• oscars2015a

    The 87th Oscars recap through tweets …

    I’m not sure why I keep filling myself with false hope that the Oscars will one day be an entertaining show to watch. The optimism is almost completely unfounded by this point. Whether they go weird (Anne Hathaway and James Franco), safe (Billy Crystal), hip (Seth MacFarlane), or try and steal another show’s success (Neil […]

  • mostviolentyear01

    REVIEW: A Most Violent Year [2014]

    “You’ll never do anything harder than staring someone in the eye and telling them the truth” I remember being surprised when Margin Call—the little movie that could—came out. Writer/director J.C. Chandor earned an Oscar nomination for his screenplay before heading to virtual silence with his harrowing sophomore effort, the Robert Redford-starring All is Lost, a […]

  • selma01

    REVIEW: Selma [2014]

    “God was the first to cry” A civil war waged on Alabaman soil in 1965 whether President Lyndon B. Johnson felt holding off on a bill negating the South’s tactics to bar African American citizens from voting would prevent one or not. It was fought under his and the country’s eyes in the streets, on […]

  • wild01

    REVIEW: Wild [2014]

    “Cold mush dreams” The cinematic adaptation of Cheryl Strayed‘s memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail seems to be getting pigeonholed hard as being solely a tale of female empowerment. It most definitely is, but I’m not sure critics should necessarily call it a day with such a generic categorization. There’s […]

  • 2014topsongs

    Top 100 Songs of 2014

    #100: Coming Home by Kaiser Chiefs #98: Gust of Wind by Pharrell Williams #96: Friday Fish Fry by Kelis #94: It’s a Longer Road to California Than I Thought by The Wind and the Wave #92: Now by Joywave #90: Take My Place by Lily Allen #88: Are You Okay? by Dum Dum Girls #86: […]



film reviews

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REVIEW: 2 Fast 2 Furious [2003]

“I’m not going back to Barstow” It would appear that we have Michael Brandt and Derek Haas to blame (thank?) for the sudden change from overwrought melodrama to self-aware comedy I would attribute to giving the Fast and the Furious franchise its longevity. Being that I had only ever seen the first, fifth, and sixth […]

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REVIEW: Power/Rangers [2015]

“Bullshit is an ugly color on you” I watched “Voltron” growing up so I was never a huge proponent of “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” when they arrived on the scene. There was always a sense of facsimile in my mind and the goofiness of the whole thing didn’t help recruit me into their legion of […]

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REVIEW: Левиафан [Leviafan] [Leviathan] [2014]

“These animals are not the whole town” It doesn’t get much bleaker or more cynical than Andrey Zvyagintsev‘s Левиафан [Leviathan]. He and cowriter Oleg Negin were inspired by many stories—”killdozer” rampage orchestrator Marvin Heemeyer, the Bible’s Job and King Ahab, and Heinrich von Kleist’s novella Michael Kohlhaas—all of which I know nothing about. Reading a […]

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REVIEW: Kingsman: The Secret Service [2015]

“It’s a bulldog, innit?” I’m all for Matthew Vaughan continuing to jump from comic book property to comic book property. That’s not to say his debut Layer Cake was bad—on the contrary, I liked it a lot—he’s simply had a very successful run afterwards in the graphic novel realm spanning Stardust, Kick-Ass, and X-Men: First […]

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REVIEW: Focus [2015]

“Nice jacket” You know that moment in a con movie where you’re shown an elaborate sequence full of subtle background action without knowing exactly what’s happening until the mastermind explains it all to a colleague—and us—who’s unaware? It’s my favorite trope of the genre because it either provides a sense of awe in the trick’s […]

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REVIEW: Heritage [2015]

“Easy thing to bring someone into this wild world” Writer/director Damien Kazan is really honing his visual style these last couple of years with a string of gorgeous looking short films able to mesmerize with the sound off. Not that you should turn it off, his narration arrives with the type of resonating philosophizing we […]

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REVIEW: McFarland, USA [2015]

“There ain’t nothing American Dream about this place” I entered the theater expecting McFarland, USA to be a Million Dollar Arm redux with Latinos in place of Indians. What director Niki Caro actually delivered was something more akin to Miracle—still not a “great” film per se, but definitely a worthwhile telling of a heartwarmingly Disney, […]

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REVIEW: Still Alice [2014]

“I knew I shouldn’t have had that champagne” There’s little scarier in this world than a debilitating disease like Alzheimer’s. You may initially feel a sentiment as shared by the titular Alice (Julianne Moore) in Still Alice to be hyperbolic, but the thought that cancer could be a better option is an extreme worth considering. […]

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REVIEW: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice [2010]

“Are you familiar with the grey wolf?” Considering the story goes that Nicolas Cage was the catalyst for getting The Sorcerer’s Apprentice off the ground—he really wanted to do a movie where he had magical powers—and how well-suited his over-the-top theatrics are to family film fare, it’s surprising he hasn’t made a point of doing […]

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REVIEW: Plain Clothes [2015]

“And God left it to them to choose darkness or light” Actor Sam Jaeger played the most calm and collected character of the bunch on “Parenthood”. Introduced as a stay-at-home dad with a smile, he had a way of internalizing his feelings so every emotion coursing through him was seen behind actions trying hard not […]

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REVIEW: Fifty Shades of Grey [2015]

“I enjoy various physical pursuits” Author E.L. James should be ecstatic that the crazy fervor surrounding her trilogy of BD/SM propelled it towards a movie deal because now artists more qualified to bring her kinkiness to life can get their hands on it. I’m not saying she’s a bad writer—I’ll let the myriad commenters on […]

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REVIEW: Mr. Turner [2014]

“Nothing comes from nothing, Madam” I was not aware of J.M.W. Turner (Timothy Spall) before hearing about Mike Leigh‘s latest film depicting the final quarter century of his life, Mr. Turner. I’ve tried recalling glimpses of his paintings during college, but find myself blank each time. As it appears he’s presently considered a master, perhaps […]

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REVIEW: The Last Five Years [2015]

“I will not lose because you can’t win.” I wanted to blame The Last Five Years‘ failure on the original musical’s creator Jason Robert Brown since director Richard LaGravenese and cast can only do so much if the material is lacking. But then I learned about a huge structural detour that occurred during the adaptation […]

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REVIEW: かぐや姫の物語 [Kaguyahime no monogatari] [The Tale of The Princess Kaguya] [2013]

“That was Heaven telling us who she’d grow into” There is no questioning whether かぐや姫の物語 [Kaguyahime no monogatari] [The Tale of The Princess Kaguya] is an extraordinary work of art. The beauty of its simplistic, watercolor ink-lined drawings is a breath of fresh air within a medium of 3D-rendered characters trying so hard to not […]

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REVIEW: Jupiter Ascending [2015]

“The problem with astrology … total bullshit” Sometimes filmgoers simply want to be entertained and often don’t mind when the means of that fun skews towards the headier side of things—no matter how implausible, campy, or convenient that direction proves. Jupiter Ascending isn’t trying to sell itself as some grand magnum opus that cures cancer; […]