• wingsofdesire01

    REVIEW: Der Himmel über Berlin [Wings of Desire] [1987]

    “Why am I me, and why not you?” What does it mean to be human? This is the question the Angel Damiel (Bruno Ganz) wonders from his eternal perch on high surveying, subtly steering, and always listening. He sees humanity’s joy and laughter, jealous of their ability to live, feel, and touch. Even amongst the […]

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    REVIEW: Paris, Texas [1984]

    “Don’t go yet” The first word my mind conjured after watching Wim Wenders‘ Paris, Texas was honesty. It’s delivered from lead Harry Dean Stanton all the way down to Robby Müller‘s gorgeous cinematography of untouched Mojave Desert isolation and graffiti-filled urban concrete. Nothing appears inauthentic and that’s not an easy accomplishment when you think about […]

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    REVIEW: Eye in the Sky [2016]

    “Never tell a soldier he doesn’t know the cost of war” How do you simultaneously become hero and martyr in twenty-first century warfare? You find yourself unwittingly lodged within the kill zone of a high value target that has been confirmed without a shadow of a doubt. Death or injury earns you both labels for […]

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    INTERVIEW: Stephen Frears, director of The Program

    It’s proving to be a couple of busy months for legendary director Stephen Frears, fresh off his delightful true-life story Philomena making an Oscar run in 2013. Not only does he have his Lance Armstrong biopic The Program opening US theaters this Friday (March 18th), but his newest Florence Foster Jenkins also hits UK screens […]

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    REVIEW: Saul fia [Son of Saul] [2015]

    “You failed the living for the dead” It’s stunning how all these years later a Holocaust film can come along and prove wholly unique from the myriad examples we’ve already received and lauded. But László Nemes‘ directorial debut Saul Fia [Son of Saul] does exactly that. Not only does he capture the brutality by entering […]



film reviews

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REVIEW: Avril et le monde truqué [April and the Extraordinary World] [2015]

“All scientists must serve the empire!” Most writing on Christian Desmares and Franck Ekinci‘s Avril et le monde truqué [April and the Extraordinary World] speaks as though they’ve adapted one of revered Frenchman Jacques Tardi‘s graphic novels. This isn’t quite the case. What they’ve actually done is bring his unique “universe” to life with help […]

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REVIEW: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice [2016]

“Ignorance is not the same as innocence” Director and steward of Warner Bros.’s entire DC Comic universe—for better or worse depending on your personal opinion of the man’s portfolio—Zack Snyder has spent two years telling us Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is ostensibly Man of Steel 2. It’s not. This thing is a Batman […]

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REVIEW: El abrazo de la serpiente [Embrace of the Serpent] [2015]

“Knowledge belongs to all men” It’s 1909 and the colonists have arrived in Colombia searching for rubber. They kill, enslave, and rape the land of its resources, systematically destroying a way of life at the snap of their fingers to project their own culture, religion, and greed instead. One Amazonian shaman refuses to fall victim […]

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REVIEW: A Good American [2016]

“I need you to know that I would never deliberately commit suicide” If any of you “Person of Interest” fans out there still wondered whether or not our government was capable of and/or currently practice many of the same programs its fictionalized establishment utilizes, William Binney would like to tell you the definitive answer: yes. […]

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REVIEW: Of Mice and Men [1939]

“I ain’t gonna say a word” We’ve all read John Steinbeck‘s classic novella Of Mice and Men and I believe teenagers will continue doing so in Middle/High School for the foreseeable future. What may change—and if memory serves me correctly might have already changed upon my turn at flipping the pages—is which cinematic version teachers […]

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REVIEW: The Little Foxes [1941]

“That’s cynical. But cynicism is an unpleasant way of telling the truth.” The fact The Little Foxes didn’t win an Oscar wasn’t for a lack of trying as all nine of its nominations were well earned. An adaptation of Lillian Hellman‘s stage play from just two years prior directed by William Wyler, this tale of […]

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REVIEW: The Crying Game [1992]

“He believes in the future” It’s amazing how different a film can feel when you put close to two decades behind your first viewing. When I watched Neil Jordan‘s The Crying Game as a teenager I did so to see what all the fuss was about. I already knew the “secret” and found it difficult […]

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REVIEW: 10 Cloverfield Lane [2016]

“You need to eat. You need to sleep. And you need to start showing a little appreciation.” Let’s address the elephant in the room first: 10 Cloverfield Lane is not a sequel to Cloverfield no matter what the title and media suggest. The filmmakers simply thought the script (developed by Josh Campbell and Matthew Stuecken; […]

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REVIEW: Bølgen [The Wave] [2015]

“Can people in the area be warned in time?” I don’t love disaster films. In many cases the genre becomes a venue for explosive visual effects at the detriment of quality acting and resonate emotion. Hollywood loves including scientists for an environmentalist commentary, military personnel for a cold-hearted government angle, and the supposed little guy […]

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REVIEW: Triple 9 [2016]

“Better him than me” No matter how exciting it is to see a film with the cast John Hillcoat assembled on Triple 9, the old adage “less is more” still stands. The issue with having so many “main characters” is that they all end up becoming periphery players. And if one does rise above the […]

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REVIEW: 捉妖記 [Zhuō yāo jì] [Monster Hunt] [2015]

“You gave birth to a white radish” Even if 捉妖記 [Zhuō Yāo Jì] [Monster Hunt] were billed in America with “from Raman Hui, the supervising animator of everyone’s favorite Dreamworks player the Gingerbread Man and co-director of Shrek the Third, comes a magical adventure of man and beast” on the posters, it wouldn’t be enough. […]

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REVIEW: The Draughtsman’s Contract [1983]

“Four garments and a ladder do not lead us to a corpse” It’s said Peter Greenaway‘s original cut of The Draughtman’s Contract came in at three hours before almost half the runtime was excised to deliver its theatrical form. I’m quite happy by this result because the lack of answers for its shadowy mysteries befits […]

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REVIEW: Sweetgrass [2009]

“How can dogs like me if people don’t?” My first thought when John Ahern, Pat Connolly, and the rest of Lawrence Allested’s ranchers took off for the Montanan Absaroka-Beartooth mountains was: “There has to be a better way.” I know such a statement can be construed as demeaning to a way of life that existed […]

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REVIEW: Here Lies Joe [2016]

“There is hope. There’s a way back to your life.” Only dying can bring two people lost and finished with the world back from the brink of death. That may not make sense to read, but it does in my head. I think maybe writer/director Mark Battle and cowriter Pamela Conway will understand as their […]

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REVIEW: El Club [The Club] [2015]

“Has it ever occurred to you that you’re a criminal?” This is a film about deafening silence and how one unexpected intrusion can turn the normalcy of its sequestered solitude on its head. It’s a silence we have seen before a couple months ago in Spotlight—there too it was extracted from secret penance to the […]