REVIEW: Rocketman [2019]

I’ll take care of the rest. When you have an icon like Elton John as your subject, the straightforward biopic formula simply won’t work. We know him as the flamboyantly dressed, rock star pianist with funny glasses and sequins who belts out songs that will either make you tap your feet or cry. And while that might have started as a façade to break free of Reginald Dwight’s introverted shell of shyness, he ultimately became this on-stage persona for real. The battles with drugs and alcohol alongside the constant media…

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REVIEW: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom [2018]

They’re alive. Like me. Anyone who read/watched Jurassic Park in the 1990s should have known the product of John Hammond’s hubris: a marriage between mankind’s extinction and evolution into something more. This is what the themes of control and the lack thereof portend. To play God is to risk losing everything we have built in the past 300,000 years. Because whether we bring back that which nature destroyed (dinosaurs) or create something wholly new (through genetic manipulation and cloning), we breathe life into a being not meant for the present…

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REVIEW: Pete’s Dragon [2016]

“Just because you don’t see anything doesn’t mean it’s not there” You have to give Disney credit for accomplishing the unthinkable this year by releasing remakes of archaic properties to rapturous fanfare. The Jungle Book began this refurbishment movement with the studio’s Iron Man steward Jon Favreau taking the helm of what proved a fantastically realized world made almost entirely of pixels bolstered by a story with the type of stakes the original forgot in lieu of sing-a-long frivolity. And now the trend continues with Pete’s Dragon and director David…

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REVIEW: Jurassic World [2015]

“This will give parents nightmares” As all good sequels must learn, the key to success is delivering on the promise set forth by the original while also providing something fresh and improved. Just ask James Cameron, a master at the task, who injected action-packed life into both Aliens and Terminator 2: Judgment Day without negating or watering down the mythology still relevant beneath those newfound popcorn blockbuster sensibilities. Neither The Lost World nor Jurassic Park III did it. They decided to both reinvent the wheel and forget what the appeal…

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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: The Help [2011]

“God don’t pay no mind to color when he decide to set a tornado loose” I guess it’s my own fault for not paying attention to the advertisements, but I really thought The Help was based on a true story. The author was Emma Stone‘s Skeeter Phelan and the stories told were authentic orations of the maids in her Jackson, Mississippi community. Those trailers had ‘inspired by a true events’ somewhere, right? Or is the fact the film occurs during an historical event like the Civil Rights movement real life…

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REVIEW: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse [2010]

“I’d rather you be really dead than one of them” I’m not saying Twilight was a masterpiece, but it did hold promise—promise that its successors have done little to uphold. An overly melodramatic adolescent romance, the first film knew what it was and had enough exposition and story to hold things together through the schmaltzy eye-rolling of a smitten teen finding trouble and supernatural heroes to save her. Rather than build on that premise, the sequel became an overblown epilogue to try and introduce a love triangle we already know…

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REVIEW: 50/50 [2011]

“That’s your Make-A-Wish? To drive?” Cancer can be funny. How people with life threatening diseases can deal with the constant drone of, “You’re going to be fine” or “You’ll get through this” or “What you’re feeling is normal” has always been something that fascinated me. Personally—I can only guess having luckily never been put through such a situation—I’d probably clock the third person or at the very least blow up in their face with a profanity-laced diatribe about how pity only makes the nightmare worse. Why can’t we brighten things…

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REVIEW: Hereafter [2010]

“Cooking is for all the senses” Right before sitting down for a screening of Hereafter, my friend told me she had read that it was Clint Eastwood’s ‘French film’. Once the end credits rolled, I realized there isn’t a more succinct description for it. Showing again how the marketing machine loves to manipulate audiences into seeing something they might not want to if they knew exactly what it was, the trailer used to advertise this nuance heavy work doesn’t come close to doing it justice. This isn’t a spooky tale…

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REVIEW: Terminator Salvation [2009]

“So that’s what death tastes like” I have never seen a McG film before. I avoided the Charlie’s Angels movies and thought We Are Marshall looked pretty mediocre—besides being a based on true events sports flick; not my genre of choice. But here we have him helming the newest entry to one of the best science fiction series in cinema. How would someone that people oftentimes compare to a “hack” like Brett Ratner do with a big scale production containing an existing mythology and fan base calling for greatness? We…

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REVIEW: Spider-Man 3 [2007]

“I’d give my life for them” So here it is, the final piece to the Raimi/Maguire trilogy of superheroes and love conquering all. The first two installments in the franchise helped rejuvenate the comic book movie, making them be taken seriously and showing that a little imagination surrounded by the real world could create suspense, action, and heart. Spider-Man 3 had a lot of expectations to live up to, and not just to be cohesive and complete with three villains and a couple new faces on the side. I know…

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