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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 […]

  • jalmarihelander-interview01

    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 […]

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    INTERVIEW: David Gordon Green, director of Manglehorn

    In the six years between Snow Angels and Prince Avalanche, writer/director David Gordon Green became a collaborator on a string of comedies of which he was not credited as a writer. In the two years since he’s utilized that process with drama Joe and now Manglehorn. He’s said in other interviews that it’s a way […]

  • patherpanchali01

    REVIEW: pɔt̪ʰer pãtʃali [Pather Panchali] [Song of the Little Road] [1955]

    “Go ask him for money” The story behind Satyajit Ray‘s debut film pɔt̪ʰer pãtʃali [Pather Panchali] [Song of the Little Road] is one you cannot separate from the work itself. It’s an underdog tale full of hardship and financial woe—incidents that dragged production along for three years before finally bringing India to the world in […]

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    REVIEW: Inside Out [2015]

    “I call it the Happy Core Memory Development Program” The simplest ideas really are the greatest and Pixar’s made a legacy built on just such an ideal. They brought toys to life as living companions caring for our children. They humanized the monsters in our closets, conjured a spark of love in the circuitry of […]



film reviews

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SXSW15 REVIEW: Deep Web [2015]

“We are the darkness” Alex Winter‘s new documentary Deep Web provides many unanswered questions the future will certainly shed light on soon. This is its point. While also giving a layman’s education on its subject matter—the Dark Net within, Tor as a means to access it, Silk Road and other illegal marketplaces utilizing it, etc.—the […]

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REVIEW: Lucid [2015]

“In my dreams you’re trying to kill me” As a proof of concept for what is currently in development as an episodic series, Kevin K. Shah‘s short film Lucid provides a psychological wallop of quick cuts and disorientation. It’s ending reveals itself as a beginning for something larger—an unexplained answer to the questions we’ve been […]

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REVIEW: It Follows [2015]

“How about that woman in the yellow dress?” It was only a matter of time before horror literally made an STD monster. With the trope of sex leading to one’s demise so prevalent in the genre, it makes sense to create a predator that jumps from one potential victim to the next via intercourse. What […]

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REVIEW: Cinderella [2015]

“Have courage and be kind” For anyone who cannot stand singing, Disney’s latest iteration of the timeless Cinderella is catered to you. I know Chris Weitz and the other screenwriters on the project before him poured through the fairy tale’s vast lineage for every detail they could cull together into what they surely believe to […]

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REVIEW: Frozen Fever [2015]

“Dry Banana Hippy Hat” I liked Frozen as much as the next person for telling a familiar story in a new way with emotion, surprises, and a cute little snowman named Olaf (Josh Gad). However, I can’t imagine even the staunchest supporter of its legacy doesn’t possess some fatigue. Elsa and Anna are everywhere, “Let […]

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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 […]

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REVIEW: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift [2006]

“I thought you loved me?” The Justin Lin/Chris Morgan era begins with The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and it’s a welcome improvement. Not only does the visual style evolve to be less cartoonish in its power zooms, but the sense of humor finds a happy medium between The Fast and the Furious‘ severity […]

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REVIEW: Chappie [2015]

“I want to go home” I understand the general public not wanting to go as far into sci-fi as Neill Blomkamp goes with Chappie—although they loved the similar lengths of District 9—but it’s hard to believe the critical sphere has taken such a hard stance against it. Actually, maybe it’s not too difficult to believe […]

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REVIEW: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night [2014]

“Are you a good boy or not?” The comparisons are so spot-on that I knew critics before me had made the same parallels before even looking. Ana Lily Amirpour‘s debut feature A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is Jim Jarmusch cool with Quentin Tarantino swagger—an Iranian Vampire Western calling to mind Dead Man and […]

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REVIEW: Run All Night [2015]

“Me and you” There’s something to be said about knowing exactly what you’re getting and Jaume Collet-Serra is proving consistent enough to deliver that promise through his films. Whereas Luc Besson spins a revolving door of directors to helm his actioners—mostly tongue-in-cheek, over-the-top fare (besides the original hit-maker Taken) he doesn’t deem worthy of his […]

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REVIEW: The DUFF [2015]

“Can I have some peaches and pears?” CBS Films and Lionsgate are using an interesting approach to pitch The DUFF. Watching their first trailer made me check the calendar, wondering if I had somehow been transported back in time. Not only were they openly calling someone a Designated Ugly Fat Friend to her face as […]

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REVIEW: 2 Fast 2 Furious [2003]

“I’m not going back to Barstow” It would appear that we have Michael Brandt and Derek Haas to blame (thank?) for the sudden change from overwrought melodrama to self-aware comedy I would attribute to giving the Fast and the Furious franchise its longevity. Being that I had only ever seen the first, fifth, and sixth […]

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REVIEW: Power/Rangers [2015]

“Bullshit is an ugly color on you” I watched “Voltron” growing up so I was never a huge proponent of “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” when they arrived on the scene. There was always a sense of facsimile in my mind and the goofiness of the whole thing didn’t help recruit me into their legion of […]

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REVIEW: Левиафан [Leviafan] [Leviathan] [2014]

“These animals are not the whole town” It doesn’t get much bleaker or more cynical than Andrey Zvyagintsev‘s Левиафан [Leviathan]. He and cowriter Oleg Negin were inspired by many stories—”killdozer” rampage orchestrator Marvin Heemeyer, the Bible’s Job and King Ahab, and Heinrich von Kleist’s novella Michael Kohlhaas—all of which I know nothing about. Reading a […]

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REVIEW: Kingsman: The Secret Service [2015]

“It’s a bulldog, innit?” I’m all for Matthew Vaughan continuing to jump from comic book property to comic book property. That’s not to say his debut Layer Cake was bad—on the contrary, I liked it a lot—he’s simply had a very successful run afterwards in the graphic novel realm spanning Stardust, Kick-Ass, and X-Men: First […]