REVIEW: Les plages d’Agnès [The Beaches of Agnès] [2008]

“I feel pain everywhere” I think it should be a new rule that documentaries about filmmakers can only be made if the subject him/herself directs. How could you not want this enforced after watching Agnès Varda‘s Les plages d’Agnès [The Beaches of Agnès]? It surely helps that the Frenchwoman is candid, funny, and fearless when it comes to combining whatever she has into one cohesive whole. As she says: her movies are puzzles with many disparate pieces strewn about that find themselves coming together in the end. If some footage…

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INTERVIEW: Olivier Nakache, cowriter/codirector of Samba

Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano‘s (shown above at middle and right with Omar Sy) Intouchables was France’s Oscar hopeful in 2012 and did make the January shortlist. An infectious crowd-pleaser based on a true story, it vaulted Sy into stardom with a César win over The Artist‘s Jean Dujardin and ultimately co-staring roles in Hollywood blockbusters X-Men: Days of Future Past and Jurassic World. It most likely also opened a floodgate of offers for the duo at the helm, but these Frenchmen aren’t interested in bringing someone else’s vision to…

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REVIEW: Nymphomaniac: Vol. II [2014]

“I’m a virgin. I’m innocent.” I had heard there was a drop off in quality with Nymphomaniac: Vol. II compared to the first half, but I wasn’t quite prepared for how far. A much crueler portion of the tale, the second part of Lars von Trier‘s sex epic is also more outlandish as new characters are introduced with cartoonish demeanors and old ones proven to seemingly evolve against everything we had already learned about them for no reason other than the filmmaker’s attempt to sensationalize. What makes this so unfortunate…

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REVIEW: Nymphomaniac: Vol. I [2014]

“Mea Vulva. Mea Maxima Vulva.” I don’t intend it to be a smirk at those who think otherwise, but Lars von Trier‘s Nymphomaniac: Vol. I is much tamer than I expected. I’m not sure why I thought it would simply be gratuitous sex from start to finish—I guess I let the hype surrounding it taint what I knew and loved about the auteur’s work. There is sex, don’t get me wrong, enough even to be considered straight porn if it were 90-minutes in length. But this installment is almost twice…

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Samba [2014]

“Red paper. Then … no more.” Every movie should have a score by Ludovico Einaudi and it’s comforting to see Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano agree. After using his haunting music on the brilliant Intouchables, the duo take a few tracks from his album In a Time Lapse to enhance their latest work Samba. Another drama dealing with serious issues oftentimes handled melodramatically by Hollywood, they find a way to infuse each character’s hardship with a delightfully comic streak. The formula is similar to that Oscar nominee with its two…

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Posterized Propaganda January 2014: The Top 10 Movie Posters of 2013

“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. Despite being another year of blockbusters and animated fare begging for bland character sheets and Photoshop montages, 2013′s movie posters were surprisingly creative artistically. A bunch of the following images…

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TIFF11 REVIEW: Melancholia [2011]

“Two million and six beans” Director Lars von Trier has never been easily accessible. Part of his genius is the ability to go places others might not dare, shoot imagery no one else could even fathom, and push his actors into authentic performances that risk sending them into the same psychological tailspin as their characters. So you can just imagine how unique his vision of the apocalypse would be. It would portray emotionally unstable people as they near their end. It would expose the underbelly of familial strife. Portray the…

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Picking Winners at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards

Spree contributing writer William Altreuter, graphic designer Jared Mobarak, and I are going to share our thoughts on this week’s Oscar nominations. Let’s kick things off with a category whose victor—Colin “Mr. Darcy” Firth—seems to have already been agreed upon. — Christopher Schobert Best Actor:Javier Bardem: BiutifulJeff Bridges: True GritJesse Eisenberg: The Social NetworkColin Firth: The King’s SpeechJames Franco: 127 Hours William Altreuter: If the Academy had wanted to make a statement Jim Carrey‘s amazing turn in I Love You Phillip Morris would have found its way onto this list. Wouldn’t that…

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The Most Anticipated Films of 2011

While Jon Favreau may say that 2011 looks to have a bloodbath summer on its hands with blockbusters galore taking 3D screens from each other, I’ll say right now that those aren’t the movies most intriguing me. Next year sees a return for Jack Sparrow, Lightning McQueen, Holmes and Watson, the Witwickys, Ethan Hunt, and, of course, everyone’s favorite Ghostface. Superheroes are king once more with Avengers, Mutants, and a delayed and beleaguered Black Beauty coming as well as our once beloved comedian Adam Sandler not only starring in a…

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360|365FF10 REVIEW: The City of Your Final Destination [2010]

“How could any outsider understand this place?” A two and a half hour round trip to see a movie may appear crazy on the surface, but when it’s for opening night of something as well put together as the 360|365 George Eastman House Film Festival, all is completely sane. Attending the first screening wasn’t in my original plans; I was supposed to just arrive for the weekend. Thankfully, though, I decided to throw caution to the wind and drive up for director James Ivory and his newest work, The City…

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Keith Schofield … Music Videography

Keith Haverbrook, Eric Schoman & Jeff Mayfield make up the directing collective known as Keith Schofield. It’s an award-winning team from Los Angeles, CA that has been crafting very innovative music videos since 2004, almost all of which utilize some sort of camera trick, using the artifice of the medium to lend a unique visual quality. You could say they just take gimmicks such as depth perception illusions, multiple layering where the background is on a loop while the foreground continues forward, or a rigged focal point axis connected to…

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