Films featuring
Miranda Otto

Flight of the Phoenix

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I didn’t think it was possible to do a bad imitation of Michael Bay without making it a deliberate parody, but this remake of the 1965 Jimmy Stewart classic manages to ape parts of Bay’s signature look while actually making Armageddon look like Citizen Kane in comparison.

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The Thin Red Line

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Terrence Malick’s first film as director in twenty years assembles various pieces of a great film into a mediocre one. The Thin Red Line is a meandering, obtuse rumination on the dehumanizing effects of war and will test the patience of even the most indulgent filmgoer. It runs close to three hours but probably only contains about two hours of story worth telling and not all of that feels like it comes from the same story.

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The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

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There’s little to say about Return of the King that I haven’t already said about the first two installments in Peter Jackson’s trilogy of Lord of the Rings movies. To my mind, it inherits the same virtues of the previous two movies while bringing the cycle to an epic and satisfying conclusion.

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The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

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The middle entry in a trilogy often has the hardest job, picking up where the first story left off and leaving enough for the final part to build on. In other words, it has to hit the ground running, assuming you remember what you saw a year ago and then leave you hanging two or three hours later. I don’t count faux trilogies like the Indiana Jones movies, which are only called a “trilogy” because there just happened to be three movies. There was, however, no common narrative thread tying the films together, like there is for Lord of the Rings.

Like The Empire Strikes Back, The Two Towers successfully avoids the “middle movie” trap. Continue reading

War of the Worlds

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Stephen Spielberg‘s career seems to have gone in three different directions lately. There are the serious, mature films that began with Schindler’s List and continued with Amistad, Saving Private Ryan and this year’s Munich. On the flipside are the lightweight comedies that always seem to star Tom Hanks, like Catch Me If You Can and The Terminal. Somewhere in the middle are the edgier science-fiction films like A.I., Minority Report and now his take on H. G. WellsThe War of the Worlds.

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