REVIEW: ハウルの動く城 [Hauru no ugoku shiro] [Howl’s Moving Castle] [2004]

He’s just throwing a tantrum. At one point during Hayao Miyazaki‘s Hauru no Ugoku Shiro [Howl’s Moving Castle], as adapted from Diana Wynne Jones‘ 1986 novel, Sophie (Emily Mortimer in youth; Jean Simmons in cursed old age) asks Howl (Christian Bale) if the large warship in the sky above their serene field of flowers is “on their side or ours.” His resigned response, “What difference does it make?” In his mind no side of this or any war has a righteous claim when the result is an indiscriminate amount of…

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REVIEW: What They Had [2018]

Is that my baby? Norbert Eberhardt (Robert Forster) is a loving, generous man who literally swept the woman of his dreams (Blythe Danner‘s Ruth) off her feet to start a decades-long romance that produced two children (Hilary Swank‘s Bridget and Michael Shannon‘s Nick), two grandkids (Taissa Farmiga‘s Emma being one), and unforgettable memories … until they’re forgotten. Ruth has Alzheimer’s and things have devolved to the point where Burt can’t handle doing everything he willingly, admirably, and compassionately does for her. But she’s “his girl” and he takes the whole…

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REVIEW: Hearts Beat Loud [2018]

Whoopie pies and Spotify. It’s often at extreme times of upheaval that we find ourselves taking stock of our life, ambitions, and loves. While working hard to be successful enough to support our families, we have a tendency of leaving our dreams by the wayside and/or compartmentalizing our identities to serve the unavoidable pressures of the present rather than hopes for the future. And on the flipside we can also youthfully avoid our basic human desire for compassion and interaction in order to maintain focus on career paths we’ve yet…

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REVIEW: The X-Files [1998]

“Survival is the ultimate ideology” I’m not sure if there’s ever been another television show besides “The X-Files” that received a cinematic adaptation while still on the air. It’s a testament to the property’s popularity and the studio’s faith because green-lighting it couldn’t have been an easy decision. While it must stay relevant to the story being unraveled since a new season will follow, it also must possess an appeal unbeholden to what came before to attract a wider audience. In my mind The X-Files succeeds at delivering the former…

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REVIEW: The Lucky One [2012]

“She’s not mine” Sadly—or perhaps not—The Lucky One did not instill a need to rectify my neglect of watching or reading author Nicholas Sparks‘ previous works. A romantic drama that falls prey to all the tropes you know and love/hate, the roller coaster ride of emotions it wants to be ends up little more than a gradual slide to the inevitably safe bottom. Not even a pair of lead actors I actually like could save the story from itself when Taylor Schilling‘s Beth is a trite casualty of every stereotypical…

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REVIEW: Little Fockers [2010]

“Stay calm, Mr. Jinx. I’m going to defibrillate myself.” Par for the course. Is that diplomatic enough? It’s a statement that could go both ways depending on what came first, but for those who know me, and my comedy sensibilities, it is not good here. Meet the Parents was harmless enough and semi-worthwhile to see Ben Stiller squirm, Robert De Niro use his brooding persona for humor, (although give me Analyze This any day), and Owen Wilson’s other-worldly transcendence. Meet the Fockers then took a marginal film, added two kooks…

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