REVIEW: Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter [2015]

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“Solitude? Just fancy loneliness.” It’s easy to assume Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter will be a humorous adventure of cultural dissonance upon reading its synopsis. The conceit is ripe for comedy and David and Nathan Zellner do mine that arena throughout their drama when it suits the story, but it’s a nuanced tragedy that’s ultimately delivered. […]

REVIEW: Stay [2005]

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“Your troubles will cease and fortune will smile upon you” **POTENTIAL SPOILERS** I remember my head spinning about Stay after leaving the theatre. Not because David Benioff‘s script or Marc Forster‘s direction proved nuanced enough to shield the “reality” of what’s going on for any authentic surprise, but due to its visceral impact. The Guess […]

REVIEW: Lost River [2015]

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“Here in my deep purple dream” You cannot watch Ryan Gosling‘s directorial debut Lost River without recalling the divisive surrealism of Only God Forgives. He’s the first to admit how much of an influence Nicolas Winding Refn was, pitting the Dane’s heightened realities against the emotive authenticity of another favorite collaborator in Derek Cianfrance. Gosling […]

REVIEW: While We’re Young [2015]

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“She is a mess. And an ugly eater.” I hated While We’re Young—a fact that actually increases my already healthy dose of respect for writer/director Noah Baumbach. He’s a filmmaker with the type of style, tone, and air of not quite tongue-in-cheek pretension you could pick out from across the room as his and his […]

REVIEW: Bordering on Bad Behavior [2015]

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“No. I don’t need a piss now.” You know that highly politicized stoner comedy about a Jew, Arab, and Christian locked together for six hours in an Israeli communications base on the Lebanese border you’ve been craving? Well, director Jac Mulder and writer Ziggy Darwish have delivered it with a punchline that pretty much writes […]

REVIEW: The Last Time You Had Fun [2015]

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“You want to throw me a divorce party?” After watching the trailer and reading the synopsis, it’s hard not to see The Last Time You Had Fun in a sort of “been there, done that” light. We’ve seen it before countless times—that meet-cute of thirty-somethings at known and unknown crossroads in their lives letting loose […]

REVIEW: Buffalo ’66 [1998]

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“Just look like we are a married couple … spanning time” In 2004 Christina Ricci was quoted in Time Out magazine as saying, “Buffalo ’66 was the most beautiful example of self-absorption I’ve ever seen in my life.” She’s not wrong. Even if she had a good experience on set and didn’t loathe writer/director/star Vincent […]

REVIEW: Fast & Furious [2009]

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“He used to date my sister” While only grossing half of its predecessor’s haul to make it seem as though Paul Walker‘s absence was a huge box office hindrance, Tokyo Drift still almost doubled its budget despite no discernible connection to the franchise that spawned it until the very end (minus its drag racing theme). […]

REVIEW: Une Libération [2015]

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“The Americans are coming” ***Possible Spoilers*** The sheer number of different stories that have been told out of the atrocities committed during World War II never ceases to amaze me. It shouldn’t—such a large-scale assault on humanity is nothing if not complex. When you think about breadth of the countries, cultures, and languages involved, the […]

REVIEW: Relatos salvajes [Wild Tales] [2014]

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“Crime of passion?” Best. Wedding. Ever. And trip to the bureaucratic black hole that is government sanctioned towing. And expertly planned, faux fateful airline flight this side of “Lost”. I mean it. Damián Szifrón‘s Relatos salvejes [Wild Tales] is a twisted cousin of Krzysztof Kieslowski‘s The Decalogue, a sextet of darkly comic morality plays where […]

REVIEW: Track [2015]

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“I probably should have picked up your gun” There have been many iterations of the dark morality tale known most recently as “The Scorpion and the Frog”. Before its take around 1954, however, came similar fables from Aesop (“The Farmer and the Viper” and “The Snake and the Farmer”) as well as that of Arab/West […]