• mommy01

    REVIEW: Mommy [2014]




    “A mother doesn’t wake up one morning not loving her son” If I can be justified in agreeing with all the praise after seeing just one of his films—his latest, Cannes Jury Prize-winning Mommy—twenty-five year old writer/director Xavier Dolan is every bit the wunderkind label that has been thrust upon him. Five films in six […]

  • observance01

    FANTASIA15 REVIEW: Observance [2015]




    “Just watch and report back” You know you’ve seen something special when your only thought upon completion is whether to watch again or scour the internet for possible interpretations. This is what Joseph Sims-Dennett‘s Observance did for me. A horror/suspense filled to the brim with atmosphere and mood, its tension gradually rises like the dark […]

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    INTERVIEW: Olivier Nakache, cowriter/codirector of Samba




    Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano‘s (shown above at middle and right with Omar Sy) Intouchables was France’s Oscar hopeful in 2012 and did make the January shortlist. An infectious crowd-pleaser based on a true story, it vaulted Sy into stardom with a César win over The Artist‘s Jean Dujardin and ultimately co-staring roles in Hollywood […]

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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 […]



film reviews

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REVIEW: Big Eyes [2014]




“I’m just a Sunday painter” It’s a paint-off. Literally. Will the winner be the charismatic salesman peddling his wife’s art as his own or the soft-spoken woman slaving away in a turpentine-filled room that’s been dominated and belittled into allowing him to do so? Who will earn the right to say they were the creators […]

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REVIEW: Everly [2015]




“That’s a lot of dead whores” The best part of Everly is the realization that smartasses the world over deeming it worthy of cult status will soon begin a trend of calling it a Christmas film. Social media couldn’t help itself last December with overused jokes about readying to watch Die Hard or Gremlins to […]

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REVIEW: The Bigger Picture [2014]




“Now all I think about is death” For once publicity jargon—namely “The Bigger Picture is quite simply the most innovative animated short you will see this year”—is backed up because this Oscar-nominated short is a stunning feat of mixed media animation. The subject matter is a downer considering it deals with two grown brothers one […]

singlelife

REVIEW: A Single Life [2014]




This film is delightful. Not only does it have a catchy titular song playing throughout (a Happy Camper ditty featuring Pien Feith), but A Single Life also possesses a wonderfully simple premise in order for its paltry two-minute runtime to deliver so much more than you would expect. Enter a solitary woman readying for an […]

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REVIEW: Cake [2014]




“Forgive me” It may not be the best film utilizing its melancholic subject matter, but Cake is not as bad as the critical sphere appears to want us to believe. The credit for this goes to screenwriter Patrick Tobin for distilling his character’s grief, depression, and malaise into a precisely calculated 102-minute rebirth. We receive […]

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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 […]

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REVIEW: The Librarian: The Curse of the Judas Chalice [2008]




“We do not profit from the artifacts!” It took two movies with potential for The Librarian franchise to finally deliver on the promise of its premise. Even though The Curse of the Judas Chalice is the most “TV-like” of the trilogy, it also possesses the best example of both its layer of educational value and […]

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REVIEW: The Librarian: Return to King Solomon’s Mines [2006]




“In case of hippos” Well, The Librarian: Quest for the Spear must have been a big hit for TNT because its sequel received a much bigger budget. There are still many instances of poor CGI in Return to King Solomon’s Mines, but the majority of the piece is at least shot on location rather than […]

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REVIEW: The Librarian: Quest for the Spear [2004]




“I should’ve known he was evil. He gave me an A-minus.” With my exposure to Noah Wyle being limited to his role in “Falling Skies”, I can’t necessarily be blamed for assuming his character in The Librarian: Quest for the Spear would be a similar Tom Mason type. After all, both men prove to be […]

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REVIEW: Still Life [2015]




“It’s not too late” Oscar nominated producer (for The Full Monty) Uberto Pasolini‘s second film as writer/director isn’t easily categorized. Aptly labeled with the hybridized compromise “dramedy,” distributor Tribeca Films for some reason has attempted to also pitch it as a bit of a romance with both their current trailer and synopsis. This is a […]

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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 […]