REVIEW: Spy [2015]

“I’ve swallowed enough microchips and shit them back out again to make a computer” The Paul Feig/Melissa McCarthy train continues forward with James Bond spoof Spy after the box office successes of Bridesmaids and The Heat (with Ghostbusters still forthcoming). This installment sees McCarthy as the bona fide star, onscreen for practically the entire duration as CIA analyst turned field agent Susan Cooper. She’s been in the earpiece of top operative Bradley Fine (Jude Law) for so long that she’s probably saved his life more times than he’s killed people,…

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REVIEW: Tammy [2014]

“You wanna go ride a cow?” I like Melissa McCarthy and her trademarked hard-edged, scumbag persona in films. She’s often the best part of things that don’t work—Identity Thief—and those that do—Bridesmaids. So I’d love to blame someone else for how tired and frankly unfunny her latest Tammy is despite knowing I can’t. She co-wrote the road trip comedy with her husband Ben Falcone while he also directed. Maybe there was some interference courtesy of Adam McKay and Will Ferrell lending their shingle to the production, but I’d be surprised…

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INTERVIEW: Richard Ayoade, cowriter/director of The Double

I didn’t know who Richard Ayoade was until 2010 and boy was it the perfect time to find out. My introduction was courtesy of the brilliant British television show “The IT Crowd” and his fantastically drawn Maurice Moss. I had tried watching the show a couple years previously only to forget about it after the pilot. This time, however, I mainlined the first three series and eagerly awaited the fourth only to see co-star Chris O’Dowd journey to mainstream acclaim with Bridesmaids less than a year later. When would Ayoade’s…

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REVIEW: We’re the Millers [2013]

“That’s my credo, ‘No Ragrets’” An R-rated comedy shouldn’t possess a PG-rated heart. This is We’re the Millers’ main problem in my mind because while the profanity-laced adventure has a ton of laughs, one can’t help shake the feeling that it’s targeted to a 13-16 age group who won’t be allowed to buy a ticket. Overt sexual innuendo and f-bombs don’t make up for a lack of anything else that would render screenwriting teams Bob Fisher and Steve Faber or Sean Anders and John Morris to need an R for…

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REVIEW: The Heat [2013]

“She’s looking for my balls” The simple fact producers worried a film like The Heat wouldn’t find an audience because females don’t like action and males don’t like women leads is more a commentary on society’s absurd lack of faith in itself than it is on the industry. It’s 2013 and we haven’t yet looked past gender tropes to accept that universal thing called comedy underneath? Whether or not the movie is good shouldn’t take a backseat to the fear of alienating a group of people money managers treat as…

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REVIEW: Identity Thief [2013]

“Foxhole! The safe word is Foxhole!” The words “from the director of Horrible Bosses” instilled little hope for me sitting down to Seth Gordon‘s newest work Identity Thief. Screenwriter Craig Mazan‘s name—he of too many asinine spoofs—only made matters worse. No, this road comedy’s saving grace would have to be co-star Melissa McCarthy and the level of hysterics she has unfailingly brought since breaking out in Bridesmaids. The fact her role of Diana was rewritten specifically for her after original intentions called for a man shows how high her star…

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REVIEW: This is 40 [2012]

“I control the radio on my birthday” It’s time to accept that the words “Directed by Judd Apatow” are synonymous with “sentimental familial dramedy littered by profanity”. I probably should have come to this realization years ago, but for some reason I still held out hope he’d once more match the entertainment value of The 40 Year Old Virgin. Everyone loves Knocked Up, I know, but to me it was a slow bore with few of those indelible moments his debut etched in my mind. Funny People was an improvement—at…

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Posterized Propaganda September 2012: White Space Rules the Month

“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. When not distracted by the more offbeat, artistically inclined one-sheets for the amazing line-up gracing Toronto screens at TIFF this month, I was surprised to see a few good ones…

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REVIEW: American Pie [1999]

“Suck me, beautiful” I’ll admit now that my love for American Pie is rooted heavily in nostalgia. Having first seen it in theatres as I was entering my own senior year of high school, the comradery of its band of brothers cautiously walking together towards graduation and manhood doesn’t quite resonate as much today at age thirty. My seventeen-year old self remembers the performances being a bit more honed and the scripting a tad crisper, but the one thing that didn’t change with an older and maybe wiser perspective is…

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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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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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