The Counselor

The pedigree, on screen, is there: Ridley Scott directing, filling his film with a cast of heavyweights like Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, and Cameron Diaz. Then add Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men, The Road)  writing his first original screenplay, and it seems you would have a …

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21 Grams

Imagine taking three jigsaw puzzles—one blue, one red, and one yellow—breaking them apart, shaking up the pieces, and throwing them on the floor. The pieces are not in order, and they fall randomly. The final yellow piece to snap into place might be smack in the middle of the mess. The beginning blue piece might …

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Quitting (Zuotian)

The concept of Quitting is much more interesting than the film itself. All the “actors” in the film are actually just playing themselves. The story is based on the true-life washout and redemption of actor Hongshen Jia, who was a B-grade actor in Chinese action films of the 80s and 90s. By the time Hongshen …

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Anchored in the gruesomely violent world of Mexican drug cartels – who don’t take kindly to interlopers, competition or the word “no” – the film is based on Don Winslow’s novel of the same, and tells the story of best buds Chon (Taylor Kitsch) and Ben (Aaron Johnson). Chon’s an aggressive, no-nonsense war vet, Ben’s …

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Altered States

When I was a kid, I remember seeing Altered States with my brother, probably on TV. We had no idea what it was really about, except it was thrilling and kind of scary as William Hurt closed himself in a dark box and burst forth as a caveman (cool!). Now, revisiting the film all these …

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