REVIEW: American Woman [2019]

We just want to find her and bring her home. If you want to get an idea about what to expect from Jake Scott‘s American Woman, look no further than a scene between Sienna Miller and Amy Madigan at the halfway mark. The former is Debra, a woman who must ultimately cope with the disappearance of the daughter (Sky Ferreira‘s Bridget) she gave birth to at sixteen while also refocusing her life to raise the grandson that’s been left behind. The latter plays her mother Peggy, a woman who cares…

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REVIEW: El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie [2019]

“Nothing beats cash on-hand” Obviously contains “Breaking Bad” spoilers. I’m neither alone in this thinking nor objectively correct, but “Better Call Saul” is superior to its predecessor “Breaking Bad”. I didn’t even really get into the latter until the season three finale and even then it was tough to stay invested in its cast of monsters doing monstrous things to each other ad nauseam. I say that because they used to be good people—or at least innocent of murder. The intrigue was therefore rooted in how deep they’d fall. Since…

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REVIEW: The 9th Life of Louis Drax [2016]

“More than all the fish in the sea” Ten years after Anthony Minghella optioned Liz Jensen‘s The 9th Life of Louis Drax to develop cinematically, it was his son Max who saw it begin production. The younger Minghella’s first credited screenplay, probably brought to director Alexandre Aja on set of their previous collaboration Horns, it would ultimately take another two for the finished film’s release. If I were to wager a guess as to why I’d say the distributors found themselves painted in a corner unable to figure out how…

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REVIEW: Fathers and Daughters [2015]

“I have very self-destructive tendencies” The works of director Gabriele Muccino aren’t for everyone. I can’t speak on his Italian films, but the American ones are unavoidably cloying and sentimental in a way that must be accepted or ignored to find resonance. Despite being the one showered with praise, The Pursuit of Happyness didn’t quite do enough for me. I appreciated the story and performances, but felt the artifice. For Seven Pounds, however, I didn’t care. The entire film proved one giant manipulative contrivance yet it unexpectedly hit me with…

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REVIEW: Eye in the Sky [2016]

“Never tell a soldier he doesn’t know the cost of war” How do you simultaneously become hero and martyr in twenty-first century warfare? You find yourself unwittingly lodged within the kill zone of a high value target that has been confirmed without a shadow of a doubt. Death or injury earns you both labels for your people. To die as collateral damage is to potentially radicalize more and more jihadists who may or may not prove more volatile than the ones murdered in the incident. But when actual terrorists who…

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REVIEW: Triple 9 [2016]

“Better him than me” No matter how exciting it is to see a film with the cast John Hillcoat assembled on Triple 9, the old adage “less is more” still stands. The issue with having so many “main characters” is that they all end up becoming periphery players. And if one does rise above the rest, you wonder why so much happens that doesn’t concern him/her. This is where Matt Cook‘s 2010 Blacklist script falls into trouble: Casey Affleck‘s Chris Allen is our lead and yet he’s basically a pawn…

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VIDEO: “Barely Legal Pawn”

“Cable money, though” A partial ad for Audi—in the way that Jerry Seinfeld‘s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” is for Acura (product placement)—and full viral promotion for the 2014 Primetime Emmys, former award-winners Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus have some fun spoofing “Pawn Stars”. “Barely Legal Pawn” is a comedic treat for all involved with the “Breaking Bad” co-stars going full white trash and the “Veep” star straight man. Complete with a few barbs volleyed at each other as far as acting diffculity in their respective programs—and at…

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REVIEW: Hellion [2014]

“I will take responsibility for my actions and the consequences of those actions” The first real stunner of 2014 not from A24 has arrived with Kat Candler‘s heart-wrenching drama Hellion. Much like last year’s Short Term 12, this is a feature length film expanded from an already produced short that depicts troubled kids and the equally troubled adults tasked with providing stability in an unstable world. Anchored by an amazing cast who give their all to conjure emotionally-draining performances you won’t soon forget, each character is set onto a path…

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Posterized Propaganda June 2014: ‘Snowpiercer,’ ‘The Rover,’ ‘Venus in Fur’ & More

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. It’s no surprise a month like June doesn’t possess the best posters for blockbuster releases. No one readying to visit a theater for summer popcorn carnage cares if the advertisement…

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Posterized Propaganda March 2014: ‘Noah’, ‘Nymphomaniac,’ ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel,’ ‘Enemy’ & More

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. Has summer started early? Big blockbusters like Divergent, Noah, 300: Rise of an Empire, and Need for Speed are releasing in March—I guess they must therefore be the studios’ lesser…

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REVIEW: The Last House on the Left [2009]

“Always go for the gold” I don’t usually get disgusted or squeamish when it comes to horror and gore, but after viewing The Last House on the Left remake, one of the many old Wes Craven films getting reworked, I have to admit, it was pretty harrowing. Does making me tense up and await some scenes’ conclusions make it an effective suspense/thriller? I’m not so sure. The plotline is thin, the result obvious, so as far as what will happen, there is very little question or anticipation. That being said,…

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