I Heart Huckabees

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Anyone who has had a crises of , well, anything (existential or otherwise) will enjoy this film. Odd and funny, it is also bizarrley honest and genuine at its core.

Beyond the Time Barrier

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Kitsch, kitsch, kitsch! Wonderful example of almost-propaganda film from the late 50s, but couched in an engagingly bad film. Whether it intended to be more anti-Russian, anti-sciences, or pro-environment, however, wasn’t quite as clear. One warning… it is a bad encoding, so the frame rate is a little odd, but not unwatchable.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World

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Geekalicious! Silly. Fun. A gamer’s dream. And yet, still populated with great characters and honest emotions.

American Psycho

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Deeply, blackly dark and funny in its way. Most effective at the beggining and, ultimately, not particularly satisfying, but it captures the period beautifully. How you want to parse the plot and message will be up to you. However, the extra, Dowtown NYC in the 80s, is an amazing 30 minutes of recapping a period of the city and the changes that occurred… having lived through a good part of it, I’ll vouch for most of the commentary provided. It is also one of those movies that, combined with others, becomes a weirdly overlapping view of a period in time (much as Goodfellas and Boogie Nights is for the 50s-late 70s). In this case we watched two of the films in close proximity by chance: American Psycho, Basquiat, and Party Monster. Put the three together for different fascets of NYC and art life during the 80s. If you must, add Wall Street, but that is a more polished, and less honest view IMO; read Bonfire of the Vanities instead. Oh, suppose I should add, if all you want is a lot of young, nekkid Christian Bale, you get that too (there are those out there for whom that would be enough 😉

Waking Sleeping Beauty

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An excellently produced and directed docu on the revivial of Disney animation and the ego struggles with Eisner, Katzenberg, and Roy Disney that both vaulted Disney into the stratosphere and almost destroyed it. While not comprehensive (Pixar is barely mentioned) it appears fairly honest and for lovers of the craft of animation or those who just want to know more about the company’s rise in the 80s and 90s, it is defiinitely worth their time.

Black Books

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Great talents in the cast, but very broad British sit-com that just didn’t get us past the first episode.

Cronos

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Wonderful, early del Toro. Much as watching early Rami or Jackson, you can see the seeds of all that was to follow as his vision as a director came together. Perfect, no, but fun and worth the time. The Criterion also has a commentary from del Toro–and he is one of those directors that can really talk about his craft and intentions.

The Kids are All Right

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This is one of those films that any discussion risks over-hyping it. This is a sweet, small film about a family. The performances are great. The script is very tight. But it is quiet, so rather than raise the noise level here, I’ll just recommend and suggest you just let it melt on your pallet.

Micmacs

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We’re suckers for Jenuet, what can I say… since Delicatessen he’s managed to keep us enthralled (and, yes, I know that includes Alien 4, but even that had its moments if not a great flick). His sense of humor and whimsy, which surfaces no matter how dark the subject, keeps you laughing and, ultimately, acknowledging the enjoyment of life. Yes, very French, but only if gene-spliced with Monty Python’s demon child.

Skins (BBC series 2)

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Second verse, better than the first. The detail, if needed: The first season of Skins was intriguing and unique, but not great. The second season riffs on the foundation they built but builds more then just windows on the charater’s lives, which was how the first season mostly progressed. Or perhaps better put, the first season was primarily about Why and the second about Choices and Consequences. But that kind of analysis robs the show of its power, which relies on the visceral, electric charge of youth in a modern world.

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

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