• mommy01

    REVIEW: Mommy [2014]




    “A mother doesn’t wake up one morning not loving her son” If I can be justified in agreeing with all the praise after seeing just one of his films—his latest, Cannes Jury Prize-winning Mommy—twenty-five year old writer/director Xavier Dolan is every bit the wunderkind label that has been thrust upon him. Five films in six […]

  • observance01

    FANTASIA15 REVIEW: Observance [2015]




    “Just watch and report back” You know you’ve seen something special when your only thought upon completion is whether to watch again or scour the internet for possible interpretations. This is what Joseph Sims-Dennett‘s Observance did for me. A horror/suspense filled to the brim with atmosphere and mood, its tension gradually rises like the dark […]

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    INTERVIEW: Olivier Nakache, cowriter/codirector of Samba




    Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano‘s (shown above at middle and right with Omar Sy) Intouchables was France’s Oscar hopeful in 2012 and did make the January shortlist. An infectious crowd-pleaser based on a true story, it vaulted Sy into stardom with a César win over The Artist‘s Jean Dujardin and ultimately co-staring roles in Hollywood […]

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    INTERVIEW: Debra Granik, director of Stray Dog




    If you don’t think someone fresh off an Oscar nomination would spend five years to follow her critically acclaimed fictional narrative with the first feature-length documentary of her career, you don’t know Debra Granik. When I interviewed her back in 2010 in support of Winter’s Bone, she was already talking about documentary observation as being […]

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    INTERVIEW: Jalmari Helander, writer/director of Big Game




    After finding success from his debut feature Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale—an expansion of a world he created through two previous shorts all released together by Oscilloscope—Finnish writer/director Jalmari Helander did what many European filmmakers do and went English-language for his sophomore effort. But he did so on his terms by once again writing his […]



film reviews

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REVIEW: Night at the Museum [2006]




“Keep a lid on it, Butterscotch” While based on a 1993 children’s book by Milan Trenc portraying a museum security guard discovering how he must protect the people outside from the dinosaur skeletons that come to life inside, Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon‘s cinematic adaptation of Night at the Museum bears more of a […]

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REVIEW: The Imitation Game [2014]




“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 […]

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REVIEW: Inherent Vice [2014]




“Something Spanish” While no stranger to comedy, writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson had yet to go full screwball as he does with Thomas Pynchon‘s Inherent Vice. I shouldn’t say “full” considering the laughs are desert dry and delivered with the utmost severity, but laugh-out-loud wouldn’t be an out of question turn of phrase to utilize if […]

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REVIEW: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies [2014]




“One light, alone in the darkness” No matter how entertaining The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is—definitely the best of the trilogy—I still can’t shake the feeling that J.R.R. Tolkien‘s tale would have been better served as a two-parter. A lot of the added information director Peter Jackson and his stable of co-writers […]

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REVIEW: The Homesman [2014]




“God will strike you down” I didn’t necessarily love The Homesman, but it’s hard not to respect it. This is a dark story in the desolate Mid-West with outlaw justice and remorseless murder surrounding the charitably selfless journey of Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank) and the three crazed women she’s taking across the Missouri into […]

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REVIEW: Starred Up [2014]




“Single cell. High risk.” The hype on Jack O’Connell is real. And I’m only basing that sentiment on one film. Something tells me, though, that Unbroken in a couple weeks and ’71 next year will succeed at corroborating the notion because his turn in David Mackenzie‘s Starred Up is simultaneously fierce and vulnerable like few […]

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REVIEW: Pitch Black [2000]




“Looks clear” People weren’t kidding when they used Chronicles of Riddick‘s expanded budget to blame for its box office demise. I always knew its predecessor was made with much tighter purse strings, but the level of ingenuity necessary to make it still look good surpassed any expectations I might have had. Not only does co-writer […]

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REVIEW: Beside Still Waters [2014]




“Nothing, buddy. You keep on … sulking.” When a feature length debut bows at only 76-minutes you think two things. One: it barely contains a short film worth of content and has been pumped full of fat. Or Two: it’s a shallow piece that goes nowhere and inevitably feels incomplete. It’s a horrible thing that […]

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REVIEW: Toy Story That Time Forgot [2014]




“Limitations are the shackles that we bind to ourselves” Following the success of last year’s Toy Story of Terror special, Disney and Pixar have presently tackled a holiday more on the nose: Christmas. Toy Story That Time Forgot opens two days after the presents have been torn apart and each new addition to the posable […]

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REVIEW: The Color of Time [2014]




“I have things I want to do” I wonder if James Franco showed his NYU class Terrence Malick‘s The Tree of Life because it appears the twelve students he handpicked to write and direct what became the C.K. Williams biography The Color of Time saw it and sought to remake it. Instead of musings on […]

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REVIEW: Penguins of Madagascar [2014]




“Venetian blinded again” Is Penguins of Madagascar a total cash grab? Not quite. It’s one thing when a studio hones in on a successful franchise’s periphery character and deems it worthy of a spin-off by pretending it possessed enough depth to carry a feature of its own, but it’s another when the filmmakers embrace its […]

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REVIEW: אפס ביחסי אנוש [Zero Motivation] [2014]




“Paper Shredding NCO is what you make it” When thinking about the Israeli army, images of badass Mossad agents covertly wreaking havoc across the world crop up. It’s a hyperbolic generalization, but that’s kind of the flavor our media delivers being that the country is such a strong defensive ally of the US. We’re to […]

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REVIEW: Rosewater [2014]




“I used to think only the most pious shared that scent” We all need inspiration to propel us onto new paths we may previously have never thought about pursuing or at least never found a good enough reason to take that first step. The director’s chair called Jon Stewart through a story deserving to be […]

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REVIEW: Beverly Hills Cop [1984]




“We got cocaine and coffee here. We’re gonna get wired and have a big party.” It isn’t difficult to believe why Beverly Hills Cop received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. The laughs are huge, the characters more complex than simply facilitators of plot progression, and the central mystery a solid criminal investigation despite […]

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REVIEW: The Theory of Everything [2014]




“The little one has done it” To me Stephen Hawking has always been synonymous with physics I will never understand and that ubiquitous computerized voice cracking snide jokes. Until I saw the trailer for James Marsh‘s The Theory of Everything I never even knew he was once able to walk. It was kind of a […]