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The Rover (2014)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  4   With the opening intertitle for The Rover (“Australia, ten years after the collapse”), one immediately expects the normal thematic baggage that comes with post-apocalyptic genre films – all adding up to the obligatory warning that this is where we could all be heading if we ... Read More »

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilerly is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  4   Let’s talk about Bad Movie Endings (BMEs).  BMEs are as old as popular film itself.  Although I am a curmudgeon when it comes to BMEs, I must admit that one of my favorite films, Psycho (1960), suffers from what has come to be known as one of the most ... Read More »

Blue Ruin (2014)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  4  There is certainly no shortage of cinema – classic or modern – concocted to explore the slippery slopes of revenge.  The theme of writer/director Jeremy Sulnier’s Blue Ruin is well-tread ground – as is the underlying plot.  Change the names and the setting, and this distinctly indie film essentially ticks the ... Read More »

Joe (2014)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  3   Director David Gordon Green, who followed up the indie break-through George Washington (2000) with movies of widely erratic genres and budgets, appears to be positioning himself as the next generation’s Steven Soderbergh.  Sporting jeans, a button down, and a cap covering a shaved head, he even looks like Soderbergh.  ... Read More »

Nymphomaniac (2014)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  4   First thing’s first.  Director Lars von Trier’s most recent opus Nymphomaniac, as episodic as it is, is a single and singular film.  The split into “Vol. 1” and “Vol. 2” is entirely arbitrary and pragmatic, accommodating the obvious limitations of an average theater’s scheduling and an average audience’s attention span. Appropriately perhaps, Nymphomaniac begins ... Read More »

Tim’s Vermeer (2014)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  4   Any production by Penn & Teller is bound to be prejudged as bringing some baggage.  The duo were never content with their status as a decades-long fixture of the Las Vegas show circuit.  And through a variety of media, Penn & Teller have evolved into a manifestation ... Read More »

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  2   As an unabashed lover of Moonrise Kingdom (2012), I had some trepidation upon first viewing the trailer for The Grand Budapest Hotel, which was literally punctuated by a litany of A-list actors – many familiar to this particular stage (Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Jason Swartzman, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Owen ... Read More »

Visitors (2014)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?):  3   Visitors has no words and no narrative.  It’s just a series of 10- to 40-second black-and-white slo-moed/time-lapsed images, inextricably linked to a haunting Philip Glass score, and pieced together into roughly three movements – all leaving the viewer with only the vaguest impression of the title’s meaning.  It sounds like the ... Read More »

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?)  4   With only the slightest bit of soft focus, writers/directors Joel and Ethan Coen take us back to the Greenwich Village folk scene circa 1961 to get Inside Llewyn Davis.  Solo singer/guitarist Llewyn (Oscar Isaac) finds himself with one foot in the future and one foot in the past.  As a sad wanderer, he is acutely attuned to the freedoms ... Read More »

Some Velvet Morning (2013)

Spoiler Scale (How spoilery is this article on a scale of 1 to 10?): 3   Some Velvet Morning (presumably no relation to the band) is composed entirely of a single conversation between an escort, Velvet (Alice Eve), and her former john, Fred (Stanley Tucci), who has left his wife and shown up with his bags at her apartment.  Initially, the ... Read More »

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