• debragranik-straydoginterview01

    INTERVIEW: Debra Granik, director of Stray Dog

    If you don’t think someone fresh off an Oscar nomination would spend five years to follow her critically acclaimed fictional narrative with the first feature-length documentary of her career, you don’t know Debra Granik. When I interviewed her back in 2010 in support of Winter’s Bone, she was already talking about documentary observation as being […]

  • jalmarihelander-interview01

    INTERVIEW: Jalmari Helander, writer/director of Big Game

    After finding success from his debut feature Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale—an expansion of a world he created through two previous shorts all released together by Oscilloscope—Finnish writer/director Jalmari Helander did what many European filmmakers do and went English-language for his sophomore effort. But he did so on his terms by once again writing his […]

  • davidgordongreen-interview01

    INTERVIEW: David Gordon Green, director of Manglehorn

    In the six years between Snow Angels and Prince Avalanche, writer/director David Gordon Green became a collaborator on a string of comedies of which he was not credited as a writer. In the two years since he’s utilized that process with drama Joe and now Manglehorn. He’s said in other interviews that it’s a way […]

  • patherpanchali01

    REVIEW: pɔt̪ʰer pãtʃali [Pather Panchali] [Song of the Little Road] [1955]

    “Go ask him for money” The story behind Satyajit Ray‘s debut film pɔt̪ʰer pãtʃali [Pather Panchali] [Song of the Little Road] is one you cannot separate from the work itself. It’s an underdog tale full of hardship and financial woe—incidents that dragged production along for three years before finally bringing India to the world in […]

  • insideout01

    REVIEW: Inside Out [2015]

    “I call it the Happy Core Memory Development Program” The simplest ideas really are the greatest and Pixar’s made a legacy built on just such an ideal. They brought toys to life as living companions caring for our children. They humanized the monsters in our closets, conjured a spark of love in the circuitry of […]



film reviews

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REVIEW: Gimme Shelter [1970]

“Like lemmings to the sea” And to think they only wanted to follow The Rolling Stones around America on tour. I wonder what Albert Maysles, David Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin hoped to find in the edit via their “reactive” filmmaking philosophy because it surely wasn’t what resulted. Who could have known how dangerous things would […]

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REVIEW: Terminator Genisys [2015]

“If there was another way I would have taken it” Much of the success attributed to “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” stems from it using its time travel-centric mythology to erase the franchise’s failures—mainly Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. You’d think Terminator Salvation would have followed suit, but for whatever reason it held onto […]

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REVIEW: Eden [2014]

“Save France with Coke” The rock and roll life has always been filled with temptation no matter what decade. So electronica, house, and garage music’s heyday (has it ended?) of the 90s proves no exception. With its world of DJs and samplers standing at turntables while their audience danced and raved below, however, learning a […]

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REVIEW: Stray Dog [2015]

“It’s veterans helping veterans. Who else do we got?” Five years after writer/director Debra Granik‘s sophomore effort Winter’s Bone earned four Oscars nominations including Best Picture, she returns to the big screen with a documentary spawned from her experience filming in Missouri. Far from a novice to the genre-she lensed a documentary called Thunder in […]

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REVIEW: Трудно быть богом [Hard to Be a God] [2014]

“Don’t drink. I only sniff now.” There’s a plot inside Aleksey German‘s final film Трудно быть богом [Hard to Be a God]—an audacious sci-fi epic slinging mud and feces in our faces while everyone onscreen sniffs them like drugs until we’re involuntarily following suit. No really, there is. Well, maybe a lingering vestige of what […]

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REVIEW: Ted 2 [2015]

“Fresh cakes” Something Steve Harvey said on a recent episode of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” really struck me: “Tragedy strikes. I got news for you—we have the jokes that night. We know that we can’t bring this to the public yet cause we’ll get hammered. But in a room alone, when it’s just us, […]

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REVIEW: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines [2003]

“Anger is more useful than despair” There’s one great moment in Jonathan Mostow‘s Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines: its end. I’m not being snarky in some jokey “because it was finally over” kind of way either. It is legitimately good. Half twist, half bittersweet salvation in the face of apocalyptic nightmare where a hero […]

patherpanchali01

REVIEW: pɔt̪ʰer pãtʃali [Pather Panchali] [Song of the Little Road] [1955]

“Go ask him for money” The story behind Satyajit Ray‘s debut film pɔt̪ʰer pãtʃali [Pather Panchali] [Song of the Little Road] is one you cannot separate from the work itself. It’s an underdog tale full of hardship and financial woe—incidents that dragged production along for three years before finally bringing India to the world in […]

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REVIEW: La French [The Connection] [2014]

“The true force of an untouchable is the silence he imposes on others” While everything out there talking about Cédric Jimenez’s La French [The Connection] takes special care to mention William Friedkin‘s classic The French Connection, the comparisons end at that titular focal point. I’m not talking about quality, though, as this unofficial companion is […]

insideout01

REVIEW: Inside Out [2015]

“I call it the Happy Core Memory Development Program” The simplest ideas really are the greatest and Pixar’s made a legacy built on just such an ideal. They brought toys to life as living companions caring for our children. They humanized the monsters in our closets, conjured a spark of love in the circuitry of […]

lava01

REVIEW: Lava [2015]

“Send me someone to lav-a” Sometimes cute is enough for an enjoyable little yarn, but I can’t help being disappointed when that’s all a new Pixar short has to offer. I do get that the studio can’t hit a homerun every single time out, however, and I don’t begrudge a catchy escapist ditty like the […]

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REVIEW: The French Connection [1971]

“And I’m going to nail you for picking your feet in Poughkeepsie” You watch William Friedkin‘s The French Connection today and literally start thinking about the forty-four years of police-based action thrillers owing it a huge debt. The genre just doesn’t have the type of cultural or artistic clout these days to win the hardware […]

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REVIEW: We Are Still Here [2015]

“The house needs a family” Sometimes the spirits clinging to your old home prove the least of your worries. Just ask the Sacchettis (Barbara Crampton‘s Anne and Andrew Sensenig‘s Paul). Attempting to restart their lives after the tragic death of their son months earlier, the couple moves to Aylesbury for peace, quiet, and a former […]

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REVIEW: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl [2015]

“Respect the research” Alfonso Gomez-Rejon‘s Me and Earl and the Dying Girl can be described as The Fault in Our Stars meets Be Kind Rewind. While the correlation to the latter is nearly identical with both comically parodying cinematic greats (albeit of differing oeuvres), the former hits as a contrast despite similar subject matter. Whereas […]

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REVIEW: 思い出のマーニー [Omoide no Mânî] [When Marnie Was There] [2014]

“I wish for a normal life everyday” If Studio Ghibli ends up closing shop as announced, we can be glad their final film is a winner with the heart and soul we’ve come to love from Hayao Miyazaki and the team. I’m surely in the minority, but I’d even say Hiromasa Yonebayaski‘s When Marnie Was […]