REVIEW: Fear and Desire [1953]

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“Rafts always float” I love that legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick began his career with a dud so misguided he was rumored to have tried to destroy every print in existence. In his words it was a “bumbling amateur film exercise” and he’s not wrong. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing considering he was a […]

REVIEW: Day One [2015]

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“This is my first job” It’s just too much: too manipulative, too familiar, and too convenient. The trouble with Henry Hughes‘ Day One all stems from one line when his American military unit’s new interpreter Feda (Layla Alizada) meets her predecessor Naz (Shari Vasseghi). They speak about being away from home and family in the […]

REVIEW: Prologue [2015]

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I wasn’t sure what I was watching once Richard Williams‘ Prologue moved past its carefully drawn flower pollinated by a bee and a butterfly soaring across the screen to wipe the page clean before introducing the sharp eyes of soldiers. Their shields and spears conjured thoughts of Sparta; the lack of clothing on the men […]

REVIEW: Beasts of No Nation [2015]

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“You must die before you are reborn” War often leaves as large a psychological scar as physical. Surviving with your life is sometimes not enough to escape the horrors of what’s been done to yourself or those around you. As for what you’ve done—those acts remain forever in nightmare. So when young Agu (Abraham Attah) […]

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: 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: American Sniper [2014]

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“Dude, that’s evil like I’ve never seen before” It doesn’t matter if you’re Chris Kyle or any one of the countless war veterans readjusting to civilian life stateside, half the country will call you a hero and the other a killer. While the reality lies somewhere in between, it’s almost impossible to find a war […]

REVIEW: Libertador [The Liberator] [2014]

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“I am the people” I think I may have snorted a bit when the short list for foreign film Academy Award nominations came out with Libertador [The Liberator] as one of its paltry ten. They wouldn’t have placed the movie with those melodramatic character posters shrouded in a dark brooding atmosphere above critical darlings like […]

REVIEW: Unbroken [2014]

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“If you can take it you can make it” Universal Pictures has possessed the rights to Louie Zamperini’s life story since 1957 with good cause considering its scope spanning a troubled childhood, Olympic glory, and POW torture at the hands of the Japanese during WWII. Only when Laura Hillenbrand‘s mouthful of a book Unbroken: A […]

REVIEW: The Imitation Game [2014]

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“Shall we leave the children alone with their new toy?” It’s highly unusual for me to get invested in a biography, so when one comes along that enthralls me as fully as The Imitation Game it’s difficult to know whether I’m simply overreacting. Director Morten Tyldum and screenwriter Graham Moore have done what so few […]

REVIEW: Fury [2014]

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“Are you saved?” I can relate when people look at David Ayer‘s Fury and shake their heads saying, “We get it. War is brutal.” I can because I remember sitting down to watch The Reader in 2008 only to think how completely over Holocaust movies I was that year. I believe I saw four or […]