Red Dwarf: Back to Earth

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Sort of a sad whimper of an ending for what was such a rip-roaring silly series. The energy and timing were all off, though there were moments (as always) that were wonderful. It couldn’t have been easy to come back to the characters after so long, but I almost wish they had just let this one sleep the millenia away quietly in its series casket. All that said, if you like the series, of course you have to see it… just lower your expectations so you’re not too disappointed.

Shutter Island

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Impeccably filmed and acted, this is a beautiful psych thriller. Its only flaw may be its length, which at well over 2 hours dragged out the resolution a little longer than felt satisfying. However, it gets high marks for not treating its audience like idiots for a change, often playing plot points subtly and allowing them to speak for themselves. Definitely worth seeing, but probably wouldn’t end up on our shelf.

The Last Station

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A most un-Russian, Russian tragedy/comedy in the vein of both Tolstoy and Chekov. Funny and poignant and with the quality performances you’d expect from such a stellar cast. I had only expected to be mildly intrigued with the history and the costumes, but from the beginning it was apparent this movie had heart and honest humor that made all the rest of it work. Definitely worth the time.

Four Sided Triangle

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Definitely a little unexpected, and a chance to see a Hammer film before they were known as the B-film gore fest king of the 50s and 60s. This is a quiet sci-fi and quite British in many ways. It doesn’t hold many surprises, but given the year it was released (’53) it was fascinating. And it definitely was a bit of a guilty pleasure, bringing back memories of Sat mornings at home watching Creature Feature and other similar shows.

Pirate Radio

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A raucous romp that while perhaps not entirely true in historical fact is true in spirit. It isn’t a perfect movie but it is great fun with great music. And, despite its two hour running time, we watched the 50 min of deleted scenes right after the credits and enjoyed them all as well. Get of hold of this one and crank the volume for a couple hours and relive a bit of how rock n’ roll changed the world at every level from the fan POV rather than the band’s for a change.

Mary and Max

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I’m pretty sure this is the flim you get when Nic Park goes off his meds or when Tex Avery reads Satre. If you’ve seen Harvey Krumpet (and you should) you’ll see the natural progression of style and approach and deft stop-action animation. While somewhat bleak and dark, it is utterly hypnotic in the best oral tradition and manages to be quite affecting and even heart-warming. Definitely a director we will be following over the coming years.

Art, writing, life explained… or at least commented upon…