Amezeder (Anna), Megan Duffy (Lucie), Jan Broberg (Rita)

Spoiler alert: mild

Elijah Wood is the titular villain protagonist, the male gaze made manifest in its most abhorrent form, a sexually motivated killer of women.  In theory.  I guess.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Too close for missiles, switching to giant robots


"These kaiju, if you insist on calling them that, suck."

 Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Written by Guillermo del Toro and Travis Beacham
With Charlie Hunnam (Shinji Ikari), Rinko Kikuchi (Rei Ayanami), Idris Elba (Gendo Ikari), Robert Kazinsky (Asuka Soryu), Ron Perlman (Lilith), Max Marti
With Charlie Hunnam (Raleigh Becket), Rinko Kikuchi (Mako Mori), Rinko Kamuchi's shockingly beautiful bob haircut with bangs (itself), Idris Elba (Stacker Pentecost), Robert Kazinsky (Chuck Hansen), Max Martini (Herc Hansen), Charlie Day (Newton Geiszler), Burn Gorman (Gottleib), Ron Perlman (Hannibal Chau)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Six words seldom heard: I want to be Michael Cera



Directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg
Written by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Jason Stone
With Jay Baruchel (Jay Baruchel), Seth Rogen (Seth Rogen), James Franco (James Franco), Craig Robinson (I'm sure you see the pattern), Jonah Hill, Danny McBride, Michael Cera, Emma Watson, Rihanna, Channing Tatum, lots and lots of other folks

Spoiler alert: moderate 

I hate it when I have to catch up with the rest of the world: This Is the End is some three and a half weeks into its theatrical run, which in this crowded summer, if not these days in general, means it's practically reached the end of its useful life there.  It's likely everyone who had any interest in seeing it already has.  In that respect, this review is superfluous.  But all my reviews are superfluous.  Arguably all reviews, period, are superfluous.  But on the off chance this reaches you today, tomorrow, or ten years from now, do yourself a solid and seek this weird, amazing movie out.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Go home, white coward. We don't need you.



Directed by Gore Verbinski
Written by Justin Haithe, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, and, one suspects, at least fifty others
With Johnny Depp (Tonto), Armie Hammer (John Reid, arguably some kind of Ranger), William Fichtner (Butch Cavendish), James Badge Dale (Dan Reid), Tom Wilkinson (Latham Cole)

When I sat down to write this review I accidentally typed The Long Ranger, and I’m tempted to just leave it at that.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Well, I wanted to believe



Written and directed by Scott Stewart
With Keri Russell (Lacy Barrett), Josh Hamilton (Daniel Barrett), Dakota Goyo (Jesse Barrett), Kaden Rockett (Sam Barrett)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Jason Blum is a rare bird, a producer who is not only commercially marketable, but whose marketability is totally justifiable. He's not marketable by name (yet), but by reputation: what you actually see on the poster is “from the producer of Paranormal Activity and Insidious [and/or Sinister],” but it does get people interested. This kind of marketing is hardly novel, but ordinarily the actual "producer of" credit is etched onto the poster using IBM’s atomic data storage technology, and almost always these other movies bear the most tenuous of relationships to the movie being sold, that relationship being merely that the same salesman managed to sell each product. This isn't the case with Blum: he could be an even rarer bird, the producer who could almost be considered an auteur in his own right.

Saturday, June 29, 2013




Directed by Sebastian Cordero
Written by Philip Gelatt

With Anamaria Marinca (Rosa Dasque), Amnamaria Marinca’s adorable pixie cut (itself), Michael Nyqvist (Andrei Blok), Karolina Wydra (Dr. Katya Petrovna), Sharlto Copley (James Corrigan), Daniel Wu (Dun “William” Xu), Christian Camargo (Dr. Daniel Luxembourg), and Embeth Davidtz (Dr. Samantha Unger)

Spoiler alert: moderate

Europa Report: a science fiction movie where not every technological surface is a touchscreen. If that’s not refreshing enough, how about Europa Report: a found footage horror movie with almost no shaky cam? Or Europa Report: a movie about space that isn’t scientifically retarded?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Two plots enter, no plot leaves



Directed by George Miller and George Ogilvie
Written by George Miller and Terry Hayes
With Mel Gibson (Max Rockatansky), Tina Turner (Aunty Entity), Angelo Rossitto (Master), Paul Larsson (Blaster), Helen Buday (Savannah Nix), Bruce Spence (The Gyro Capt—what? he’s not the same character whose idea was it to cast the same actor who played the guy with the flying machine from Road Warrior in the role of a guy with a flying machine in Beyond Thunderdome but they’re different characters that’s INSANE Jedediah the Pilot)

Friday, June 21, 2013



Directed by Zack Snyder
Written by David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan
With Henry Cavill (Clark Kent/Kal-El), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Michael Shannon (Dru-Zod), Antje Traue (Faora-Ul), Kevin Costner (Jonathan Kent), Diane Lane (Martha Kent), Russell Crowe (Jor-El)

Spoiler alert: severe

Delayed because I evidently cannot write about Superman without using many, many words, and thinking about it very hard. Apologies to any who stumble across this blog. This was not just a movie to me, to be discussed as any other, but an objective reality set against the hopes and dreams of years. I’m still going to pretend I can review it fairly.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

They forgot to binge first

 The Mad Max retrospective continues soon, and as part of an effort to get reviews of newer movies out quickly, Man of Steel early tomorrow.

For now, catching up on last week's technical hit:



Written and directed by James DeMonaco

With Ethan Hawke (James Sandin), Lena Headey (Mary Sandin), Lena Headey’s extremely lovely asymmetrical bob haircut (itself), Max Burkholder (Charlie Sandin), Adelaide Kane (Zoey Sandin), Rhys Wakefield (Polite Stranger), and a plot device with four lines (Plot Device With Four Lines)

Spoiler alert: mild

In the year 2022, control of the United States government has been seized by a group of radicals, whose philosophy combines elements of intense religiosity, fascism, and anarchism. At some point, they changed their name to the New Founding Fathers.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Why walk away, when you can ride in style?



Directed by George Miller
Written by George Miller, Terry Hayes, and Brian Hannant

With Mel Gibson (Max Rockatansky), Bruce Spence (The Gyro Captain), Kjell Nilsson (Lord Humungus), Vernon Wells (Wez), Emil Minty (The Feral Kid), and Harold Baigent (The Narrator)

Only two years out from the phenomenal domestic financial success and worldwide impress that was his (in retrospect) artistically disappointing first film, a new George Miller joint arrived in theaters, first in Australia, and four months afterward in America. For reasons that probably have more to do with history and geography than quality, Mad Max had spawned a sequel. And in the annals of film follow-ups, Mad Max 2, or The Road Warrior, or Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior—whatever you wish to call it—rules the wasteland.

Hey, fella! You're a turkey!

This is Kinemalogue, the cinema blog (it's Greek so that means I'm educated in all the wrong ways).  We will almost certainly discuss things other than movies, from time to time, because there's a lot of things I love and hate that aren't movies and which I will compulsively shout into this vast emptiness about.  But we'll grok that fullness when we come to it.  The primary mission for now is to share thoughts on new, old, and very old movies.

In commemoration of their combined release on Blu Ray, over this troika of virgin posts, I'm gonna tell you what I thought about one of film's most celebrated post-apocalypses, from its humble Ozsploitation beginnings in 1979, through its 1981 breakout into the mainstream and what Roger Ebert (pbuh) infamously declared one of the best movies of 1985, to my hopes for the Mad Maxes to come.

Oh, and: welcome home.  We love you.


Directed by George Miller
Written by George Miller, James McCausland, and Byron Kennedy
With Mel Gibson (Max Rockatansky), Joanne Samuel (Jessie Rockatansky), Steve Bisley (Jim Goose), Hugh Keays-Byrne (Toecutter)

Standing tall amongst the classic films of our childhoods—or adulthoods, or pre-existences, or post-existences, if you can still get Netflix service at the Omega Point—in any event classic films of the late 70s and early 80s—Mad Max has the distinction of being the movie I think I’d most like to see get remade; because despite its enormous importance to its own franchise, to the genre of badass 80s action cinema, and indeed to the culture as a whole (see how Mad Max taught us not to descend into biker barbarism?), it also has the distinction of being only marginally good.

Rest assured, gentle reader, I do not dislike this first outing in Max’ trilogy, and am not unsympathetic to the fact that it is director George Miller's debut effort.  However, to see Max for the first time in perhaps two decades, after dozens of viewings of Road Warrior and Thunderdome, is almost necessarily to be unimpressed by it.

"Can't we just get beyond Thunderdome?"