Top Ten Films of 2013: A year in cinema to write home about

2013 has been a banner year for cinema with a slew of quality pictures that makes you wonder how only nine got enough first place votes to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. Most of my favorites could have filled that elusive tenth spot for some added acclaim—whether having a chance to win or not. I hadn’t even seen a good chunk of these until the calendar flipped to 2014, the sheer amount of winners was too vast. And after only awarding three films a 10/10 rating last year,…

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REVIEW: Le passé [The Past] [2013]

“Some things can’t be forgiven” If A Separation didn’t cause writer/director Asghar Farhadi to be revered as an auteur who understood domestic strife and illness’ lasting effect on those left to pick up the pieces, you better believe he is now. Switching to France for Le passé [The Past], the filmmaker brings us into an interesting clash of worlds for Iranian Ahmad (Ali Mosaffa) returning after four years of estrangement from soon-to-be ex-wife Marie (Bérénice Bejo). This pairing of ethnicities underlies the action, especially with prospective fiancé Samir (Tahar Rahim)…

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The 84th Oscars recap through tweets …

@jaredmobarak • Shut up Ryan Seacrest … Like the studio isn’t going to reimburse you. Cry about it #Oscars12 And with a little Bisquick, the 84th Annual Academy Awards show began before the camera even entered the Kodak “Chapter 11” Theatre. The is he or isn’t he banned from the show star of The Dictator, Sacha Baron Cohen, did what he does best by getting interviewed in character and causing a scene. Ryan Seacrest appeared to be enjoying the joke of it all and remained quite amiable until the comedian…

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Top Ten Films of 2011: Melancholy with a slice of hope

If anyone tells you 2011 was a bad year for cinema, stop in your tracks, turn around and walk away without ever looking back. They have no idea what they’re talking about. With a wealth of quality films from bonafide auteurs devoid of source material, the sheer amount of original work is astonishing. The trend for remakes will most likely never end, but it’s good to know artists in and out of the Hollywood system are fearlessly treading their own path to make movies exciting again. And by exciting I…

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Top 25 Films of 2011

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 150 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #25: Win Win directed by Thomas McCarthy #24: The Adjustment Bureau directed by George Nolfi #23: Super 8 directed by J.J. Abrams #22: Source Code directed by Duncan Jones #21: Weekend directed by Andrew Haigh #20: The Interrupters directed by Steve James #19: Contagion directed by Steven Soderbergh. #18: Senna directed by Asif Kapadia. #17: Santiago 73, post mortem[Post Mortem] directed by…

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Picking Winners at the 84th Annual Academy Awards

For the next week and a half, Spree contributor William C. Altreuter, our online film reviewer Jared Mobarak, and me will share our thoughts on who will take home the Oscars. Let’s kick things off with … Best Supporting Actress. —C. S. BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:Bérénice Bejo – The Artist as Peppy MillerJessica Chastain – The Help as Celia FooteMelissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids as Megan PriceJanet McTeer – Albert Nobbs as Hubert PageOctavia Spencer – The Help as Minny Jackson Christopher Schobert: Bill, it seems like every time you and I tackle…

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REVIEW: جدایی نادر از سیمین [A Separation] [2011]

“I’m the judge and I’m saying your issue is small” If there has been one film from 2011 that appears to have found universal appeal throughout the world, its name would be جدایی نادر از سیمین [A Separation]. Found high on many critic’s top ten lists, my anticipation to finally experience its mysteries built up until I could finally take it no longer. Expectations like these never end up being a good practice, however, because the hope almost always ends up too large to meet. When the film’s credits rolled…

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