• top10_2014

    Top Ten Films of 2014: A deluge of sci-fi doppelgängers and one-word titles

    I don’t want to label 2014 as a good, bad, or average year. I want to call it inventive, original, and delightfully dark. Whether it’s doppelgänger paradoxes leading to murderous rage, the bleak carnage of war, prison violence, or psychologically debilitating struggles to be great, my favorite films had an edge that cut to the […]

  • wildtales01

    REVIEW: Relatos salvajes [Wild Tales] [2014]

    “Crime of passion?” Best. Wedding. Ever. And trip to the bureaucratic black hole that is government sanctioned towing. And expertly planned, faux fateful airline flight this side of “Lost”. I mean it. Damián Szifrón‘s Relatos salvejes [Wild Tales] is a twisted cousin of Krzysztof Kieslowski‘s The Decalogue, a sextet of darkly comic morality plays where […]

  • faults01

    REVIEW: Faults [2015]

    “What did you lose?” There’s an inherent paradox to the universally held idea of cults being destructive. So quick to deem what occurs within them unnatural—namely a leader using his charisma to indoctrinate the weak into a “family” that understands them—we forget to acknowledge how much of our own lives follow the same pattern. As […]

  • 2014topalbums

    Top 100 Albums of 2014

    Honorable Mention: #100: Get Hurt by The Gaslight Anthem #99: They Want My Soul by Spoon #98: Motion by Calvin Harris #97: The Joy of Motion by Animals as Leaders #96: Dialects by Snowmine #95: Emmaar by Tinariwen #94: The Fire is Gone by Midnight Faces #93: The Endless River by Pink Floyd #92: Count […]

  • oscars2015a

    The 87th Oscars recap through tweets …

    I’m not sure why I keep filling myself with false hope that the Oscars will one day be an entertaining show to watch. The optimism is almost completely unfounded by this point. Whether they go weird (Anne Hathaway and James Franco), safe (Billy Crystal), hip (Seth MacFarlane), or try and steal another show’s success (Neil […]



film reviews

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REVIEW: La lampe au beurre de yak [Butter Lamp] [2014]

“Go and look at yourself on the photos” The butter lamp is a traditional feature of Tibetan temples and monasteries as a representation of wisdom’s illumination. The light removes the darkness of the mind to focus it and aid meditation. As Buddhists ignite a number of these lamps for funerals and pilgrimages as a way […]

phonecall

REVIEW: The Phone Call [2013]

“Can I help at all?” It’s nice to see an artist who’s unafraid to play with tragedy and find a way to make it transform into a bittersweet glimmer of hope. There’s a fine line in doing so, one that can easily consume the goal into a trite abyss trying too hard to stay afloat […]

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REVIEW: Boogaloo and Graham [2014]

“Everyone has a dog!” There are many examples of fools that Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers could be singing about when their “Why Do Fools Fall In Love” plays during Boogaloo and Graham. It could be Mom (Charlene McKenna) and Dad (Martin McCann) still in love after years together amidst an ongoing military state in […]

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REVIEW: The Wedding Ringer [2014]

“Sock on put” The writing team behind The Break-Up is back nine years later with their latest comedy The Wedding Ringer. While not a slog like their first feature—I found it painful at times—Jeremy Garelick (who also directs) and Jay Lavender‘s increased entertainment value unfortunately comes at the price of the whole being a complete […]

damkeeper

REVIEW: The Dam Keeper [2014]

“Out both, I saw darkness” An inclusive metaphor, The Dam Keeper‘s young Pig is made to combat the darkness of adolescence spent as an outcast and the black ash threatening to consume his town unless he stays vigilant at the windmill dam where he lives and works. He’s the protector of all the animals below […]

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REVIEW: Big Eyes [2014]

“I’m just a Sunday painter” It’s a paint-off. Literally. Will the winner be the charismatic salesman peddling his wife’s art as his own or the soft-spoken woman slaving away in a turpentine-filled room that’s been dominated and belittled into allowing him to do so? Who will earn the right to say they were the creators […]

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REVIEW: Everly [2015]

“That’s a lot of dead whores” The best part of Everly is the realization that smartasses the world over deeming it worthy of cult status will soon begin a trend of calling it a Christmas film. Social media couldn’t help itself last December with overused jokes about readying to watch Die Hard or Gremlins to […]

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REVIEW: The Bigger Picture [2014]

“Now all I think about is death” For once publicity jargon—namely “The Bigger Picture is quite simply the most innovative animated short you will see this year”—is backed up because this Oscar-nominated short is a stunning feat of mixed media animation. The subject matter is a downer considering it deals with two grown brothers one […]

singlelife

REVIEW: A Single Life [2014]

This film is delightful. Not only does it have a catchy titular song playing throughout (a Happy Camper ditty featuring Pien Feith), but A Single Life also possesses a wonderfully simple premise in order for its paltry two-minute runtime to deliver so much more than you would expect. Enter a solitary woman readying for an […]

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REVIEW: Cake [2014]

“Forgive me” It may not be the best film utilizing its melancholic subject matter, but Cake is not as bad as the critical sphere appears to want us to believe. The credit for this goes to screenwriter Patrick Tobin for distilling his character’s grief, depression, and malaise into a precisely calculated 102-minute rebirth. We receive […]

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REVIEW: A Most Violent Year [2014]

“You’ll never do anything harder than staring someone in the eye and telling them the truth” I remember being surprised when Margin Call—the little movie that could—came out. Writer/director J.C. Chandor earned an Oscar nomination for his screenplay before heading to virtual silence with his harrowing sophomore effort, the Robert Redford-starring All is Lost, a […]

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REVIEW: The Librarian: The Curse of the Judas Chalice [2008]

“We do not profit from the artifacts!” It took two movies with potential for The Librarian franchise to finally deliver on the promise of its premise. Even though The Curse of the Judas Chalice is the most “TV-like” of the trilogy, it also possesses the best example of both its layer of educational value and […]

librarian201

REVIEW: The Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines [2006]

“In case of hippos” Well, The Librarian: Quest for the Spear must have been a big hit for TNT because its sequel received a much bigger budget. There are still many instances of poor CGI in Return to King Solomon’s Mines, but the majority of the piece is at least shot on location rather than […]

librarian101

REVIEW: The Librarian: Quest for the Spear [2004]

“I should’ve known he was evil. He gave me an A-minus.” With my exposure to Noah Wyle being limited to his role in “Falling Skies”, I can’t necessarily be blamed for assuming his character in The Librarian: Quest for the Spear would be a similar Tom Mason type. After all, both men prove to be […]

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REVIEW: Still Life [2015]

“It’s not too late” Oscar nominated producer (for The Full Monty) Uberto Pasolini‘s second film as writer/director isn’t easily categorized. Aptly labeled with the hybridized compromise “dramedy,” distributor Tribeca Films for some reason has attempted to also pitch it as a bit of a romance with both their current trailer and synopsis. This is a […]