REVIEW: មុនដំបូងខ្មែរក្រហមសម្លាប់ប៉ារបស់ខ្ញុំ [First They Killed My Father] [2017]

“We no longer speak of rich or poor” As the Vietnam War raged, the neutral country of Cambodia was thrown into chaos. The United States was bombing the countryside to destroy as many Viet Cong-backed forces (Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge) possible while the military dictatorship they backed (Lon Nol’s Khmer Republic) ruled after a 1970 coup against the former Prince. But just as Saigon fell and the war came to a close, the Americans packed up and left. They abandoned the ruling party, ignored the destruction they wrought and the…

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REVIEW: Mr. & Mrs. Smith [2005]

“Right. Five or six years.” It was the aggressive nature of the stories told to screenwriter Simon Kinberg by friends in couples therapy that inspired Mr. & Mrs. Smith—his MFA thesis turned half billion dollar moneymaker at the box office. The leap from the tit for tat dynamic between bickering spouses to secret lives is hardly unique, but making those hidden existences equally successful assassin careers instead of extramarital affairs certainly was. Killers need to work through issues too, especially when the question of whether they married out of love…

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REVIEW: Gone in Sixty Seconds [2000]

“Two Rogers don’t make a right” There are more than a few unexpected things concerning the Gone in Sixty Seconds remake that surprised me. One was the huge cast of familiar faces. Another the full embracement of its spectacular levels of cheese. And despite marketing materials and especially the poster, Angelina Jolie is far from a second lead and barely onscreen thirty minutes. Heck, besides the botched heist at the beginning that sets the chain of events that brings Randall ‘Memphis’ Raines (Nicolas Cage) out of retirement in motion, we…

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REVIEW: Unbroken [2014]

“If you can take it you can make it” Universal Pictures has possessed the rights to Louie Zamperini’s life story since 1957 with good cause considering its scope spanning a troubled childhood, Olympic glory, and POW torture at the hands of the Japanese during WWII. Only when Laura Hillenbrand‘s mouthful of a book Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption came out in 2010 was traction finally found assumedly in large part due to her previous adaptation at the hands of Hollywood, Seabiscuit, earning seven Oscar…

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Toronto International Film Festival 2014 Preview

We may have two consistent film festivals here in town showcasing small releases and restored classics, but you might not realize how close we are to one of the biggest in the world. Most “in the know” will center on five events when thinking about the best of the best film festivals and while Venice, Cannes, and Berlin are an ocean away and Sundance is across the country, The Toronto International Film Festival is less than a two-hour drive via the QEW into Canada. Even better than proximity, though, is…

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Posterized Propaganda May 2014: ‘Godzilla’, ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2′, ‘Maleficent’ & 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. Is it officially Summer yet? Blockbuster poster campaigns for Spidey, Magneto, Godzilla, and Seth MacFarlane would lean towards yes. Buy your popcorn and candy now because we’ve got computer generated…

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The 86th Oscars recap through tweets …

Welcome to the 86th Annual Academy Awards everyone! If you didn’t watch the festivities that occurred Sunday night at the Dolby Theatre you are probably a lot better off than most of us because it was a very lackluster affair. We all hoped Ellen DeGeneres would bring a fun, smart, witty return to her success with the 79th installment, but the reality ended up being one of the most dull and safe presentations in quite some time. I guess it wasn’t all bad, though, considering the Academy actually got most…

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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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Posterized Propaganda December 2011: Numbers and Faces

“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. December is here and the posters are many. With studio releases being pumped through NY and LA during the holidays for award consideration, the number of films coming out this…

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Posterized Propaganda September 2011: Misfires countered by fearlessness

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact that 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. September is the start of the film festival season. Unsurprisingly, while Toronto, Venice, and New York debut the flicks we’ve been waiting all year to see, the box office…

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REVIEW: Kung Fu Panda 2 [2011]

“Tell those musicians to play some action music because it is on” The phrase sophomore slump wasn’t just coined out of the blue; it is a very real description for a good number of sequels overall, but especially the realm of cinema. Very few follow-ups to praised work ever earn a place to be mentioned beside their predecessors let alone become deemed a step above. And the attempt gets even harder when you’re dealing with animated children’s fare—the Toy Story films a grand exception—since most end up languishing in direct…

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