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Time to hit pause

This movie blog was many things. A writing exercise in which I was limited by my own self-imposed 100-word limit. A throwback to my decade-and-half of video store life. A way to fill up some time as the pandemic put my main writing gig — covering prep sports in a small town on a rock … Continue reading Time to hit pause

Bigger, Stronger, Faster

Fake muscles, real rage. Director Chris Bell traces the rise of steroids in athletics, with a personal twist. A weightlifter who grew up in the ’80s world of comically-inflated supermen like Arnold, Sly, and the Hulkster, he chose purity in training. His brothers did not. Injecting the ol’ Jose Canseco Sauce, they tangle with a … Continue reading Bigger, Stronger, Faster

Smokin’ Aces

No brains, but tons of bullets. Director Joe Carnahan, a noted master of disaster, lets his cast unload all their holsters, and then some, in this wild ‘n woolly Vegas-set shoot-em-up. The big names are aplenty, but there’s no guarantee of making it out alive, even if you sit atop the marquee. The plot, or … Continue reading Smokin’ Aces

Monster Camp

Release your inner Aragon. This Seattle-shot doc follows a batch of men and women — well, mainly men — who take their love of all things Lord of the Rings and Dungeons and Dragons to the next level. Participating in Live Action Role-Playing, they replace Viggo laying waste to Orcs with a Microsoft tech guy … Continue reading Monster Camp

Renaissance

Style for days. This gorgeous black-and-white animated film, aimed squarely at adults and not kiddos, is a swirling mix of eye-popping images and brain-shattering plot twists. Set in 2054 Paris, it follows a police captain trying to untangle a mystery revolving around the kidnapping of a young scientist who was hot on the heels of … Continue reading Renaissance

Vier Minuten

Two women, one piano. Set in a dreary prison, this transcendent tale pits a tightly-wound taskmaster against a convicted murder with serious anger issues. Making an auspicious debut, Hannah Herzsprung blisters as the battered prisoner, a woman whose tentative connection with her teacher is built on a mutual loathing of everyone else. I dig the … Continue reading Vier Minuten

Married Life

Alfred Hitchcock would approve. I think the Master of Suspense would have enjoyed this stylish, ’40s-set tale of marital strife and possible homicide. Subtle, intriguing work, nailed by a first-rate cast, it keeps us guessing where it’s going, before surprising us more than once along the twisted path it walks. You get a love triangle … Continue reading Married Life

The Heart of the Game

The female Hoop Dreams. That’s the quickest way to describe this powerful doc, but it can more than stand on its own merits. Following the Seattle-based Roosevelt High School girls basketball squad over the course of six years, it has everything filmmakers want. A scrappy coach with unconventional ways, who shakes everyone up. A star … Continue reading The Heart of the Game

Kickin’ it Old Skool

Live your dream. Even if it means coming out of a 20-year coma and thinking you can recapture your ’80s breakdancing glory. There are two ways to look at this mostly-forgotten 2007 comedy. One, it’s stupid times twenty. Or, two, it’s stupid times twenty, but in a really-endearing way. I choose the latter, embracing the … Continue reading Kickin’ it Old Skool

Mulan (2020)

No Mushu, no biggie. While Eddie Murphy’s fast-talking mini-dragon rules the animated version, this live-action remake is much more in the vein of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Director Niki Caro unleashes all the stunt people Disney’s money can buy, with action scenes galore, both epic and intimate. Every frame pops with color in one of … Continue reading Mulan (2020)

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