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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 […]

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    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 […]

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    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

REVIEW: Animal Kingdom [2010]

“Crooks always come undone” The new, critically acclaimed Australian film Animal Kingdom debuted earlier this year at Sundance to rave reviews before it even opened in its native country. Finally, eight months later, the rest of North America is able to check out this brutal crime drama for themselves in select cities too. And they […]

FILM MARATHON: Terrence Malick #2 – Days of Heaven [1978]

“But if you’ve been bad, God don’t even hear you. He don’t even hear ya talkin’.” Overwhelmed. The tagline got it right—every sense, by the end of Days of Heaven, will be overwhelmed. Terrence Malick’s second feature film is as breathtaking as you’ve heard, mesmerizing you with its sumptuous beauty until the hellish climax burns […]

REVIEW: Going the Distance [2010]

“Dan, take me to Berlin” Acclaimed director—and Buffalo, NY native—Nanette Burstein has finally made her way to the world of fictional film. After helming the documentary The Kid Stays in the Picture about producer Robert Evans, one could say she took a step towards narrative with American Teen, a real-life look into today’s high schools […]

REVIEW: Takers [2010]

“There goes Channel 14 … going the wrong way” Shot at the end of 2008 with promotional materials cropping up during the following year, the only fathomable reason I can think for the film Takers being released in the second half of 2010 is actor/producer Chris Brown’s extra-curricular activities. Honestly, besides the uninspired poster residing […]

REVIEW: Shall We Dance [1937]

“The first time I’m in love, I’m in love with you” They just don’t make movies like this anymore and there definitely isn’t a comparable screen duo working today. Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers collaborated on an astounding ten films together; most described jokingly by my friends as having the same plot and being mere […]

REVIEW: Centurion [2010]

“A man without his word is no better than a beast” Writer/director Neil Marshall has style and hopefully will continue to bring it forth on cinema screens for years to come, if he decides to travel back to America or not. Many lesser auteurs would have taken that Hollywood payday and looked for another to […]

REVIEW: Ra Ra Riot’s The Orchard [2010]

“Enjoying the expansive views of the countryside Mennonite community” Tuesday, August 24, 2010 marks the drop date for Ra Ra Riot’s sophomore release The Orchard. Accompanying Special Edition copies of the disc, available at Barsuk Records, is a making of documentary short by directors Taryn Gould and Emily Kowalczyk. Deciding to self-produce the disc without […]

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FILM MARATHON: Terrence Malick #1 – Badlands [1973]

“He said that if the Devil came at me, I could shoot him with a gun” A character at the end of Terrence Malick’s debut feature film Badlands tells antihero Kit that he is “quite the individual”. This could be the understatement of 1973. Based on the 1950s Starkweather-Fugate killing spree, the film tells the […]

REVIEW: Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang [Nanny McPhee Returns] [2010]

“Yes poo man, we’ve come from far, far away in the land of soap” I must say I’m disappointed in Emma Thompson. I could understand her desire to write and star in an adaptation of Nurse Matilda—perhaps a childhood favorite of hers or her children—but her new incarnation of the wart-faced, bucktoothed taskmaster, Nanny McPhee […]

REVIEW: Flipped [2010]

“Something in those dazzling eyes” Not until a few hours before checking out a screening of Rob Reiner’s new film Flipped did I know it was based on an award-winning young adult novel by celebrated author Wendelin Van Draanen. The title has double meaning with both the idea of ‘flipping’ over someone the way young […]

REVIEW: The Expendables [2010]

“I woulda win” When a summer movie season can be described as disappointing and have it be an understatement, nothing says popcorn blockbuster better than a big budget action flick. 2010 never quite had anything to fit the bill, but that wasn’t going to stop Sylvester Stallone from attempting to bring the masses something close. […]

REVIEW: Nanny McPhee [2005]

“I did knock” Based on the children’s stories of Nurse Matilda by Christianna Brand, the British film Nanny McPhee tries its best to grab hold of the magic ever-present in Disney’s Mary Poppins. Liberties are taken—the number of children is changed and the mother, alive in the novels, has passed on in the film—by Oscar-winning […]

REVIEW: Rope [2010]

“Rope, Suit, Park, Hang” The beauty of short films from the comfort of your home is the ability to rewatch them with ease. While I’d love to see everything in the confines of a darkened theatre, the image blown up to an overwhelming size so that the cinematography can engulf you, the under ten minute […]

REVIEW: Eat Pray Love [2010]

“Learn to believe in love again” The title says it all—Eat Pray Love—a mantra being adopted by women across the globe. I can understand the memoir’s appeal, in a want and desire to achieve an idyllic life and the balance/calm/forgiveness needed to find it, but Elizabeth Gilbert’s tale is a very personal journey. This isn’t […]

REVIEW: The Kids Are All Right [2010]

“And then, ya know, my tongue started working again …” You can call writer/director Lisa Cholodenko’s new movie The Kids Are All Right a look into the world of a lesbian-raised family and you’d be correct. But it is so much more than just an exercise on showing the expansive definition of ‘nuclear family’. All […]