Song of the Summer 2013 Contender: "Blurred Lines"

Tons of magazines, shows, and podcasts dedicate the warmer months of the year to selecting their official "Song of the Summer". The rules vary from place to place, but in general, the Song of the Summer should encapsulate the feel of the season. It's upbeat and catchy. It's the tune you'll hear coming out of the car sitting next to you at the stoplight or emanating from the neighborhood BBQ. My current source for the songlist to choose from is the Too Beautiful to Live podcast, which has given me a nice handful of tracks to start with. They've also exposed me to some easily-discardable duds that may well be wildly popular, but that I don't enjoy.

The first song that does have a serious shot at being my choice to represent Summer 2013 is "Blurred Lines", performed by Robin Thicke (featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams):

Keep in mind that the only thing being considered is the song, so I'm disregarding everything about how awesome or awful or sexy or puzzling the video is. It's not difficult to figure out why "Blurred Lines" is in the finals. It's got a backbeat that renders the human body incapable of NOT dancing, and includes possibly the most insanely catchy hook ever with its repeated "hey-Hey-HEY".

The bulk of the lyrics are pretty forgettable, but that's almost totally immaterial. This song delivers such a groove that it's looking more and more like it'll be one of the final tributes left in the arena.

Song of the Summer Odds: 2:1

Summer Movie Preview: June 2013

Hmm. Only one trip to the theater in May? I'm not sure if that means that the summer movie slate is off to disappointing start, or if my social life is just that impressive. Will June be any better? Let's consult the handy-dandy Entertainment Weekly guide, and see what will rise to the level of Must-See, and what will be relegated to the Rental, Pass, or TBD piles.

June 7

After Earth: Despite my intention to go into more movies with fewer preconceptions to color my opinion, this one already has too many strikes against it. It's a post-apocalyptic drama, which need to have really interesting premises to draw me in. It's got Will Smith in Serious Actor Mode, who created the whole idea for this movie as a vehicle for his son. And it's directed by M. Night Shyamalan, whose movies have become so laughably bad that his name doesn't appear on the majority of the promotional material. Who knows - perhaps it'll turn out to be an outstanding movie. It's doubtful I'll ever be interested enough to find out. (Pass)

Dirty Wars: Here's the entirety of the Wikipedia entry about this movie, which apparently comes out in a week: "Dirty Wars is a 2013 documentary film directed by Richard Rowley, and written and produced by Jeremy Scahill about covert U.S. warfare." That's as much information as a cursory stroll through both the magazine and the internet will give. And it's enough to know I'll be skipping this one. (Pass)

Evocateur: Another documentary, this one about Morton Downey Jr. I'm not interested enough in him to make an effort to see this. (Pass)

The Internship: The first Vince Vaughn/Owen Wilson collaboration since Wedding Crashers, this one reteams them as unemployed salesmen trying to hack it at an ultra-competitive internship at Google. Most of the press I've seen on this has to do with getting Google's cooperation, and not much about the movie itself. Though I doubt I'll rush to theaters to see it, it looks like it's likely worth a viewing some snowy night in front of the fire. (Rental)

Much Ado About Nothing: Yes! I've already Saved the Date! (Must-See)

Rapture-Palooza: There are a ton of end-of-the-world movies upon us. This one is about two teenagers battling their way through an apocalypse to defeat Satan. Goofy as that sounds, the cast list is mighty impressive. I could be persuaded into going to see this with a friend or date, but if not, I'll probably catch it soon after the DVD release. (Rental)

Tiger Eyes: This movie is based on one of the few Judy Blume books I've never read, and so I probably won't take the time to get to this one. But please, call me when they make Blubber. (Pass)

Violet & Daisy: Alexis Bledel did not impress me with her role on Mad Men. Maybe she's just one of those actors who had one perfect role, and can't really do much else. So I didn't entirely do backflips when I read that she's in this one as a teenaged assassin. On the other hand, Saoirse Ronan is also in this movie as an assassin, and that girl can GET IT. This one's too tough to call right now. (TBD)

Wish You Were Here: Joel Edgerton searches for his missing friend in Cambodia. Unless I hear some stellar reviews from friends or trusted critics, I don't think I'll bother. This one sounds kind of dull. (Pass)

June 12

This is the End: Another apocalypse comedy! At first, I thought this movie - starring people like James Franco, Seth Rogan, and Michael Cera as versions of themselves facing the end of the world at a party - smacked of an annoying vanity project. But the trailer was really good! Now I find myself really looking forward to it, even if I don't get to the theater to see it. (Must-See)

June 14

The Bling Ring: Emma Watson stars in a movie based on the real life story of the celebrity-obsessed teenagers that conspired to steal millions of dollars of stuff from people like Lindsay Lohan. This one's hard to figure. I like Watson, and Sofia Coppola has done some great work. The story isn't very interesting to me, though. We'll see how it lands, and I'll figure it out from there. (TBD)

Man of Steel: Never have I been so sure that I'll wind up seeing a movie I find myself strangely disinterested in. Much like the new Spider-Man, Iron Man, and Thor movies, I just can't get excited for another Superman reboot. That makes my excitement for the new X-Men movie supremely weird, but let's not go off on that tangent. Anyhow, even though I don't care too much about Man of Steel, I'm relatively certain that I'll wind up going with my dad or a friend. Ironically, this huge summer blockbuster tentpole may be the film I have the fewest preconceptions about and expectations for when I walk into the theater. (Must-See, but mostly because of peer pressure)

Stuck in Love: A writer (Greg Kinnear) and his ex-wife (Jennifer Connelly) work through their issues with each other and their kids. No thanks. (Pass)

Twenty Feet From Stardom: Now this sounds fascinating. It's a documentary about the backup singers who provide the support vocals for various stars, while remaining relatively anonymous themselves. This, like Good Hair or Helvetica, is one of those documentaries about a fun topic I don't know much about. It sounds right up my alley, though I'll probably wait for the DVD. (Must-See, though possibly in Rental form)

Vehicle 19: Paul Walker... Thanks, you can stop there. Oh, fine. Paul Walker gets into a rental car with a bound woman in the trunk. Can I stop now? (Pass)

June 21

A Hijacking: Somali pirates take over a Danish ship, and the negotiations for the prisoners escalate quickly. Unless this pops up to be one of those gems that comes out of nowhere, like A Separation, I'll skip it. (Pass)

Maniac: Elijah Wood owns a mannequin store, becomes obsessed with a young artist, and begins hunting scalps. Jeepers. (Pass)

Monsters University: I really liked Monsters, Inc., but unless I'm looking for a movie to take my nephew to, I don't think seeing this in theaters is something I must do. (Rental)

Unfinished Song: A British widower joins the choir his late wife belonged to. I'm not discounting it entirely, but unless I hear good things from friends and critics, it's likely to fall through the cracks. (TBD)

World War Z: Reading about the problems that have beset this movie is more interesting than the movie itself could ever be. I wasn't as big a fan of the book as everyone else was, and in any case, it'll probably be too gory for me. (Pass)

June 28

Byzantium: Is Saoirse Ronan capable of playing a normal person? Probably not, but who cares? In this one, she and Gemma Arterton are some type of vampire or cannibal or something. It doesn't sound like my kind of movie. (Pass)

Copperhead: A family is torn apart by the Civil War. I'll have to see how the reviews look before I consider this one. (TBD)

The Heat: I really like what both Paul Feig and Melissa McCarthy did with Bridesmaids, but I'm not sure what to think about this buddy cop movie starring McCarthy and Sandra Bullock. Time has already shown that if the writing is crappy enough, no amount of McCarthy's charm can save it. Still, I haven't written this movie off entirely. If it gets decent word of mouth, I'll toss it on the Netflix queue. (TBD)

I'm So Excited!: I really like Pedro Almodovar, and although I appreciate his dramas, I'm happy to see this is a comedy. It's about the passengers and crew in an airplane that must stay in an interminable holding pattern, due to a mechanical failure. I'm looking forward to seeing this, although I have no great impulse to see it in the theater. (Must-See, probably as a Rental)

White House Down: I happily skipped Olympus Has Fallen, so it's strange to find that I'm kind of intrigued by this one. Maybe it's because it's directed by Roland Emmerich, and he knows how to blow stuff up. Maybe because this movie is aiming for a PG-13, so this wuss doesn't have to worry about gore. In any case, I could see myself slipping away with some friends and sneaking a beer in to enjoy this after a long day at work. (TBD)

Lemon Seeds

I count myself as a big fan of the novels Daniel Handler has written under his real name. The Basic Eight is one of my all-time favorite books, and I really enjoyed Adverbs and Why We Broke Up, as well. But even though I really like Daniel Handler, it was his pseudonym I first fell in love with. I devoured the entire A Series of Unfortunate Events series at what was probably an unhealthy clip, and felt sad at the end, not only for the end of the story, but because there was no more Lemony Snicket left to enjoy.

Until now! A new series is in the offing, and I grabbed Who Could That Be at This Hour? from the library as fast as I could. While Lemony Snicket was the reluctant narrator for the story of the Baudelaire orphans in A Series of Unfortunate Events, we only got brief glimpses into his own life. This first book of the new All the Wrong Questions series delves into Lemony's youth, and sets him on the path towards his work with the VFD that provides the connective tissue that threads through all of the books of this universe.

Who Could That Be at This Hour? throws the thirteen-year-old Lemony Snicket under the tutelage of the VFD's worst mentor, S. Theodora Markson. They are sent to a nearly-abandoned town named Stain'd-by-the-Sea, where they are tasked with stealing a seemingly-worthless statue. Needless to say, the statue isn't worthless at all, though its value is not monetary. Plenty of people are desperate to get their hands on it, from a girl named Ellington Feint who hopes to use it to ransom her father, to the mysterious Hangfire, a shifty villain who can impersonate voices impeccably.

The town is also populated by other odd denizens: An inept pair of bickering police detectives. An intrepid aspiring reporter. Two young boys who run a taxi service in exchange for (life) tips. All of this is written in the same extremely clever style that Handler brought to the previous series, but adds a welcome layer of mystery to the whole enterprise, as well. The story works as an individual entity, but also sets up plenty of questions to be explored in the next book. Cap all that off with the stellar illustrations done by Seth, and you've got one of the most enjoyable reading experiences I've had so far this year. I can't wait for the next adventure.

Who Could That Be at This Hour?: A-

Spock and Awe

When I wrote up the first entry for the Summer Movie Preview, only one May movie scored an automatic "Must-See" on the list. I wanted to be sure and catch it before all the plot points had been spoiled and discussed to death on the internet, so Monday night, Kyle and I caught an evening showing of Star Trek Into Darkness. Though there's plenty to nitpick - as there will always be in a summer effects blockbuster - I quite liked it, overall. All I ask from a Star Trek movie is for it to be bombastic fun, and it certainly delivered on that front, so know that any carping that is to follow was relatively minor in comparison.

We saw this movie in 2D, and neither of us felt that we missed anything but an inflated ticket price by skipping out on the more pervasive 3D showings. I'm sure the 3D was handled well, but we didn't need it to appreciate the visual appeal of the movie, which was considerable (especially in the opening scene, which takes place on a beautifully colorful planet with an active volcano). Though this isn't a movie that succeeds because of a deep, thoughtful plot, the one storyline that does really work is the interplay between Kirk and Spock, and their wildly different approaches to life-altering decisions and situations. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto have great chemistry, and it's definitely put to good use.

And now, the promised carping! Take a look at this pretty picture, but venture no further if you want to remain unspoiled.

10 Things Star Trek Into Darkness Did Wrong But I Don't Particularly Care About

1) So that one guy is willing to murder more than 40 people to save his daughter from cancer? And we're supposed to appreciate the tough spot he's been put into?

2) Check out the intro scene leading into the bigwigs meeting after the archive explosion. One of the extras is severely overhamming his "I Am Going To A Big, Important Meeting" walk, and it's hilarious.

3) Khan the supergenius' big plan to save his people is to cryogenically freeze them into torpedoes? That's his best idea?

4) This one I actually do care about and was disappointed by: The movie fails the Bechdel Test hardcore. All of the women are pretty, but completely useless at their jobs, and basically neither of them can accomplish anything without a man to help her along.

5) Why scream KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAN after Kirk dies repairing the reactor if Khan wasn't the one to sabotage it? I guess screaming MARRRRRRRRRRCUUUUUUUS doesn't have the same ring to it.

6) Why do they specifically need to keep Khan alive for his superblood, when there are literally stacks of other superpeople lying around the ship?

7) And death isn't a concern now? You can just cure that? That's handy.

8) First Movie: Older Spock tells Younger Spock that he cannot continue to volunteer information about alternate timelines. New Movie: "Oh, Khan? Yeah, let me outline step-by-step how to deal with him. Thanks for somehow knowing to call me about this apparently random foe you've encountered." I like a Nimoy cameo as much as the next guy, but I wish they'd thought of an actual reason to include him.

9) Speaking of which, what was the purpose of Khan at all? Take him out, insert a guy named Bob Fingerfuck, and it's pretty much exactly the same movie. And didn't they spend a bunch of time insisting that no matter how evil he is, he needs to stand trial for his crimes rather than just being assassinated or put away? And then they did exactly that?

10) And um... I guess nobody much cares that half of San Francisco has been squashed into pudding?

Most of these only occurred to me on later consideration, and as I said, I wasn't really asking much from this movie, so none of them ruined the experience. I just wanted to get the point across that this is not a thinking person's Star Trek. The plot is rigidly constructed to provide some fan-service callbacks and show a lot of stuff get blowed up real good, but the story takes no risks and mostly falls apart on closer inspection. So if you're looking for thoughtful, in-depth science fiction, keep on walking. If you want to turn down your brain for a couple hours and watch pretty people put into perilous situations in air-conditioned splendor, welcome aboard.

Star Trek Into Darkness: B

Playtime is Over

Apparently, the Big Three shows that all wrapped up at about the same time wasn't enough television, so I also followed up on my plan to finish off the little blip in entertainment history called Dollhouse. And hey, it's a good prelude to my summer movie season. Fans of the show told me the second season was much more intricate and engaging than the first. That's true, but that intricacy didn't really kick in until about the fifth episode. From what I can tell, featuring so many standalone episodes up front was a critical error by the creators. By the time they get around to the good episodes dealing with the underlying mythology, everyone had already tuned out, never to return.

It's kind of a shame, because once the stories became deeper, the show improved by leaps and bounds. It was far more interesting to see Echo be autonomous and able to access all the imprints ever uploaded to her (though it comes at a price) than to watch her go through the motions. It was far more interesting to see Adelle try to maintain control of her Dollhouse in the face of increasing power grabs by Rossum than to watch individual dolls go through a crisis-of-the-week. It was far more interesting to see Topher begin to have a crisis of conscience than having him be flip and caustic in every scene. It was far more interesting to witness the relationship between Sierra and Victor develop in both their "doll" forms and their "real" lives than having them be relegated to irrelevant supporting roles. And so on, and so forth. Everything got better. Everything, that is, except Paul Ballard - World's Worst FBI Agent, who morphs into Paul Ballard - World's Worst Dollhouse Infiltrator, Paul Ballard - World's Worst Handler, and Paul Ballard - World's Worst Echo Protector. I can't imagine this was done on purpose, and him being inept at everything became really annoying after a while.

In general, though, Dollhouse really came together. A few of the final twists may not have worked entirely, but they were at least exciting. As far as standout episodes, I'd recommend "The Left Hand" and the entire run from "The Attic" through the end, which includes "Getting Closer", "The Hollow Men", and naturally, "Epitaph Two", which puts a fairly satisfying cap on the story. There are some interesting lessons to be learned from this show, such as how to strike the delicate balance between standalone episodes and seasonal arcs. In a way, it's a bit sad that Dollhouse didn't get to develop itself beyond its 26 episodes, but I can't pretend the creators have anyone but themselves to blame on that one. At its end, this is a show that really went for broke. If only they could have put that intensity into the beginning.

Dollhouse - Season 2: B

What About Bob?

The third of my Big Three television close to close out its season is Bob's Burgers. Both Parks & Rec and Community took a step down in quality this past season (one gentle, one massive), but the same can't be said for Season 3 of Bob's Burgers, which will be difficult to top as my favorite show of 2013. I have no idea where it will go from here, but it sure feels like we're in a Golden Age. Much like The Simpsons did, this show spent some time building its universe, and now that the ground rules and major denizens are set, it's begun to expand in fun ways.

Naturally, any comedy will be judged on how funny it is, and I certainly have no problems on that level. Most of the third season episodes made me laugh out loud at least twice. But Bob's Burgers impresses in other ways, as well. Plenty of sitcom families are funny, but how many of them come across as believably related? No matter how zany adventures the Belchers get into, the familial relationships are actually quite realistic. You can easily see shades of Louise and Gene's wild ids in Bob's personality, or how Tina's nervous, low-key approach to things plays off Linda's ability to happily go along with pretty much anything life throws at her.

Music is also a superb aspect of the show's universe. The Belchers are a musical family, and between Gene's compositions and Linda's predilection for bursting out into weird little songs (not to mention the show's pitch-perfect satire of boy band songs about fantasy relationships), I actively wish there was a soundtrack I could buy.

If that weren't enough reason to love this show, the secondary and tertiary characters are hysterical. Teddy was always pretty amusing, but he really got a chance to shine in "The Deepening", making an episode about him battling a mechanical shark from his past one of the season's best. Random classmates of the Belcher kids drop in and out, and they never fail to make me giggle, whether it's Gene's short-lived girlfriend Courtney, or Regular-Sized Rudy happy to accompany Louise on a rule-breaking adventure. Oh yeah, and I can't skip over Andy and Ollie (voiced by Laura and Sarah Silverman), whose complete codependence would be insufferable if they were overused, but they never are.

I thought it would be tough to whittle down the list of episodes to the best of the season. In fact, the only one I didn't like was "Family Fracas". Everything else was at least good, if not fantastic. Still, some truly remarkable episodes did jump out. The aforementioned "The Deepening" was followed by the wonderful "Tina-Rannosaurus Wrecks". I usually love most Tina-centric episodes, so I have to include "Two for Tina" as well. That's not to say the other kids didn't have great episodes, too. "The Unbearable Like-Likeness of Gene" and "Topsy" were excellent Gene and Louise episodes, while the family unit works as a whole in "Carpe Museum". All of these were great, but as far as my favorite episode of the season, I have to go with "Boyz 4 Now", not only for the boy band parody, but for a hilarious exploration of Louise's first crush, and Bob/Linda/Gene working together to dominate a table-setting competition. I have no idea how long this winning streak will last, but even in the unlikely event that next season's episodes aren't up to par, Bob's Burgers has already earned its keep for the year.

Bob's Burgers - Season 3: A

The Wishy-Washiest Timeline

The second of my Big Three shows to recently close out its season is Community. What can I write that hasn't already been hashed out in a million other places? As anyone who watches the show knows, Season 4 was the first season to lack the guiding force of Dan Harmon behind the scenes, and simultaneously had to handle the slow-motion car crash of Chevy Chase's waning involvement and eventual resignation. Will Community ever be the same? Can the new creative forces behind the show still bring the magic that made this show so compelling in the first place? Is it still a show worth watching?

No. Somewhat. Maybe.

This season was a rough, rough ride. Even without the behind-the-scenes drama, it would be difficult to follow the Golden Age of Season 3, when this show was at its absolute peak. Now, with all the tumult, it's like I'm watching a completely different show. With a couple of exceptions, none of the Season 4 episodes were terrible, but none of them even approached the genius of last year. The argument I've been trying to peddle everywhere is that you can enjoy the show if you pretend that this past season was a high school production of the television show Community. That is, if you're able to lower your expectations of what you'll get out of this show, you can still enjoy it to some degree.

I know that's damning with faint praise, but that's the highest amount of praise I can muster. I'd rank even the relatively slow-starting Season 1 above this most recent season. Still, there was a bright spot here or there. "Herstory of Dance" was probably my favorite episode, in which Britta organizes a protest against her perceived sexism of a Sadie Hawkins dance by throwing an accidental Sophie B. Hawkins dance in parallel. Too many episodes this season relied on lazy callbacks to things that worked in the past without building on them at all, but "Herstory..." was able to stand alone with some great jokes and believable character interaction. "Economics of Marine Biology" was also a pretty good episode, especially in the B-story of Troy and Shirley enrolling in a Physical Education Education class, where their skills of being high school gym teachers are put to the test.

Most of the other episodes were mediocre. There was a laugh here or there, but nothing to write home about. This is a show that would have blown my mind in the past with a puppet episode or a body-switching episode, and when we got them in Season 4, they were...fine. Not great. Not horrible. Just a thing that happened. And saddest of all, there was the one-two punch of "Conventions of Space and Time" and "Alternative History of the German Invasion", which will be difficult to top as the worst Community episodes in the show's run.

I haven't turned on this show like a lot of the other rabid fans. I'm still interested in these characters and where they'll go from here. Community has just been picked up for a thirteen-episode fifth season, and as I said on Facebook, learning about that news filled me with wild, cautious pessoptimism. I'll still be watching and hoping. It's entirely possible that this most recent season was simply one of painful transition, and the writers can work towards a show that may not be as captivating as it once was, but still deliver a lot of fun. And even if it doesn't, we'll always have "Remedial Chaos Theory". So go refresh your bowl of toilet olives.

Community - Season 4: C+

Knope and Change

After the mass of TV posts I've written lately, I figured it would be a while before a bunch more stacked up, and I'd finally get back to winnowing down the long list of movies on my queue. Hoo boy, was I wrong. Another crop of television shows is coming to a close, so it's time to box them up before the next group starts raining down on my head.

First up is the fifth season of Parks & Recreation. I really loved the fourth season - in fact, I named it my favorite show of 2012. How could the fifth season possibly follow that act? Well, it couldn't. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it. There was a lot to love about individual episodes, but the overall seasonal arc just wasn't as compelling as Leslie's run for city council last year. This season's antagonist (Jon Glaser as Councilman Jeremy Jamm) was often amusing, but wore out his welcome in a hurry. Jenny Slate as Jean-Ralphio's sister Mona Lisa made for a really fun foil, though. I wish the show could find something better to do with Ann, but then, I felt the same way last season. Her quest for a baby in Season 5 may not have been the most gripping arc, but it sure as shit beats the hell out of her dating Tom.

As far as favorite episodes, most of them are towards the end of the season. I did like "Soda Tax" a lot, but I feel like these characters need to be together in Pawnee, if not the office, so I was glad they brought April and Ben back from D.C. shortly after that. "Pawnee Commons" was a great take on the always-hilarious rivalry between Pawnee and those jerks over in Eagleton. If you want an awesome example of how the show can be heartfelt without sinking into being overly sentimental, check out Ben's bachelor party in "Two Parties". And while I'm not a shipper in any way, shape, or form, I did really enjoy the wedding in "Leslie and Ben", which would have been the series' end if it hadn't been picked up.

Fortunately, I heard just today that the show has been renewed for a sixth season. And I'll happily tune in. This may not have been the best season of Parks & Rec ever, but it says a lot about this show's overall quality that even a slow season of this is better than 90% of anything else on the air.

Parks & Recreation - Season 5: B

Sacre Bleu!

The other night was clearly destined to be multicultural. A friend and I settled in with some cold English cider, some tangy Chinese food, and the Frenchiest movie I think I've ever seen. Amelie would look at this movie and be, like, "Whoa, tone it down, Frenchie." The movie was Holy Motors, and it appeared on a lot of people's Top Ten lists last year. I can see why - this is clearly a film that was going to get critics talking. It's also such a strange movie that it's difficult to describe; I mean how does one sum up a film where a man puts on a motion capture body suit and does martial arts before simulating sex with a contortionist so that their bodies can be projected in snake form up on a screen...and that's one of the least unusual things to take place?

In the nuttiest of nutshells, the protagonist (Mr. Oscar) rides around Paris in a limo, donning various costumes and prostheses to act out designated "appointments". In one, he's an old woman begging for change on the side of the road, and in another, a crazy, hunched, one-eyed leprechaun who bites off a lady's fingers. We're given to understand that all of these appointments are being filmed and watched by a particular audience paying for extreme realism, but we never see a camera. Even this doesn't fully explain what's going on, as odd things continue to occur even after the appointments are done for the day.

When it was over, I initially gave it a solid B. As with Cloud Atlas, I respect an ambitious movie that tries to accomplish something remarkable, even if it's not wholly successful. In thinking about it and talking it over with others over the next few days, though, it slipped a little in my estimation. Although the premise of the appointments is fascinating, I could feel myself marking them off in my head. Mr. Oscar's chauffeur mentions that he'll have nine appointments for the day, and at one point I caught myself wondering, "Jeez, is he only on number four? Is this movie going to be seven hours long?" And although the kaleidoscopic plot is interesting, there was never anything even remotely explicit about why this is happening or what this man gains from his work. I've since read about how it's an exploration of cinema (which also explains the mass fawning - critics always overpraise movies about the glory of movies), but in the moment, it struck me as a series of vignettes with no real connective thread.

It's still a fascinating movie, and I'm really glad I watched it. But after the credits roll and the accordions fade, I have to admit... Holy Motors kind of runs out of gas.

Holy Motors: B-
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