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Guardians of the Galaxy movie review: empty space

14 hours ago

Just another rote space adventure. It’s not actively awful, but there isn’t a single damn thing in the least bit surprising or memorable about it. I’m “biast” (pro): love the Marvel films

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Sorry, fanboys, but I’m not really seeing how Guardians of the Galaxy is any different from Earth to Echo.

I know: Blasphemy!

But look: It’s a bunch of 80s stuff jammed up into a package that’s only just barely distinguishable from its progenitors, and only that thanks to “awesome” CGI FX that can cram more crap onscreen than your brain knows what to do with. Okay: that’s some 90s and early 2000s stuff, via George Lucas and his Add approach to “awesome,” which has no focus and no point and considers those lacks a virtue becauselook at all the spaceships! »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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what’s on iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Netflix (from Jul 29)

29 July 2014 3:24 PM, PDT

What’s new, what’s hot, and what you may have missed, now available to stream.

streaming now, while it’s still in theaters

Happy Christmas: compulsively watchable; Joe Swanberg is a master of the subtlest of dramatic observation, and his films are unlike anything other filmmakers are giving us right now [my review] [iTunes Us] The Internet’s Own Boy: essential documentary about the life, work, and death of Internet prodigy and activist Aaron Swartz [iTunes Us]

streaming now, before it’s on dvd

Oculus: the eerie atmosphere of psychological upset is intriguing and unusual, but it’s not actually all that scary [my review] [iTunes Us]

new to stream

Finding Vivian Maier: extraordinary examination of a remarkable photographer, part portrait unraveled by meticulous detective work, part sharp criticism of the hidebound art establishment [my review] [iTunes Us] Half of a Yellow Sun: oh what a lovely film! as romance and history, this is by turns funny and tragic, suspenseful and celebratory, »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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Yves Saint Laurent movie review: underdressed

29 July 2014 6:44 AM, PDT

This biopic of “fashion’s little prince” offers all the elegant precision of a fashion shoot — it’s beautiful, and cold — but lacks a lot of necessary context. I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

I have not read the source material

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Legendary designer Yves Saint Laurent “revolutionized women’s fashion” in the 1960s and 70s, this French biopic informs us right at its very very end. Which it perhaps deems a necessary tidbit to drop on us, because there hasn’t been the least hint a grand influence of “fashion’s little prince” in the preceding hour and 45 minutes. I say this not to slander the designer — who actually was quite an important figure in the history of draping women’s bodies in fancy clothes — but to wonder just what the heck director (and coscreenwriter »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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what’s on iTunes, Amazon UK Instant Video, blinkbox, Curzon on Demand, Netflix UK, BBC iPlayer (from Jul 28)

28 July 2014 1:07 PM, PDT

What’s new, what’s hot, and what you may have missed, now available to stream.

streaming now, before it’s in cinemas

Happy Christmas: compulsively watchable; Joe Swanberg is a master of the subtlest of dramatic observation, and his films are unlike anything other filmmakers are giving us right now [my review] [iTunes UK]

streaming now, before it’s on dvd

Divergent: it’s not wildly different than other science fiction, hero’s journey, and adventure movies; sometimes we call such stories archetypal… mythic, even [my review] [iTunes UK] The Double: painfully funny odyssey of personal ineffectualness that is bitterly wonderful in how it revels in the decrepit horror of the everyday world [my review] [iTunes UK] Muppets Most Wanted: Kermit the Frog takes on his biggest challenge yet: dual roles… and truly puts the villain in vaudevillian [my review] [iTunes UK] Starred Up: could be the most realistic depiction of the horribleness and the ineffectiveness of institutional incarceration — on levels that »

- MaryAnn Johanson

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