• 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: Blackhat [2015]

“How badly do you need this guy?” Is there a way for a village to get wiped out—buildings and people—and still ensure the dogs are safe? No. So why do Michael Mann and Morgan Davis Foehl write Blackhat in a way that forces its lead to speak unnecessary truths intrinsic to his initial declarations? Talk […]

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REVIEW: American Sniper [2014]

“Dude, that’s evil like I’ve never seen before” It doesn’t matter if you’re Chris Kyle or any one of the countless war veterans readjusting to civilian life stateside, half the country will call you a hero and the other a killer. While the reality lies somewhere in between, it’s almost impossible to find a war […]

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REVIEW: Da Sweet Blood of Jesus [2015]

“You have not because you ask not” I backed Spike Lee‘s Kickstarted Da Sweet Blood of Jesus because I was intrigued by an auteur of his stature being left to his own devices on a project as captivating as what he’d set forth. He said it was “a new kind of love story”—one about human […]

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REVIEW: Libertador [The Liberator] [2014]

“I am the people” I think I may have snorted a bit when the short list for foreign film Academy Award nominations came out with Libertador [The Liberator] as one of its paltry ten. They wouldn’t have placed the movie with those melodramatic character posters shrouded in a dark brooding atmosphere above critical darlings like […]

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REVIEW: Selma [2014]

“God was the first to cry” A civil war waged on Alabaman soil in 1965 whether President Lyndon B. Johnson felt holding off on a bill negating the South’s tactics to bar African American citizens from voting would prevent one or not. It was fought under his and the country’s eyes in the streets, on […]

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REVIEW: Deux jours, une nuit [Two Days, One Night] [2014]

“You mustn’t cry” Leave it to Marion Cotillard to take an otherwise workmanlike film and make it into a must-see. On the surface Deux jours, une nuit [Two Days, One Night] is simply a series of emotionally reactive moments responding to a decision unfairly placed on the shoulders of blue-collar employees at the local solar […]

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REVIEW: Foxcatcher [2014]

“John du Pont is … kind of a mentor to me” Now here’s a film with immaculate construction in production design, sound design, acting, and direction. The only thing Foxcatcher lacks is the breathing room to stand as a cohesive whole worthy of the talent pouring its heart and soul in. The story of John […]

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REVIEW: Nymphomaniac: Vol. II [2014]

“I’m a virgin. I’m innocent.” I had heard there was a drop off in quality with Nymphomaniac: Vol. II compared to the first half, but I wasn’t quite prepared for how far. A much crueler portion of the tale, the second part of Lars von Trier‘s sex epic is also more outlandish as new characters […]

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REVIEW: Nymphomaniac: Vol. I [2014]

“Mea Vulva. Mea Maxima Vulva.” I don’t intend it to be a smirk at those who think otherwise, but Lars von Trier‘s Nymphomaniac: Vol. I is much tamer than I expected. I’m not sure why I thought it would simply be gratuitous sex from start to finish—I guess I let the hype surrounding it taint […]

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REVIEW: Top Five [2014]

“What did the room smell like?” I’m prefacing this review with an admission anyone who reads my thoughts already knows: I think Chris Rock is a pretty terrible actor. Love the guy’s stand-up, find him hilarious in real life and on paper, but stick him in a movie and he almost looks scared. The only […]

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REVIEW: Blue Ruin [2014]

“I don’t think he did” The fact Jeremy Saulnier‘s Blue Ruin came together because of a $35,000 Kickstarter only proves how viable crowdsourcing is for cool, effective art to get made for mass consumption. It’s a down and dirty revenge flick written, directed, and lensed by one man who along with his production team maxed […]

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REVIEW: Wild [2014]

“Cold mush dreams” The cinematic adaptation of Cheryl Strayed‘s memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail seems to be getting pigeonholed hard as being solely a tale of female empowerment. It most definitely is, but I’m not sure critics should necessarily call it a day with such a generic categorization. There’s […]

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REVIEW: The Guest [2014]

“Don’t feel bad” With my enjoyment of You’re Next and resounding positivity on the internet concerning its follow-up, I was excited to finally sit down and watch director Adam Wingard and writer Simon Barrett‘s latest genre hybrid The Guest. Whether this fact tainted my overall enjoyment is a toss up, but it’s not like I […]

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REVIEW: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb [2014]

“They’ll burn up like tiny scarabs in Sinai” It appears director Shawn Levy and new screenwriters David Guion and Michael Handelman have thrown the jokey nature of Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant‘s Battle of the Smithsonian away to bring the Night at the Museum series back to what first made it a success. Secret […]

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REVIEW: The Gambler [2014]

“I think you’re the kind of guy who likes to lose” I was very surprised to see James Toback‘s name as Executive Producer on The Gambler remake after reading a 2011 editorial explaining how he found out about the project secondhand after it was already announced that William Monahan was adapting his original script for […]