• 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 […]

  • 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: […]



film reviews

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REVIEW: Turist [Force Majeure] [2014]

“You can’t run in snow boots?” Very rarely does an international name change occur for the better, but few titles are more perfect for their respective film than Force Majeure. The original Swedish moniker was Turist, a succinct and appropriate label considering the entire piece portrays a family’s five-day ski vacation in French Alps. Force […]

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REVIEW: Maps to the Stars [2014]

“… Liberty” There are many versions of Hollywood I would never wish to live within—including the real one—but it appears those crafted by Bruce Wagner might be the most nightmarishly hedonistic, vile, and depressingly pathetic. A man who grew up in Los Angeles via Wisconsin and probably experienced many of the selfish acts of depravity […]

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REVIEW: Fury [2014]

“Are you saved?” I can relate when people look at David Ayer‘s Fury and shake their heads saying, “We get it. War is brutal.” I can because I remember sitting down to watch The Reader in 2008 only to think how completely over Holocaust movies I was that year. I believe I saw four or […]

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REVIEW: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) [2014]

“The truth is always interesting” It’s true what the film’s Times‘ theater critic (Lindsay Duncan) says: an artist should bleed for his craft. Physically, spiritually, metaphorically—blood must be spilt so the world knows he was here, selflessly (selfishly?) making us laugh, cry, and reflect on lives well lived and squandered. This is why those who […]

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REVIEW: The Book of Life [2014]

“Always play from the heart” I’ve held fascination for Día de Muertos ever since seventh grade Spanish class. There’s just something about its love for the dead and ability to turn something scary to so many into this beautiful cultural tradition that makes its juxtaposition of old bones and ornate artistry a uniquely special aesthetic. […]

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REVIEW: Big Hero 6 [2014]

“One a scale of 1 to 10: how would you rate your pain?” Many parents aren’t going to allow their young children to watch Marvel Cinematic Universe films—they skew older with dark underlying themes and comic book violence that leaves beloved characters dead. So while Disney’s purchase of Marvel gave them boundless raw material to […]

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REVIEW: Feast [2014]

“Wait” Just when you thought the generic American tale of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets married, and boy and girl have children was officially exhausted, Disney finds a way to tell it from a fresh perspective: the dog. This is the gimmick behind the studio’s newest, almost completely silent, short film Feast—the […]

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REVIEW: Gone with the Wind [1939]

“All we’ve got is cotton and slaves and … arrogance” For years I’ve thought Gone with the Wind some grand, epic romance. How else could anyone take its smoldering poster of Clark Gable ready to ravish Vivien Leigh as her dress falls helplessly from her shoulders? This advert proves as manipulative as the woman positioned […]

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REVIEW: Pride [2014]

“Oh good. I haven’t spoken 1950s in ages.” If you’re going to make a film with a sprawling ensemble of characters equally unique and important to the point where your only true lead is a message of solidarity and comradery itself, it’s a good move to look towards the theater. Pride is the screenwriting debut […]

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REVIEW: John Wick [2014]

“I’d like a dinner reservation for twelve” If ever there was a film you truly cannot judge by its cover, John Wick is it. We’re talking an action flick about a retired assassin played with stoic Zen by Keanu Reeves (the titular Wick) going on a killing spree against Viggo Tarasov’s (Michael Nyqvist) Russian mob […]

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REVIEW: God Help the Girl [2014]

“Find the face behind the voice” Utilizing the creed “go big or go home”, Belle & Sebastian lead singer/songwriter Stuart Murdoch definitely didn’t seek to simply dabble in cinema when it came to his debut feature God Help the Girl. Beginning as a suite of songs written in the band’s downtime, he worked tirelessly to […]

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REVIEW: That Terrible Jazz [2014]

“I’m gonna kick up some dirt” A senior film student at the Art Institute of Philadelphia, Mike Falconi went noir for his thesis short That Terrible Jazz. The piece has an obvious affinity for past cinematic greats with hard-boiled dialogue, a stoic lead, and the missing persons mystery at its core, but his love for […]

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REVIEW: Hotel Chevalier [2007]

“I didn’t say you could come here” An unplanned prologue (to his producers) accompanying Wes Anderson‘s fifth film The Darjeeling Limited, Hotel Chevalier tells the story of Jack Whitman’s (Jason Schwartzman) complicated love. You could watch the feature without it and not lose much, but including it in the experience definitely adds something special like […]

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REVIEW: Tusen ganger god natt [1,000 Times Good Night] [2013]

“I’ve been waiting for that call since I met you” Being an embedded photojournalist is a concept I cannot quite wrap my head around. To willingly go into a war zone and risk your life to get a shot, not for plaudits, but to educate the world about atrocities we’d rather turn a blind eye […]

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REVIEW: Berenice [2014]

“I wanted it to hurt” One chapter from the horror anthology Creepers, Jeremiah Kipp‘s adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe‘s disturbing short story Berenice finds itself hindered by what I can only guess was a shoestring budget. A director who has excelled at creating stunning pitch-black tone with ambiguously delicious mystery in carefully composed thrillers, this […]