REVIEW: 300: Rise of an Empire [2014]

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“Fear his freedom!” This is what a copy of a copy looks like. It pretends to be equal to the original—and in some aspects proves to be exactly the same—yet arrives seven years after everything its groundbreaking ancestor provided was expanded and evolved upon. I loved 300 and gave it a perfect score despite some […]

REVIEW: The Monuments Men [2014]

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“Present company expected” There was real potential for George Clooney‘s The Monuments Men to turn into a broad comedy about a hapless band of seven working their way through Europe in search of the stolen masterpieces Adolf Hitler hid away for his own personal collection of greed. It had the hokey score sounding like a […]

REVIEW: Aquel no era yo [That Wasn't Me] [2013]

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“With your guns, people will respect you” If someone told me they didn’t see Esteban Crespo‘s Aquel No Era Yo [That Wasn't Me] as more than a contrived piece of melodrama tugging at heartstrings I’d believe them and understand completely. However, for me it was an affecting work brilliantly encapsulating the climate we now find […]

TIFF13 REVIEW: Canopy [??]

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“The sunshine of summer time belongs to us all” It’s September 9th, 1942 and the Japanese have already invaded Singapore three years before the first atomic bomb will shake them with devastating force and ultimately close out one of the ugliest chapters in Earth’s history. Through an alliance that has held strong even today—this film […]

REVIEW: Black Gold [Day of the Falcon] [2011]

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“God hates what we do in his name” The “new” film Day of the Falcon has had an odd trajectory to American theatres. Originally titled Black Gold, Jean-Jacques Annaud‘s contemporary epic in sand debuted at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival in Qatar and released in the director’s homeland of France way back in 2011. Kicked […]

REVIEW: Zero Dark Thirty [2012]

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“Some hummus, tabouli—I don’t know what that is—some figs” I have a very clear recollection of the day Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan because I was having dinner in India when a friend Facebook messaged me from America with the news. With no fanfare or announcement, Hindi reporters on TV were my only […]

REVIEW: Allegiance [Recalled] [2012]

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“Which diagnosis do you believe?” Not all short films should be given the feature length treatment. What works on a small, concise scale often finds itself expanded beyond its capabilities, not necessarily failing because the additions don’t fit the central conceit but because they ruin the original impact through superfluity. I haven’t seen Michael Connors‘ […]

REVIEW: Белый тигр [White Tiger] [2012]

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“Even I’m not old enough to know what happened” It’s a unique treat any time a film depicting World War II doesn’t center on the Holocaust or American forces storming the beaches of Normandy. Honestly, these are the two subjects we in the United States learn during our public school education because we frankly don’t […]

TIFF12 REVIEW: لما شفتك [When I Saw You] [2013]

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“You’re suffocating me” Leave it to writer/director Annemarie Jacir to make an American more or less indoctrinated to side with the Israelis in the war for the Holy Land see her people’s freedom fighters (fadayee) in a sympathetic light. The first ever female Palestinian director—her debut feature Salt of This Sea was the region’s 2008 […]

REVIEW: Act of Valor [2012]

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“You’re always trying to get home” Asked by the Navy to create a film to honor the fallen Seals since 9-11 who gave their lives to protect our country, Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh took six months to gain the active team’s trust and begin to understand exactly what they do on a day-to-day basis. […]

REVIEW: War Horse [2011]

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“There are big days and there are small days” Thirteen years since Saving Private Ryan and six since his last ‘serious’ work in Munich, Steven Spielberg pulls out all the stops for his newest WWI epic War Horse. Based on the 1982 children’s novel by Michael Morpurgo that was recently adapted into a Tony Award-winning […]