• mostviolentyear01

    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 […]

  • selma01

    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 […]

  • wild01

    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 […]

  • 2014topsongs

    Top 100 Songs of 2014

    #100: Coming Home by Kaiser Chiefs #98: Gust of Wind by Pharrell Williams #96: Friday Fish Fry by Kelis #94: It’s a Longer Road to California Than I Thought by The Wind and the Wave #92: Now by Joywave #90: Take My Place by Lily Allen #88: Are You Okay? by Dum Dum Girls #86: […]

  • imitationgame01

    REVIEW: The Imitation Game [2014]

    “Shall we leave the children alone with their new toy?” It’s highly unusual for me to get invested in a biography, so when one comes along that enthralls me as fully as The Imitation Game it’s difficult to know whether I’m simply overreacting. Director Morten Tyldum and screenwriter Graham Moore have done what so few […]



film reviews

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REVIEW: The Equalizer [2014]

“Change your world” It may be because I knew beforehand that Antoine Fuqua‘s The Equalizer was based on an old 80s TV show (from Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim), but it felt very episodic in a way that made it utterly boring. There’s that time Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) helps his coworker lose weight. That […]

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REVIEW: The Overnighters [2014]

“Just because you tough enough” The easiest thing I could say about The Overnighters is that director Jesse Moss got lucky. He looked to tell the story about a pastor doing God’s will against his congregation’s trepidation to house over a thousand strangers arrived in Williston, ND seeking employment within the area’s oil boom. Through […]

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REVIEW: Gone Girl [2014]

“Everything else is background noise” Director David Fincher‘s Gone Girl falls prey to the one thing that often prevents me from truly loving a cinematic adaptation of a novel—unquestionable faithfulness. Gillian Flynn does a wonderful job distilling her pulpy thriller into a fast-paced 149 minutes and Fincher stays true to the back and forth vantage […]

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REVIEW: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day [2014]

“His pox is your gain” I’m a little disappointed I never read Judith Viorst‘s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day because it seems exactly the type of book I would have read as a child. If you’ve had the pleasure (it was published in 1972) and wonder how a feature length […]

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REVIEW: In Da Street [2014]

“We’re two cops in the hood, man” For a crowdfunded French short shot in two days on only a $1,500 budget, In Da Street looks fantastic. This shouldn’t be surprising coming from writer/director Damien Kazan—a filmmaker whose last work Whisper was nothing if not an attractive visual poem. Building on that film’s stylistic construction, this […]

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REVIEW: The Zero Theorem [2014]

“Making sense of the good things in life” If the end were empty—as was the beginning—wouldn’t life be meaning in itself? Why do we constantly ask the question and seek its answer if so many believe our present existence is merely a stepping-stone towards eternity? If that’s truly the case one could label life as […]

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REVIEW: The Boxtrolls [2014]

“We’re exterminating justice!” If it didn’t take Laika so long to produce a feature film due to the meticulous process inherent with their stop-motion aesthetic, I have to believe they’d be as prolifically successful as Pixar. I might say I even like their sensibilities more because while they too deal with morality lessons every child […]

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REVIEW: Lilting [2014]

“Kissing is kissing” There’s no better title for Hong Khaou‘s feature debut than the one given: Lilting. It describes the pacing and aesthetic as guilt and grief intertwine with memory and reality fading together within a single camera pan for a joltingly emotive effect. It also illustrates each character’s cautious trepidation amidst tragedy and their […]

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REVIEW: The Maze Runner [2014]

“Wicked is good” There’s really no better way to start The Maze Runner than Wes Ball‘s opening. I’ve not read James Dasher‘s novels and probably knew less than the trailer foretold since it’s been so long since I last saw it. So watching the pitch-black screen stare at me while scrapping metal creaked until a […]

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REVIEW: Björk: Biophilia Live [2014]

“If you feel like dancing, don’t stop yourself” Icelandic musician Björk has always been somewhat uncategorizable with a career that’s uniquely evolved to the beat of her own electronic drum. There was the infamous swan dress, her critically acclaimed foray into acting for Lars von Trier‘s Dancer in the Dark, collaborations with cutting edge artists […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Beats of the Antonov [??]

“Laughter is like a new birth” Sudanese director Hajooj Kuka‘s documentary Beats of the Antonov is smartly constructed in a way that eases us into the political message and hope for peace lying underneath the music and laughter initially portrayed. Beginning with a look at the people residing in the Blue Nile and the Nuba […]

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REVIEW: This is Where I Leave You [2014]

“Secrets are cancer to a family” Get ready because I’m going to throw some hyperbole your way. Here it is: This Is Where I Leave You is Franny and Zooey meets The Big Chill. Now hold on a second and let me explain. Jonathan Tropper is not J.D. Salinger and Shawn Levy isn’t Lawrence Kasdan. […]

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REVIEW: Tusk [2014]

“I believe we’re all tea people” I want to dismiss Kevin Smith‘s second foray into horror as total bullshit. I really do. Not only was Tusk created on a lark because one of his and Scott Mosier‘s internet Smodcasts recorded them discussing a crazy Gumtree ad offering a room for rent if the lodger agreed […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: The Riot Club [2014]

“People like us don’t make mistakes” I’ll bet Laura Wade’s 2010 play Posh is something special to see on stage. A fictionalized take on Oxford University’s exclusive Bullingdon Club—sons of wealthy Brits who attended the best boarding/prep schools before following in their patriarchy’s footsteps to enjoy vandalizing college rooms as an initiation ploy and restaurants […]

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Loin des hommes [Far From Men] [2015]

“I’m not taking you anywhere. Tomorrow you’re leaving.” Writer/director David Oelhoffen has a special film on his hands because its powerful tale begs audience members to learn more about the subject. I’m not talking about the fictional character of Daru (Viggo Mortensen) secluding himself in the mountains to teach young Arab children how to read […]