• hatefuleight01

    REVIEW: The Hateful Eight [2015]

    “Well I’ll be double-dog damned” It appears Quentin Tarantino has decided to go back to his roots by making his eighth feature film The Hateful Eight in the same vein as his debut Reservoir Dogs—namely keeping sets and actors to the bare minimum for added tension without room for escape. The maneuver couldn’t have come […]

  • starwars701

    REVIEW: Star Wars: The Force Awakens [2015]

    “There’s still light inside of him” First thing’s first: there’s probably spoilers in this review. Because let’s face it, anything besides me plainly stating that I loved it is construed as a spoiler to a fandom as intense as that of George Lucas‘ Star Wars saga. Will I go into lineages and deaths? No. Does […]

  • ofcs-ballot2015

    Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2015

    Below is my December 12th ballot for the 19th annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2015 calendar year. Group winners are highlighted in red. Best Picture #1Inside Out. #2Carol. #3Spotlight. #4Ex Machina. #5Mad MaxFury Road #6Brooklyn #7The Revenant #8Room #9The Martian #10Sicario Best Animated Film […]

  • 45years01

    REVIEW: 45 Years [2015]

    “She’d look like she was from 1962 and I look like this” Half a century is a long time—enough to believe you know everything about the person you’ve spent it with lovingly and happily. But what do we really know? What was he/she like before you met and what shaped them into the person you […]

  • revenant01

    REVIEW: The Revenant [2015]

    “As long as you can still grab a breath … you fight” If we’re to go by the setting of Michael Punke‘s novel The Revenant on which Mark L. Smith based his script—director Alejandro González Iñárritu gets a co-writing credit after coming onboard—the year is 1822 and the Central American frontier is loaded with fur […]



film reviews

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REVIEW: Dope [2015]

“Congratulations. You have found your iPhone.” Malcolm Adekanbi (Shameik Moore) is a geek. You don’t even need the opening line of Rick Famuyiwa‘s Inglewood-set high school adventure Dope to state as much once we meet him. A self-proclaimed “oreo” with straight-As, constant beat-downs by Bloods-member Bug (Keith Stanfield), and Harvard aspirations his guidance counselor (Bruce […]

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REVIEW: She’s Lost Control [2015]

“Yes, you pay me for my time. But you can’t control how I feel.” Ronah (Brooke Bloom) may be working as a sexual surrogate to help people and complete her masters in behavioral psychology, but it isn’t long into She’s Lost Control to realize the title’s sentiments. It’s as though she has decided to retreat […]

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REVIEW: Listen to Me Marlon [2015]

“Get people to stop chewing” The above line pertaining to audiences and their popcorn is but one gem of many spoken by acting legend Marlon Brando into a tape recorder. Others—original or quoted—like, “Life’s but a walking shadow,” “You are the memories,” or “Acting is surviving,” each provide a glimpse into his introspection and warring […]

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REVIEW: Experimenter [2015]

“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards” As Peter Sarsgaard‘s Stanley Milgram posthumously states at the conclusion of Michael Almereyda‘s Experimenter, his work compiled in Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View continues to come up in conversation whenever a new atrocity occurs in the news. Milgram’s impetus, as explained in […]

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REVIEW: I Smile Back [2015]

“Then why bother loving anything?” I’ve never been a huge fan of Sarah Silverman as an actress. As a comedian, though, she’s great. It’s the same thing with Chris Rock: the dude kills it on stage, but on a movie set there’s definitely something lacking. To me it just goes to show what many people […]

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REVIEW: Le meraviglie [The Wonders] [2014]

“When he’s not here we can breathe, right?” The running joke throughout Alice Rohrwacher’s Le meraviglie [The Wonders] is that eldest daughter Gelsomina (Maria Alexandra Lingu) is in charge of the family. It’s a cutely simple way in which parents Wolfgang (Sam Louwyck) and Angelica (Alba Rohrwacher) can disarm outsiders threatening their livelihood. The family […]

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REVIEW: Shelter [2015]

“The objective is forgiveness” It’s quite comforting to see actors-turned-directors not shying away from tough subject matter. You’d almost assume they would amidst stereotypes of celebrity vanity driving them to worry about losing audience appeal. Looking at a guy like Ben Affleck leveraging a fledging acting career destroyed by bad mainstream choices into a critically […]

33a

REVIEW: The 33 [2015]

“Aim to miss” As if being the international feel-good story of 2010 wasn’t enough, the Copiapó mining accident at the San José copper/gold mine in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile included the type of personal, human melodramatic intrigue ripe for cinematic interpretation. Sourced from Hector Tobar‘s non-fiction novel Deep Down Dark (commissioned with each […]

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REVIEW: The Overnight [2015]

“Give me twenty minutes and I will give you parental bliss” Writer/director Patrick Brice touches on many relationship aspects beyond attraction with his outrageous sex comedy The Overnight. Most work of this ilk push two couples with differing levels of strife together to see what comes out—swinging, uncoupling, cheating, etc. Brice instead introduces two pairs […]

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REVIEW: Love & Mercy [2015]

“Lonely scared frightened” The best part of a Rock and Roll Music History class that I took in college was learning just how influential The Beach Boys were to music at large. I knew the songs and enjoyed them, but how could surfer pop be held in the same regard as The Beatles? It didn’t […]

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REVIEW: Theeb [2015]

“No bullets until you aim straight” The constant throughout Naji Abu Nowar‘s debut feature is the underestimation of its titular Theeb (Jacir Eid Al-Hwietat). This isn’t unwarranted considering his age and the Bedouin lifestyle he inhabits, but it’s still a dangerous proposition with a name that translates to “Wolf” and the blood of the highly […]

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REVIEW: Alice in den Städten [Alice in the Cities] [1974]

“The picture never shows what it seems” After directing three films he didn’t believe possessed a voice all his own, number four became Wim Wenders‘ make-it-or-break-it moment as far as whether to keep moving forward with cinema or to choose another path. Considering he’s still working today, we know the commercial and personal success Alice […]

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REVIEW: Les plages d’Agnès [The Beaches of Agnès] [2008]

“I feel pain everywhere” I think it should be a new rule that documentaries about filmmakers can only be made if the subject him/herself directs. How could you not want this enforced after watching Agnès Varda‘s Les plages d’Agnès [The Beaches of Agnès]? It surely helps that the Frenchwoman is candid, funny, and fearless when […]

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REVIEW: Spectre [2015]

“You’re a kite dancing in a hurricane, Mr. Bond” Remember that badass organization known as Quantum the deliciously vile Mr. White (Jesper Christensen) ran to terrorize James Bond (Daniel Craig) for two films? How about rogue former 00-program pledge Silva (Javier Bardem) wreaking havoc throughout London due a personal vendetta against MI6? They both made […]

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REVIEW: The Martian [2015]

“Mars will come to fear my botany powers” Sometimes we need a good old-fashioned feel good tale that doesn’t talk down to us for smiles to unabashedly form at the movies. Ridley Scott‘s The Martian provides exactly that. You have a healthy dose of infectious humor, life and death suspense, space exploration to an uncharted […]