Friday, November 27, 2015

100-something Movies You Should See If You Like Movies: T-Z

And here we are, folks.  This is the sixth and final installment in an alphabetical rundown of movies the Author would recommend to anyone who enjoys all kinds of movies.  We will be issuing periodic updates to this list in the future but at a significantly lower rate because I don’t get paid to write about these and whenever I do I inhibit myself from completing stuff I’m actually required to do.  If you want to support TAF’s ongoing efforts to seek out and highlight excellence in cinema, please like, subscribe, share, and donate to our Patreon at – oh, never mind.  Sometime after December 18th I’ll try to post a roundup of all the 2015 films I saw, good and bad, Star Wars and not-Star Wars, as well as my year-end thoughts on America’s brewing intellectual race war.  Aside from movies, I’d also like to do some much shorter series on games, music, television, and literature (one of these would be harder than the rest), and the feedback we get on this post will probably determine which artistic medium we tackle next.

As always, links to the other sections are appended at the bottom, and if there’s a film you hold in high regard, do go ahead and leave any suggestions in the comments.

Taps –

Taps is a relic from the 80s about a military school revolt that quickly escalates into a standoff with the military itself.  Everyone seems to think it’s a liberal antiwar screed and it’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but I thought all the characters got a fair shake from the script.  Watch it cause it’s thought-provoking and features a bunch of really young stars at the top of their game.  Tom Cruise plays a crazy person and Sean Penn plays a caricature of himself.

Teeth –

“Even the PG-13 has heavy making out.”  Teeth is a movie that probably doesn’t deserve to be on any professional Top X Movies List, but fortunately for Teeth, deserving’s got nothing to do with this list.  I could describe the premise of this movie to my readers, but if I did, my synopsis would only mortify the lot of you out of giving it a shot.  Suffice it to say that Teeth is a satire of Purity Culture in contemporary Christianity, a set of practices and youth group platitudes that aren’t entirely extra-Biblical or even wrong but which all too often supplant any other theological topics and sometimes make kids more liable to consider premarital sex than they would be if their mentors trusted them to do the right thing without incessant, obnoxious prodding.  For young and hitherto exhausted Christians who received the purity talk some 50 times or more in high school and are already in on the joke, Teeth makes a really funny mockery of contemporary Christian culture’s overzealous worries about “unclean thoughts/deeds” and the absurd lengths our teachers go to to make sure kids aren’t having any.  For those who haven’t heard the No Sex Before Marriage lecture quite as many times as your own Author, Teeth will probably come across as an offensive, neo-Feminist diatribe against religious traditions written by a proudly irreligious gay guy.  It will strike them as that kind of movie because it actually is that kind of movie.

Maybe it’s nothing more than that kind of movie, but either way you view it, it’s undeniably engrossing and two believers would be hard pressed not to have a good debate afterwards about its worldview.  Concerning Mere Christianity or the immorality of premarital sex, I’ve never tried to obscure what I believe is true and righteous, but at the same time I think there’s something, for lack of a better word, lame about a supposedly Christian college of 18-22 year-olds where sexuality is so stigmatized that almost no undergrad is romantically pursuing another young person, which, morality aside, is just the natural thing to be doing at that age and should be expected at any such institution.  Purity or Modesty Culture honorably aims to arm young believers against temptations to sin, but as an unfortunate byproduct it also ends up arming them against godly, committed relationships rooted in a moral and temperate acceptance of their sexual being.

Since I’ve summarized the thematic point of the film, you should no longer feel obligated to watch it.  It’s kind of really gross and cringeworthy, especially for males, and the length at which I’ve written about it isn’t meant to imply that it’s superior.  On a note completely unrelated to the preceding rant, Teeth ends with a song called Bomp Shooby Dooby Bomp.

The Terminator –

The original Terminator has a couple glaring problems: as satisfying as it is to see a stoic and invincible Arnold Schwarzenegger marching through a police station and gunning down thirty guys with a weapon in each hand, in actuality he wouldn’t be able to obtain a fully automatic Uzi rifle from a gun store, nor would he be able to shoot the storekeeper in the chest because he left some shotgun shells on the counter.  Silly James Cameron.  At least you can say you made a really fun and well-paced action movie, minus the awful-looking stop-motion Terminator puppet.  What are you gonna do if you don’t have hundreds of millions of dollars to blow on pretty, blue aliens or the evil machines that are wrecking their ecosystem?

The Thing –

Much like The Fly, this 30-year-old classic remains top of the line in credible and disgusting effects work without a hint of CGI, but it also tells a tense and compact story tinged with political themes of paranoia and the way in which fear of the unseen enemy disintegrates trust between comrades.

Three Amigos –

“Will you kiss me on the verandah?”  “Lips are fine.”

Top Secret! –

Old review here.  Top Secret! makes Monty Python’s Holy Grail look slow and dull and dated.  No other film has such a sustained and rapid onslaught of visual jokes except for maybe Scott Pilgrim, which undercuts its own appeal by aiming so much humor squarely at nerds and hipsters.

Transformers –

People masquerading as critical consumers of media automatically (and quite stupidly) dismiss this as a stupid Michael Bay movie, but nobody rolls out a slicker Bayhem movie than the Bay himself, and Transformers undeniably crushes all alternatives in straight-up, effects-driven action movies.  Just see the highway chase with Bonecrusher barreling through a truck, the opening assault on the Qatar base, or the shot of Ironhide blasting himself off the ground to avoid incoming missiles and a screaming woman.  Even the cheesy and very well-worn subplot of dorky nerd Sam Witwicky trying to impress hot car mechanic Megan Fox has grown on me with repeated viewings.  All this is topped off with one of the most epic-sounding, dramatic, woefully underrated scores ever.  You’d have to wear a Decepticon sticker on your car to not appreciate this modern classic in waiting.

The Tree of Life –

The Tree of Life isn’t as easily explained as most of the other movies on this list.  It’s certainly a lot harder to explain than Teeth, and it’ll probably take some repeat viewings before I finally feel I get it.  Terrence Malick gives us a deeply spiritual and artsy piece that ignores our thirst for rational understanding and doesn’t resemble any other film aesthetically.  Movies like this are why I can no longer really enjoy The Avengers.

Tron: Legacy –

Tron has gained something of a legacy as that protracted Daft Punk music video which was commercially designed to be as exhilarating and visually gigantic as possible, and you can certainly watch it that way if you want.  Or you can flex your brain muscles a little harder and try identifying all the Jesus, Holocaust, and Creation story symbols the writers cleverly wormed into their huge, flashy Ultimate Frisbee fantasy film. You do you.  No hate.  Sorry.

True Grit (2010) –

Just a good, old-fashioned revenge yarn brought to you by the Coen Brothers and a brilliant ensemble.  Ever stalwart.

The Truman Show –

A funny thinking person’s movie, not just prophetic of reality television trends but filled with religious subtext, kind of like it’s slicing, dicing, and peeling all at once.  Someday I’ll get around to reviewing it, but I don’t like using my brain on long, detailed, philosophical blog posts that no one reads in full, so that’ll be a while.

12 Monkeys –

A Terry Gilliam-directed sci-fi movie that’s a little off all the way through, and not only in the best and craziest role Brad Pitt has ever played.

Unforgiven –

“It's a hell of a thing, killing a man.  Take away all he’s got and all he’s ever gonna have.”  Yeah.

The Village –

Full review here.  At the time I called it the most vividly first-person film I’ve seen, and I’d stand by that assessment today.  In his prime, Shyamalan utilized sensations of sound and color more fully than almost any other filmmaker, and The Village embodies the perfect marriage of cinematic and symbolical depth. The Village also marked the turning point in critical reception of Shyamalan’s works, and it marked that point because the majority of movie critics are communists.  I don’t know if M. Night Shyamalan is a communist, but he sure made one hell of an anti-communism horror film, much better than The Giver – the movie, which was the original anti-communism story about a village where all is not as it seems.  Would that that movie had never been released from its community.

Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Wererabbit –

Still a better love story than Twilight, and the cool thing is that Aardman Studios actually took a story about a wererabbit somewhat seriously.  “I have two – one golden bullet left.”

Walk the Line –

Walk the Line doesn’t break any new ground in how to structure an artistic genius story: you’ve got the detached husband who dreams of making it big and the wife who wants him to choose a safer, family-centered career, montage sequences of said husband rising into stardom, drug addiction, infidelity, beautiful romantic interest who’s “too afraid to fall in love”, lots of movie-ish stuff we’ve seen before.  Rarely are these stock components executed as movingly as they are in Walk the Line.  I’m not sure how much of it is factual, but given that it’s based on Johnny Cash’s autobiography, I doubt that any of it was meant to besmirch his legacy.  I would recommend this film to anyone who thinks that country music has always sucked, or who thinks that Straight Outta Compton or Pitch Perfect were aca-effing-mazing.  Not only would they hear a splendid recreation of the sound of Johnny Cash and June Carter, but they’d also get to see one of the most versatile actors ever, Joaquin Phoenix, turn into a complete and utter wreck on camera.  And people think that Leo gets cheated at the Oscars.

Whiplash –

Kind of like this decade’s Karate Kid or Rocky, but with drumming and a million times better directed, acted, and edited.  Makes you want to play an instrument so you too can get the girl of your dreams.  Or maybe not.  Check it out.  Even if you hate jazz.  No, especially if you hate jazz, not because it’ll endow you with a new appreciation for the art of jazz but because you can then tell all your simpleton friends who love jazz that you thought Whiplash was the coolest movie ever and those friends will no longer be able to call you “ignorant” for correctly asserting that jazz is garbage.

Fast-travel to other parts:

Sunday, November 15, 2015

100-something Movies You Should See If You Like Movies: Q-S

Continuing a dynamic and somewhat subjective list of truly excellent movies for people who like all kinds of movies.  For a more thorough explanation of the methodology behind these recommendations, check out part 1 here.  Newer entries will be labeled u1, u2, u3... uX depending on when I add them, so use your internet word searcher and check back in several months to follow my ongoing chronicle of the best that Hollywood has to offer.  Links to other sections are appended at the bottom.

Quiz Show –

Dark and maddening look at game show ethics and reality television in general.  I really ought to watch it again because I haven’t seen it since I was a little, half-formed teen.  Oh well.

The Raid: Redemption –

I’d throw in The Raid 2 as well if it wasn’t so dang long and the storyline binding together the fight scenes wasn’t so dull.  The first Raid movie is about a police force infiltrating a tower full of mobsters and everyone wiping out everyone else in a nearly nonstop sequence of the most brutal martial arts battles captured to date.  There’s scarcely a plot to speak of but the movie’s undeniably entertaining and tense with no clear indicators of which characters are safe.  It’s also one of the only movies to date that I’ve seen utilize shaky camera effectively.  The one downside to viewing The Raid is that you’ll so spoil yourself you won’t be able to enjoy a multitude of other, not-as-awesome martial arts movies.  In the same way that playing Half-life 2 and Halo so early in my life has ruined my ability to truly relish any story-driven shooter game, The Raid: Redemption gutted any shot I may have had at liking a crappy film like 13 Assassins, a tonally inconsistent drama/comedy/action flick that’s weakly shot and edited and choreographed all around.

Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade –

I like the third one the most because of the added dynamic between Indy and Pa Jones, though the action of the first remains especially impressive more than thirty years later.  Somehow I managed to cheat my birth date and catch Raiders on the big screen, an unexpected journey well worth the taking.  I haven’t seen Temple of Doom in a long time, and I’m not that motivated to return to it.

Rain Man –

Let me let you in on a little secret.  K. Mart sucks.  You know what else sucks?  Tom Cruise.  That guy is such a douche in Rain Man, but who can blame him when his brother is the neediest, most high-maintenance person alive?  At least he’s not so awful towards the end.  Is there anything wrong with Dustin Hoffman, with Mr. Cruise, with Rain Man?  I don’t know.  I don’t know.

Rango –

Brought to life by Industrial Lights and Magic, Rango commands the most visually detailed, textural, and sometimes psychedelic animation ever in a fully CG film.  Plus it employs a bunch of lofty narrative terms like metaphor, epiphany, vacuum, and irony that make you feel doubleplussmart even though you know you’re watching Chinatown with Johnny Depp and a motley group of nondescript desert critters.  It’s kind of long and the average moviegoer won’t understand what the heck they should be laughing at, but for those who brought a permit for mental prospecting, this is one of animation’s greatest hidden goldmines.

Rec –

Found footage done right, it’s 70 minutes of relentlessly escalating, seamlessly captured insanity that reduced a room of 13-some college dudes to a pack of howling, jittery mutts, screaming at the television reporters not to do this or enter there or get a better shot of that.  Never has a horror movie so masterfully shown the disintegration of a seemingly controlled environment into total, hellish chaos.  Screw the English-language remake Quarantine.  Screw Rec 4 as well.  Screw Netflix for offering Rec 3, Rec 4, Quarantine 2, and a bunch of other lame, low-budget cash-ins but still not having Rec.  I’d expect nothing more.

Requiem for a Dream –

Yeah, it’s kind of a propaganda film made to tell you, “Don’t do drugs,” but it’s still the trippiest and most horrific propaganda film that one could ask from Darren Aronofsky.

Risky Business –

If it’s hard to make a movie that’s all about sex and doesn’t decline into shlock, imagine how hard it is to pull off a decent movie about a home-alone teen who calls a prostitute to lose his virginity, somehow turns into her pimp, and learns life lessons along the way.  And yet Paul Brickman managed to make just such a film, combining a superb cast, fitting synthy music, surprisingly artsy direction, and delightfully weird writing to create a more grown-up kind of Ferris Bueller.  I especially like how complex and full of contradictions Tom Cruise’s character is, on the one hand doing very imprudent, irresponsible, and immaturely rebellious things, on the other doing everything within his power to rectify the consequences of those things when they arise.  Is it just of him to open up a brothel in his parents’ house to pay for the damages to their car, circumventing the law and making easy money off of other people’s immediate impulses?  Can someone who sells her body for a living form a trusting, committed relationship with one of her clients?  Is there even such a thing as casual sex?  Risky Business raises all these ethical queries and more while throwing us for one narrative loop after another.

The Road Warrior –

The only thing I can knock Mad Max 2 for is its soundtrack, which is one of the most dated and generic 80s action soundtracks one could make.  What else can I say about The Road Warrior?  It’s got a crazy-haired Feral Kid with a boomerang in it.  Nothing else has ever had a Feral Kid with a boomerang before (except for Zelda, obviously).  ROAD WARRIOR!

Run Lola Run –

Run Lola Run doesn’t belong on a list of history’s greatest movies, as it never really moved my heart to any human sentiment, but seeing as this is a list of (hopefully diverse) movies for people who love all sorts of movies, I can recommend it with all my untouched heart.  Without indulging in gunplay, fistfights, car chases, explosions, showy stunt work, or any other typical action staples, this is simply an exemplary model of how an action movie ought to be constructed.  In Lola Rennt, the mix of low and high camera angles, the driving electronic score, and the energetic editing create the action, turning something as rudimentary as a red-haired girl running through a city into something truly gripping and awesome.  I would juxtapose this favorably with the latest Bond catastrophe Spectre, which has barrel-rolling helicopters, plane crashes, detonating watch bombs, kidnappings at gunpoint, collapsing buildings, no fewer than 4 international locations, and is an absolute bore to watch because of how blandly the director opted to shoot it.  There’s a bit of scattered German swearing, but otherwise Lola is a lot more family-appropriate action-wise than Bond.  It’s certainly more appropriate for your brain.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World –

“I’m going to be needing my own bed tonight.  It’s for sex... I may need it for a year.”  Edgar Wright’s a really pathetic director when he has to come up with his own unique film universe (see Shaun of the Dead), but damned if his style doesn’t lend itself well to comic book movies.  One of my friends confided that there’s something oddly attractive about the character of Ramona Flowers, and I couldn’t second that more highly.  She’s also aggravatingly confusing and hard to read, just like real women.  Bravo, Edgar Wright and crew, here to make me think about love and get sad and stuff.  1, 2, 3, 4…

The Shining –

Repeatedly beat up by its author for being so different from the source material, The Shining is a testament to the things a director can achieve when he doesn’t stay true to the book.  If The Shining – the movie had mirrored both the supernatural themes and all the inexplicable scares of The Shining – the book – e.g. the snakelike animate fire hose, the hedge animals, the increasingly perverted, animalistic partygoers –, it would satisfy neither Stephen King readers nor Stephen King viewers, but because Stanley Kubrick deviated so significantly from the book and set Jack Nicholson free to go completely mad as Torrance, people like me can read and watch The Shining with fresh eyes and enjoy both versions for the distinctly creepy images that each portrays.  I wouldn’t say that Shining is a particularly frightening movie because Kubrick’s style combined with elaborate production design is uncommonly whimsical and artsy, but that artsiness of craft is ultimately the primary reason any film lover should see it.  Dat steadicam doe.

Shrek –

That movie I watched 15 or so times as a kid without processing any of the inappropriate humor because I was that innocent.  Putting aside the plentiful raunchy puns, Shrek is the witty and emotional saga of true love, forgiveness, and unconditional friendship that Pixar wishes it could write.  More thoughts on it and Hellboy here, but have you ever heard a person say, “Hell no, I don’t like no Shrek?”  Shrek has got to be the most delicious movie on the whole damn planet.  One of a kind.

The Silence of the Lambs –

Not really a horror movie but still more disturbing than most of the ones I’ve seen.  Perhaps the most disturbing part is all the stupid sequels and spinoffs that came after it just because the movie vaguely sets itself up for such spinoffs.  Notwithstanding those, if I’m ever having an old friend for dinner, this’ll be the last film we discuss around the table.

Snowpiercer –

Wow. I was leaning towards hating this because most every critic had hyped it up as a pro-Occupy, Rah Rah Wealth Redistribution allegory, but the political undertones of Snowpiercer are so nuanced that one could read it as the total opposite.  Class warfare and social justice are definitely woven into Snowpiercer’s thematic fabric, but one of the film’s many implications is that upper and lower classes are unavoidable in any stable society, egalitarian and socialistic or free-market.  It’s also visually dazzling and immaculately directed, using something as simple as a character’s body positioning to convey more information than dialogue could relate (Tony Zhou’s Every Frame A Painting has a fascinating breakdown of Snowpiercer’s cinematic language).  Far and away one of the best science-fiction movies ever made.

Surfs Up –

There was a short spell in Hollywood starting around 2005 when everybody wanted to make a talking penguin and/or wild animals movie.  Surf’s Up is by far the most original, detailed, and well written of the bunch.  Everybody talks exactly the way you would expect a surfing penguin to talk, and the shaky camerawork (somehow emulated through motion capture) is similarly true to the documentary form.  But it’s really just a fun movie with a great soundtrack that’s all about learning to enjoy the simpler pleasures of life.  Radical.

Fast-travel to other parts:

Sunday, November 8, 2015

100-something Movies You Should See If You Like Movies: M-P

Continuing a dynamic and somewhat subjective list of truly excellent movies for people who like all kinds of movies.  For a more thorough explanation of the methodology behind these recommendations, check out part 1 here.  Newer entries will be labeled u1, u2, u3... uX depending on when I add them, so use your internet word searcher and check back in several months to follow my ongoing chronicle of the best that Hollywood has to offer.  Links to other sections are appended at the bottom.

Mad Max: Furry Road –

My dad’s remarks upon the credits roll were something like, “Wow.  That was two hours of crazy.”  Who could have summed it up better?  As with Edge of Tomorrow, you can condense pretty much the whole plot into two separate lines of dialogue.  Why does George Miller keep making these films 35 years after the one which he made on practically no budget and almost nobody has seen?  Maybe he regards it as his duty to absolve the action genre of its many modern transgressions.  If the old guy can’t fix what’s broken, he’ll go insane.  What a movie.  What a lovely movie.

Maniac –

Maniac is a slasher film that plays out through the voyeuristic eyes of the slasher himself, a very reclusive and mentally disturbed man played mostly by the voice and hands of Elijah Wood.  It’s easily the most visceral and shocking and disturbing 1st-person movie ever, and it’s certainly not one to watch with your mother, your girlfriend, or anybody else for that matter, as its images of disembowelment, scalpings, and obsessive stalking will prove outrageously offensive and grotesque for 84% of the moviegoing public.  I’m one of the 16%.  Not to brag or anything.  Would I recommend this movie to a friend?  No.

Mars Attacks –

This probably doesn’t belong on the list because it really wasn’t that funny, practically speaking, and Natalie Portman’s acting stinks, but I once wrote a pretty thorough breakdown of Mars Attacks’ cynical, realistic political themes contrasted with Independence Day’s liberal, pacifistic idealism, so I’ll use this newer, lazier article as an opportunity to pimp my older, much more detailed article.

The Matrix –

Because what list would be complete without it?  Your list is already dead.

Memento –

I really want to write about this one in more depth.  If someone asks me what my favorite movie ever is, I usually refer them to Memento, but now that I have this list I need not do that anymore.  Now, where was I?

Men in Black Trilogy –

If someone mentioned Will Smith to me three years ago, I’d instantly associate him in my head with Men In Black.  Then Will Smith decided to have kids and become Obama’s little whiny female pug dog.  What a shame.  All three of these are hilarious in a weird and nonconformist way.  The writer and director of Men In Black would go on to produce and partially direct the short-lived cult television series Pushing Daisies, which may be the most delightful program ever conceived that no one cared for until its second season was lying in the coffin.

Midnight in Paris –

Midnight in Paris could easily have been a really cheesy, exploitative romantic comedy weighed down by too many celebrities, time-travel gimmickry, and tourist destinations gratuitously snuck in for advertising, but instead Woody Allen made a funny, pensive, and appropriately pretty film about a screenwriter going through an Existential Crisis and reevaluating his blind romanticizing of the past.  Though it concerns unfulfilled love, defeatism in artistry, and inter-family squabbles, Midnight In Paris doesn’t mar its light tone with a lot of made-up movie conflict, as the story’s mostly about Owen Wilson thinking that he wants one thing, thinking he wants another thing, and finally coming to terms with what he really wants.

Minority Report –

The music in Minority Report is really disappointing, too often sounding like fill-in, generic John Williams background scoring.  I don’t think I can say anything negative about the film besides that, given how accurately and humorously it skewers recent ‘advances’ in individualized marketing and the surge of the surveillance state in a probably misguided, most certainly mismanaged War on Terror, all while investigating big philosophical questions about free will and its relationship to foreknowledge.  Oh, and everybody runs, John Anderton.  Run with Nike, John Anderton, and the goddess of victory will bear you to your goal.

Moon –

Moon is irregular, slow-burning speculative sci-fi that emphasizes sympathetic characters over action, potently asks what makes one human, and examines the justifications one group makes for harnessing another to its profit.  It’s also an incredible one-man show for Sam Rockwell if you care about that sort of thing.

Moonrise Kingdom –

Young love and khaki scouts realized through the whacky mind of Wes Anderson.  I totally want to ask some girl, “What kind of bird are you?”  Then I’ll know if she has good taste in movies.

My Cousin Vinny –

Marisa Tomei stole George Costanza’s heart in this comedy and continues to steal the hearts of Boss Men watching it for the first time 25 years later.  “She’s my fiancĂ©.”  “Well, that would explain the hostilities.”

Napoleon Dynamite –

Napoleon Dynamite isn’t typically categorized as great art by people of any persuasion, but you know by the time The Promise rolls that you’ve borne witness to something whole and something freaking sweet. Lucky!

Nightcrawler –

Everybody knows that Jake Gyllenhaal got robbed for best performance of the year, but Nightcrawler would still be gripping and provocative without his maniacal presence making it that much darker.  Using a little explored or contemplated aspect of local crime broadcasting, Nightcrawler undoubtedly casts a shroud of sadism and exploitation over the integrity of journalism but goes even further by dramatizing the obsessive drive of human beings to create the finest, most arousing and impactful version of their craft, regardless of the human suffering they enable or ignore thereby.  Nightcrawler’s level of violence isn’t that extreme in the big picture, but the utter callousness with which Gyllenhaal’s Lou treats it renders this one of the more outrageous and gripping thrillers of recent times, one that instantly earns its place alongside Taxi Driver as one of the great Crazy Guy classics.  Nightcrawler, though, is much more morally concerned than Taxi Driver as a story, though, and so I found it even more enthralling.

Pee Wee’s Big Adventure –

One of the queerest and most entertaining comedies ever.  Andy?  ANNNDDDYY!

Possession (1981) –

It’s really late in the evening/early in the morning, and I’m pretty certain neither I nor anyone else will ever understand what director Andrzej Zulawski was trying to say in Possession, so I’ll keep this short.  Suffice it to say this film is way too abstract, illegible, and grating on the ears for 90% of viewers, but an equal proportion will also be revolted, mesmerized, and horrified by its impeccably filmed and acted scenes of absolute, out-of-control demonic torment, so in my mind it did exactly what a movie with a name like Possession should do.  By all means, though, feel free to hate upon it.

The Princess Bride –

One of those old movies that was actually better than the book, you know, back when books were kind of good.  I’m kidding, of course.  There have always been bad books.  The Princess Bride just showed a little more effort than the rest of the bestsellers at its time.

Prisoners –

Once you do something you know is really wrong, it’s hard to do the thing you know will probably set it right.  Prisoners’ crime mystery seems shoddy in a lot of places upon closer contemplation, but the phenomenal acting, direction, and cinematography more than compensate for its scattered logic holes.

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