REVIEW: Le mépris [Contempt] [1963]

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“I love you totally, tenderly, tragically” Director Jean-Luc Godard has tested cinema’s boundaries throughout his career. So it’s hardly surprising his foray into CinemaScope color with a bigger budget would be as much an aesthetic exercise showing off the technology’s splendor as it is a scathing look at the industry with the money and ego […]

REVIEW: American Ultra [2015]

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“We fired the ugly one” When there are only seven basic plots—as the saying goes—to implicitly choose from as a screenwriter, genre-bending homage becomes the sole path towards creativity. So while Max Landis‘ script for American Ultra is The Bourne Identity meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith through a Pineapple Express filter, it’s a damn good […]

REVIEW: Phoenix [2014]

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“I no longer exist” The Holocaust left thousands of survivors stripped of identity—branded by a number as though they weren’t worthy of the name given at birth. To exit such horror was to enter a new world forever changed for them as well as those lucky enough to have missed the nightmare first-hand. Pity, guilt, […]

REVIEW: Cobain: Montage of Heck [2015]

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“You better buckle-up because you are not ready for this” The mythos surrounding Kurt Cobain will never be contained. Revered the world over, his suicide at twenty-seven proved a devastating event in music and pop culture history—more so even than Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin whose deaths preceded him at that same age. Conspiracy theories […]

REVIEW: Straight Outta Compton [2015]

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“Speak a little truth and people lose their minds” NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton is a conventional biopic. And I hate conventional biopics. It’s therefore a good thing its story is anything but. Between its time period containing an excess of racial and political strife to the void of a black voice filled by rap […]

REVIEW: Tom à la ferme [Tom at the Farm] [2014]

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“Today a part of me has died and I cannot cry” For wunderkind Xavier Dolan, a film unreleased in America two years after completion is hard to believe. But that’s exactly what happened with his adaptation of Michel Marc Bouchard‘s play Tom à la ferme [Tom at the Farm]. On the surface it should be […]

REVIEW: The Great Outdoors [1988]

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“Let go of the rope” Most would probably call it lesser John Hughes—he wrote and produced with Howard Deutch taking the director’s chair—but The Great Outdoors will always hold a special place in my heart. If you asked me who John Candy was in 1990 I’d probably have said, “the guy from The Great Outdoors” […]

REVIEW: My Cousin Vinny [1992]

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“I’ve just never actually seen a grit” I watched My Cousin Vinny a lot in my youth thanks in part to it being a cable TV staple. It’s been a while since my last visit with Joe Pesci‘s titular character’s antics, but the appeal of its humor never faded. I’ve continued to quote lines like […]

REVIEW: Mother & Brother [2015]

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“You want me to be happy for you two fools?” There’s a lot of drama to be tapped from the relationship between parent and child, especially those with a dynamic clouded by abuse. It doesn’t have to be physical or sexual to leave a lasting mark either—constant verbal disapproval despite doing everything in your power […]

REVIEW: Felt [2015]

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“I’m never safe” Today’s sexual climate needs a film like Felt to turn a mirror back. Whether it’s the long-hushed Quaalude-rape escapades of Bill Cosby finally coming to light or recent allegations pointed towards infamous party-boy and man-of-bad-decisions Patrick Kane, thinking the public can ignore society’s pervasive patriarchy and victim-blaming is dying. I won’t say […]

FANTASIA15 REVIEW: リアル鬼ごっこ [Riaru onigokko] [Tag] [2015]

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“Watch the ripple” If リアル鬼ごっこ [Tag] were any indication of writer/director Shion Sono‘s warped mind, I’d almost believe he films without rhyme or reason besides excess. Based upon the Japanese novel Riaru onigokko by Yûsuke Yamada—coined by some as the Stephen King of Japan—this surreal tale of three girls in one traversing a nightmarish landscape […]