REVIEW: The Next Three Days [2010]

“Someone’s belief in virtue is more important than virtue itself” Director Paul Haggis is somewhat of an enigma with me. I like the guy, I’m not sure why, I just do. I was one of the ten fans who enjoyed “The Black Donnellys” and the first time I saw his Oscar-winning Crash at the theatres, I thought it was a masterpiece. He soon wrote two fantastic films in Million Dollar Baby and Casino Royale, but that success began to wane once time passed and I realized just how pandering and…

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REVIEW: Morning Glory [2010]

“The anchors of the show are, ah, difficult and … semi-talented” Director Roger Michell is a sleeper. Do you recognize the name? It rang a bell with me, but I couldn’t quite place where it was attached in the past. His newest work, Morning Glory, is much the same. All the promotional material used producer J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot shingle as selling points, leaving the director’s identity far in the distance as something of worthwhile mention. Also, if you ask five people on the street that have heard…

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REVIEW: Cedar Rapids [2011]

“You’re what I like to call a Richard. A Richard Head.” On paper, Cedar Rapids seems an odd choice for a Sundance Selection. With a star in Ed Helms at the center, a man enjoying continued success on “The Office” and breaking out in The Hangover, you think overdone Hollywood vehicle to cash in on some timely exposure. Just look at that poster with his too wide grin and airplane pillow that doubles for a life preserver on quick glance next to the title. But then you go deeper and…

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REVIEW: Hall Pass [2011]

“Anyone thinking chocolate chip cookie dough on a waffle cone?” It’s a shame that Peter and Bobby Ferrelly never realized their time had come and gone by 1998 with Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin, and There’s Something About Mary—you don’t get much better in the stupid comedy field than that trio. 2003 gave hope they might have found a way to balance their crude, crass, potty humor with comedy’s new, more subtle 21st century ways as Stuck on You was surprisingly good, but, alas, hope died. And now the brothers try…

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REVIEW: Scarface [1932]

“It’s Poppy, boss. I got a name!” When you hear the title Scarface, I’m sure the first thing that comes to your head is Al Pacino’s horrid Cuban accent turning the phrase, “Say, ‘ello to my little friend.” And while Oliver Stone’s adaptation of Armitage Trail’s novel depicting Al Capone’s rise to criminal infamy is an entertaining, over-the-top gangster flick, it’s really Ben Hecht’s screenplay—adapted and filmed by director Howard Hawks while Capone was still alive—that truly depicts the era and this larger-than-life monster’s reign. The gangster even caught wind…

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REVIEW: Unknown [2011]

“And that’s where I first saw Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man” I have it on good authority from a friend that Jaume Collet-Serra’s Unknown, as well as Didier van Cauwelaert’s French-language novel it’s based on, is uncannily similar to Roman Polanski’s Frantic. Unfortunately, to my chagrin, I have no opinion on the accusation, having not seen the 1988 film, but I’d lie if I didn’t admit my view of the new release is a bit tainted now. The premise of both are definitely eerily similar and my friend knows what he’s talking…

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REVIEW: Casablanca [1943]

“Kiss me. Kiss me as if it were the last time.” This is doubtfully a remark to make my case, but although I remembered very little about Casablanca from my first viewing years ago—besides Sam the piano player starting “As Time Goes By” at Ilsa’s request to procure Rick from the other room of his café—it really is one of the best films ever made. From Michael Curtiz’s direction, to Max Steiner’s score, to Arthur Edeson’s gorgeous black and white, to the cast’s ability to infuse humor into a very…

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REVIEW: Le roi de coeur [King of Hearts] [1966]

“The mackerel likes frying” When you have a war film that doesn’t actually show battle or that makes light of the whole concept altogether, it generally means the filmmakers have some underlying commentary to report. The best way to push such motives is through comedy/satire, playing on the tropes of morality and mortality with humor. Philippe de Broca’s Le roi de coeur [King of Hearts], written by Daniel Boulanger from an idea of Maurice Bessy, definitely has enough laughs to go around, but I’m not quite certain there is much…

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VIDEO: Atomic Tom Music Video for Take Me Home Tonight

I’ll admit, the more I see about the film Take Me Home Tonight, the more I want to see it. Atomic Tom came onto the scene with a music video/Apple promo on the NYC subway, played and shot live on iPhones, and now have covered “Don’t You Want Me” by The Human League. The video includes members of the film’s cast as they pay homage to a ton of classic 80s flicks. Good times are had by all, including us, the viewers. Courtesy of Relativity Media LLC: The 80’s are…

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REVIEW: Just Go With It [2011]

“Holy Devlin, you’re not listening to me” The past few years have had one mantra—avoid Happy Madison productions. I don’t think it would anger too many people to say that they general suck. It pains me to write it, but it’s the truth. I grew up on Billy Madison; I love The Wedding Singer; add in Big Daddy and you’ve got a pretty memorable trifecta of comedy. The funniest moment at my screening of Just Go with It even harkened back to the good ol’ days when a guy behind…

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Top Ten Films of 2010: Dark Fantasy Cinema

This list is accurate as of post-date. So many films and not enough time to see them all—141 seen is this year’s number—the potential for future change is inevitable, but as of today here are the best … I remember thinking around April that there hadn’t been a truly great film released yet. After summer came and went with little to cheer about, I feared 2010 would be a gigantic bust containing a ton of decent to good films, but only a handful of great ones. And then—like it seems…

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