REVIEW: Sicario: Day of the Soldado [2018]

“Not ‘they’” There’s a reason for Emily Blunt‘s character Kate in Sicario. She’s the last vestige of law and order on the frontlines of a war that relinquished both long ago. Her FBI Agent believed in what she was doing and felt she could make a difference in the field to combat the drugs, bodies, and weapons spilling over the US/Mexican border courtesy of the cartels. So when two “DoD consultants” came calling to recruit her for a covert mission targeting someone of value at the top of the food…

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REVIEW: Star Wars: The Last Jedi [2017]

“No one is ever really gone” If you ever saw a kids show during the Aughts you’ll be familiar with the educational tactic of repeating a message over and over again throughout an episode before repeating that episode each day of the entire week. This was a huge component of “Blue’s Clues” because it was proven to work. There’s no better way to ingrain a theme than by hammering it in until the viewer can no longer ignore it if he/she tried. But while this is an appropriate technique for…

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Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2015

Below is my December 12th ballot for the 19th annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2015 calendar year. Group winners are highlighted in red. Best Picture #1 Inside Out . #2 Carol . #3 Spotlight . #4 Ex Machina . #5 Mad Max Fury Road #6 Brooklyn #7 The Revenant #8 Room #9 The Martian #10 Sicario Best Animated Film #1 Inside Out . #2 Shaun the Sheep Movie #3 Anomalisa . #4 The Peanuts Movie #5 The Good Dinosaur…

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REVIEW: Sicario [2015]

“For now let’s just keep an eye on the time” There should be no illusions that Denis Villeneuve‘s Sicario will deliver a story we haven’t seen before. Any action thriller set at the Mexican border between El Paso and Juarez is bringing heavy artillery, copious drugs, and amoral warlords on both sides of the fence/law. First-time screenwriter Taylor Sheridan of “Sons of Anarchy” fame knows this and therefore decides to place a slightly different spin on the proceedings. Rather than watch from the vantage point of those looking to deal…

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REVIEW: Buffalo ’66 [1998]

“Just look like we are a married couple … spanning time” In 2004 Christina Ricci was quoted in Time Out magazine as saying, “Buffalo ’66 was the most beautiful example of self-absorption I’ve ever seen in my life.” She’s not wrong. Even if she had a good experience on set and didn’t loathe writer/director/star Vincent Gallo like most involved on the film, she’d still not be wrong. Gallo’s character Billy Brown is the epitome of self-centered aggression mixed with an absolute lack of self-esteem—a description that describes Buffalo, NY in…

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REVIEW: Guardians of the Galaxy [2014]

“I don’t learn” It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the best Marvel film to date would be one without a single recognizable character to anyone not already a fan. Guardians of the Galaxy has been around since 1969, but it’s the 2008 iteration by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning which struck the studio’s fancy as far as opening their cinematic universe wide open. There’s still a tenuous connection to Earth with the group’s default leader being a human snatched as a child by a Ravager ship, yet this detail…

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REVIEW: Star Trek Into Darkness [2013]

“Bones, get that thing off my face” Director J.J. Abrams’ reboot of Star Trek four years ago was a refreshing, original take on a world possessed by countless offshoots because screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman used its science fiction genre to both retain and destroy existing mythology. A red matter black hole sending the Romulan Captain Nero back through time allowed their new universe to stand on its own as a parallel reality to the original show’s rather than forever remaining in its shadow. Orci and Kurtzman impossibly crafted…

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REVIEW: Snatch [2000]

“What do I know about diamonds?” Hot on the heels of his debut Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Guy Ritchie‘s sophomore effort Snatch proved to be the one to cement his name into American audiences’ consciousness. A second collaboration with soon-to-be action superstar Jason Statham, the heist flick is a hilarious romp of brutally violent men propelling itself forward through quick cuts and narrative coincidence/overlapping as illegal boxing matches meet faux Jewish jewelers on the hunt for a giant diamond of which everyone wants a piece. Yes, Statham’s fight…

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REVIEW: Savages [2012]

“Money’s not enough. You’ve got to give your heart.” Who’s crueler: a vicious Mexican cartel decapitating men to send a message or a couple Laguna boys willing to do whatever it takes to protect the emotionally damaged girlfriend they share? Being a trick question, the answer is yes. Plain and simply, humanity has forever been plagued by the capacity for evil since the dawn of time, whether a monkey discovering the blunt force trauma capability of a stick or Eve biting that gosh darned apple in Paradise. We yearn for…

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Posterized Propaganda April 2012: Where Art and Commerce Meet

“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. There’s a good mix of work coming out in April and the posters do well to mirror such. I’m not quite sure how Chris Sparling could have his script for…

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The 82nd Oscars recap through tweets …

@jaredmobarak • NPH in sequins … i guess that’s something … The 82nd Annual Oscars ceremony begins, yet the hosts are nowhere to be found. Have we gotten to the point now where we need a lead-in for the most assuredly lame/very PC stand-up routine? We need to get the ball rolling for the ball that gets the show rolling? And they wonder why it always goes over its allotted timeslot. So, not only do we have to be introduced to all the lead acting nominees—because anyone watching doesn’t know…

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