• hatefuleight01

    REVIEW: The Hateful Eight [2015]

    “Well I’ll be double-dog damned” It appears Quentin Tarantino has decided to go back to his roots by making his eighth feature film The Hateful Eight in the same vein as his debut Reservoir Dogs—namely keeping sets and actors to the bare minimum for added tension without room for escape. The maneuver couldn’t have come […]

  • starwars701

    REVIEW: Star Wars: The Force Awakens [2015]

    “There’s still light inside of him” First thing’s first: there’s probably spoilers in this review. Because let’s face it, anything besides me plainly stating that I loved it is construed as a spoiler to a fandom as intense as that of George Lucas‘ Star Wars saga. Will I go into lineages and deaths? No. Does […]

  • ofcs-ballot2015

    Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2015

    Below is my December 12th ballot for the 19th annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2015 calendar year. Group winners are highlighted in red. Best Picture #1Inside Out. #2Carol. #3Spotlight. #4Ex Machina. #5Mad MaxFury Road #6Brooklyn #7The Revenant #8Room #9The Martian #10Sicario Best Animated Film […]

  • 45years01

    REVIEW: 45 Years [2015]

    “She’d look like she was from 1962 and I look like this” Half a century is a long time—enough to believe you know everything about the person you’ve spent it with lovingly and happily. But what do we really know? What was he/she like before you met and what shaped them into the person you […]

  • revenant01

    REVIEW: The Revenant [2015]

    “As long as you can still grab a breath … you fight” If we’re to go by the setting of Michael Punke‘s novel The Revenant on which Mark L. Smith based his script—director Alejandro González Iñárritu gets a co-writing credit after coming onboard—the year is 1822 and the Central American frontier is loaded with fur […]



film reviews

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REVIEW: Portal: No Escape [2011]

But where’s the cake? Oh, right. It’s a lie … Yeah. That’s the extent of what I know about Valve Corporation’s popular game Portal. I’ve seen my girlfriend play it a couple times and know the whole concept of setting up portals to help advance through the game, but I’m clueless to the storyline. So […]

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REVIEW: Evil Dead II [1987]

“Give me back my hand” Seven years after Sam Raimi’s low-budget horror The Evil Dead came onto the scene with ample scares and impressive special effects, its inevitable sequel released. I say inevitable because Raimi wasn’t initially interested, firmly in the belief that going back to the well wouldn’t be necessary once his latest proved […]

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REVIEW: Chi-Raq [2015]

“Land of pain, misery and strife” I can comfortably forget Da Sweet Blood of Jesus happened—Spike Lee‘s ambitious yet disappointing Kickstarted vampire flick—now that it appears the director’s back on track with Chi-Raq‘s musical satire. I don’t get around to every Lee “joint” but it’s probably not far-fetched to say this is his best since […]

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REVIEW: Concussion [2015]

“Tell the truth” As of September of 2015 it was reported that 87 former NFL players tested positive for chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) out of the 91 deceased men researchers at Boston University autopsied. That’s almost 96%. Their study revealed that 79% of all players (professionally, semi-professionally, or college/high school athletes) examined had it—damning numbers […]

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REVIEW: Tabu [2012]

“You will not escape your heart” There are definite thematic similarities between Miguel Gomes‘ Tabu and F.W. Murnau‘s Tabu: A Story of the South Seas from its forbidden love to its descriptions of paradises lost. The structures are even identical—albeit in reverse—showing the joy of romance and the pain of losing it. If I were […]

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REVIEW: Tabu: A Story of the South Seas [1931]

“The island of Bora-Bora: still untouched by the hand of civilization” It’s a “Romeo and Juliet” by way of French Polynesia to be commended first and foremost for its use of island natives as cast and crew (the latter a result of cost-saving efforts not-withstanding). Conceived by F.W. Murnau and Robert J. Flaherty as a […]

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REVIEW: Far From Heaven [2002]

“Here’s to being the only one” While Todd Haynes‘ Far From Heaven wears its “inspired by All That Heaven Allows” on its sleeves from aesthetic to subject matter to blatant homage, it’s so much more. He takes what Douglas Sirk brought to life and injects it with a healthy dose of complexity and jeopardy wherein […]

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REVIEW: All That Heaven Allows [1955]

“To thine own self be true” I shouldn’t be surprised that it took almost a half-century for Douglas Sirk‘s 1955 social comment on suburban gossip and image amongst the wealthy elite, All That Heaven Allows, to be appreciated as the masterpiece it is considering those watching in theaters upon its release were exactly those types […]

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REVIEW: Mojave [2016]

“I’m into motive-less malignity” I’m not sure what I thought William Monahan‘s Mojave would be, but it definitely wasn’t what followed the tense first fifteen or so minutes spent in the titular desert. We’re thrown into the world he creates to meet a man named Thomas (Garrett Hedlund) speaking philosophically about life and identity via […]

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REVIEW: The Human Element [2016]

“I have never been a resident” Many speak about the Allies’ pride in victory once World War II came to a close—and with good reason. Where the Holocaust is concerned, many people were saved as a result of these soldiers’ actions. Unfortunately, many more died before that liberation. It’s a real life horror story with […]

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REVIEW: The Clone Theory [2015]

“Maybe it’s something so crazy you wouldn’t ever mention it in public” There’s a fatal flaw to A.P. Stevens‘ extremely short film The Clone Theory and it’s that clones are not artificial intelligence-controlled robots. At least they aren’t in my understanding of the term. To allow his character “The Human” to admit a crazy theory […]

whatjackbuilt

REVIEW: What Jack Built [2015]

It’s difficult not to think about Tom Waits‘ song “What’s He Building?” from Mule Variations while watching Matthew Mahler‘s (co-written with Ross Mahler) What Jack Built. This is both a compliment to the tone set by Timothy J. Cox‘s performance as Jack and the tension created by the filmmaker slowly revealing hidden details as the […]

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REVIEW: JeruZalem [2016]

“They say there are three gates to Hell and that night they found one of them” Is it coincidence that Google filed a new application to revive Google Glass on December 28th (despite halting production on the prototype in January) just weeks before Israeli-set horror film JeruZalem supplies a 90-minute adventure into Hell through those […]

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REVIEW: Steamboat Bill, Jr. [1928]

“That must have happened when the dough fell in the tool chest” The beauty of Buster Keaton‘s work is how keenly he and his “gagmen” could build a plot around their comedic stunts. It’s said director Charles Reisner was the man who told his vaudevillian friend to craft a tale focusing on the son of […]

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REVIEW: P’tit Quinquin [Li’l Quinquin] [2014]

“The dung flies are afraid of moo cows” Comparisons to “Twin Peaks” are easy when it comes to Bruno Dumont’s miniseries P’tit Quinquin [Li’l Quinquin] because there’s definitely an evil running wild within his small French town (or big if it’s up to the kindly, Asperger’s-lite slaughterhouse hired-hand). Unlike David Lynch’s “Bob” who inhabits residents […]