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" He’ll engage in some acrobatic insanity rather than harm a hair on a guard’s head. "
— Dougray Scott, Mission: Impossible 2

MRQE Top Critic

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Pic of the Week

Each week we pick a recommended "Pic" from our archives. Below are our most recent picks.

The Great Mouse Detective

***1986, Ron Clements, and Burny Mattinson

Basil of Baker Street finds a new DVD release.

Released one year after Disney’s highly-touted The Black Cauldron fizzled and three years before The Little Mermaid reinvigorated theatrical animated features, The Great Mouse Detective is a nice little diversion that holds its own charms and foreshadows the success to come more than recalls the failures of the past.

Juno

****2007, Jason Reitman

Introducing a screenwriter with raw talent and hot new actress

“This is a night of discovery for you,” Jason Reitman beamed proudly after the screening of his new comedy, Juno. The film had its Starz Denver Film Fest “Big Night” audience laughing all the way through, so much so that it was easy to miss subsequent lines in the hubbub. He explained that not only was this audience getting a chance to discover the actress playing the title character, Juno, but we were also getting our first taste of new screenwriter Diablo Cody’s work, whom he said wrote the screenplay in seven weeks at a Starbucks in a Target store and has “the closest thing to raw talent of anyone I have ever worked with.”

Teknolust

***2002, Lynn Hershman- Leeson

A big step ahead of Conceiving Ada

Teknolust is a bright and airy sci-fi comedy. But I wondered while watching it, are we laughing at the right jokes? The obvious attempts at humor are only half clever, yet because there are some amusing moments it seems to be funny in spite of itself. Still, it is a big improvement over Conceiving Ada, director Lynn Hershman Leeson’s first effort at sci-fi with a feminist slant.

The Fifth Estate

****2013, Bill Condon

One of the year’s most exciting movies.

The Fifth Estate is one of the year’s most exciting movies, but the excitement doesn’t stem from car chases, explosions or superheroes in colorful costumes. In this case the excitement is generated by the ideas on tap, the big-picture issues addressed and the relevance to today’s instant-gratification, social-media driven world.

Futurama: Bender’s Game

***2008

Doesn’t reach the comedic heights as the first straight-to-video movie

The team behind Futurama continues to prove that their show deserved to go on. The third of four made-for-DVD movies, Futurama: Bender’s Game meanders its way through an adventure brimming with pop culture references. It’s a fun ride, especially for fans of the fantasy genre. The entertaining bonus features provide a good supplement to the movie.

Jack Goes Boating

***2010, Philip Seymour Hoffman

Hoffman’s directorial debut a decent fall drama

In Philip Seymour Hoffman’s directorial debut, it takes motivation, a plan, and the help of a friend to break you out of your rut.

Rush Hour 2

***2001, Brett Ratner

Chan kicks ass and Tucker talks trash. What more could you want?

Audiences went to see the first Rush Hour because Jackie Chan kicks ass and because Chris Tucker is hilarious. We didn’t particularly care about the specifics of the buddy-picture plot, we just wanted entertainment, and we were not disappointed.

The filmmakers saw that we liked it and decided to give us some more.

Since Otar Left

***2004, Julie Bertucelli

Competently made with occasional flashes of brilliance

Set in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia, Since Otar Left tells of a family of women left without any menfolk.

Jour de Fête

***1948, Jacques Tati

9

***2009, Shane Acker

Nifty production design, a cinematic sensibility, but not quite a classic

9 is a visually impressive look at a post-apocalyptic world, but it doesn’t have quite enough punch to make it a classic.

Violet & Daisy

***1/2Geoffrey Fletcher

Violet & Daisy is a fanciful spin on the macho movie.

Another title could be Violent & Daffy, but it’s also volant and dazzling.

The Same River Twice

***2003, Robb Moss

An honest and touching examination of the process of aging

In 1978 Robb Moss made a short 16mm film called Riverdogs. It chronicled a month-long trip he spent with friends rafting naked through the Grand Canyon and camping out at embankments along the way. Despite the rush of whitewater and the carefree lifestyle captured among majestic outdoor settings, Moss, who had solar battery chargers built for the project and a raft customized for his film gear, admits to having a miserable time documenting the whole thing.

Flash forward to 1996 when Moss, who says he doesn’t shed friendships, decides to revisit and tape on mini-DV, five of the 17 rafters from Riverdogs because he “wondered if that movement — from gaudy youth to the enactment of our various adulthoods — could be the subject of a film.”

That film, The Same River Twice, had its world premiere in the documentary competition at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival.