Inter-Species Peacekeeping

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I was just as surprised as everyone else by the success of 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes. The latest installment of the franchise, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, had more to live up to and, thankfully, hits every note with perfect special effects, a smart script, and a thought-provoking narrative. … [Read more...]

Long Train Runnin’

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I thought I had seen the best action-adventure sci-fi film of the summer in Edge of Tomorrow. It's good, but not as wildly imaginative as Bong Joon-Ho's first English-language film, Snowpiercer, which plays like Metropolis on rails with humor and better action sequences. … [Read more...]

If At First You Don’t Succeed…

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It's hard to believe that Edge of Tomorrow didn't fare better at the box office over the weekend. I know The Fault in Our Stars was a big draw, but Edge is one of the best blockbuster action films of the summer. I'm anticipating, unlike Godzilla, that it will benefit from strong word of mouth in upcoming weeks. … [Read more...]

Victim and Violator

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If an origin story is done well, it often gives us the opportunity to consider a familiar tale in a new light. The risk, however, is in the possibility of "corrupting" that story for legions of its most die-hard fans. Not surprisingly, this was never a danger for me with Disney's Maleficent, an origin story of the Sleeping Beauty villain that I found simultaneously boring and intriguing. … [Read more...]

Notes on ‘Godzilla’

The highlight of any Godzilla film.

For a good full review of the film, see Andrew O’Heir on Salon.com1.) Sometimes whether or not you like a movie may have to do with whether you were set up to like it, like if you’re part of the demographic the movie is pitched to. Sometimes, it just takes a good word from a critic. This is how I came to like Godzilla. Andrew O’Heir’s review set me up to be patient with the narrative the filmmakers wanted to unspool in this film. So I was prepared when three quarters of the film was about a n … [Read more...]

One of the Best Yet

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After a disappointing experience with Godzilla, X-Men: Days of Future Past set the summer blockbuster ship aright. With a strong script, a surprise performance, and great special effects, it's one of the strongest (if not the strongest) entries in the series. … [Read more...]

Risking Change

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Disney's no stranger to inspirational sports films (Miracle, Invincible, and The Rookie, to name a few). Their latest, Million Dollar Arm, while inspirational, feels different. Maybe it's because it's more intimate, about individuals rather than team. Or maybe it's because it's a sports film that really isn't about sports at all. … [Read more...]

Riding in Cars with Men and an Alien

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Between Saturday and Monday, I watched (unintentionally) three film that all centered on lead characters driving in or being stuck in their SUV/truck/van. To varying degrees, the characters are restricted to these vehicles. Thematically they're completely different, but aesthetically, they represent some really strong filmmaking and storytelling. … [Read more...]


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