REVIEW: Gimme Shelter [1970]

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“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 […]

REVIEW: Eden [2014]

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“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 […]

REVIEW: Lava [2015]

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“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 […]

REVIEW: Pitch Perfect 2 [2015]

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“And there are the props” A surprise hit from 2012, Pitch Perfect was more than hype. It was good. Good enough for a sequel? Sure. I was excited to see what might happen until the trailer dropped. Boy did that thing look like a train wreck attempt at capturing lightning in a bottle by mimicking […]

REVIEW: Frozen Fever [2015]

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“Dry Banana Hippy Hat” I liked Frozen as much as the next person for telling a familiar story in a new way with emotion, surprises, and a cute little snowman named Olaf (Josh Gad). However, I can’t imagine even the staunchest supporter of its legacy doesn’t possess some fatigue. Elsa and Anna are everywhere, “Let […]

REVIEW: The Last Five Years [2015]

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“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 […]

REVIEW: Into the Woods [2014]

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“… And home before dark.” The involvement of Disney on any adaptation of beloved source material can’t help being a double-edged sword. On the one hand their clout and financial backing will ensure the production looks fantastic and attracts the type of talent worthy of the property. On the other their brand brings with it […]

REVIEW: Whiplash [2014]

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“I belong here” And here I naively thought the dinner sequence from The Riot Club would end up proving my favorite scene of the year despite the film itself leaving a lot to be desired. It just goes to show that you can never be sure until every prospective entry is counted because the final […]

REVIEW: RADHE RADHE: Rites of Holi [2014]

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“Oh Radha, you are voluptuous, pure and always forgiving, the source of life itself, our beloved, delightful as a blossoming lotus.” An art piece bridging Vijay Iyer‘s newest energetic composition as played by the International Contemporary Ensemble and stunning footage of Holi celebrations in the Braj region of India, RADHE RADHE: Rites of Holi proves […]

REVIEW: Always Woodstock [2014]

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“Don’t love anyone that makes you hate your art” The feature debut of writer/director Rita Merson is mired in convention. Think to yourself about five cinematic tropes that could be found in a romantic dramedy and I’ll bet you at least four are present in Always Woodstock. But that’s not telling you anything you wouldn’t […]

REVIEW: The Book of Life [2014]

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“Always play from the heart” I’ve held fascination for Día de Muertos ever since seventh grade Spanish class. There’s just something about its love for the dead and ability to turn something scary to so many into this beautiful cultural tradition that makes its juxtaposition of old bones and ornate artistry a uniquely special aesthetic. […]