REVIEW: Libertador [The Liberator] [2014]

“I am the people” I think I may have snorted a bit when the short list for foreign film Academy Award nominations came out with Libertador [The Liberator] as one of its paltry ten. They wouldn’t have placed the movie with those melodramatic character posters shrouded in a dark brooding atmosphere above critical darlings like Mommy and Two Days, One Night, would they? It just goes to show how you truly cannot judge a book by its cover because even I, the hater of sprawling epics hitting checkpoint after checkpoint…

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REVIEW: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) [2014]

“The truth is always interesting” It’s true what the film’s Times‘ theater critic (Lindsay Duncan) says: an artist should bleed for his craft. Physically, spiritually, metaphorically—blood must be spilt so the world knows he was here, selflessly (selfishly?) making us laugh, cry, and reflect on lives well lived and squandered. This is why those who touch upon life’s intrinsic emotions and universal feelings can demand salaries and compensation so large not even their over-stretched, ambitious, and insane imaginations can think of how to spend it all. They create what we…

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Picking Winners at the 86th Annual Academy Awards

The Oscars are generally quite boring, since we often know well in advance what is going to win Best Picture, Director, etc. But this year? Not so much. Sure, there are heavy favorites — see below. But it is entirely possible there will be some real surprises. Of course, I could be completely wrong. But if I am, hopefully Bill Altreuter and Jared Mobarak will be right. And away we go … —Chris Best ActorBruce Dern: NebraskaChiwetel Ejiofor: 12 Years a SlaveMatthew McConaughey: Dallas Buyers ClubLeonardo DiCaprio: The Wolf of Wall StreetChristian Bale: American Hustle…

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TIFF13 REVIEW: Gravity [2013]

“You should see the sun on the Ganges. It’s amazing.” Remember back in the 90s at the advent of IMAX technology how certain amusement parks would have a screen with some “experience” putting you “into the action”? Well Alfonso Cuarón has made one of those for the twenty-first century in Gravity. While I admit such a description may seem like I’m putting the film in a bad light—simplifying it to its basest aesthetic trait—I honestly mean it as a compliment. Space has always been one place to which only a…

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REVIEW: The Book of Eli [2010]

“Stay on the path; it’s not your concern” Sometimes promotional material lets on to the truth. By watching the trailers for The Book of Eli, I became excited to see the film due to its stripped color palette, post-apocalyptic environment, and Denzel Washington’s insane fighting skills. For some reason, though, all those posters saying “Deliver Us” and the fact of it all centering on a book that’s more important than anything else left on earth—a weapon even—eluded me in realizing just how large religion would loom over everything. The Hughes…

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Top 50 Films of the Decade (2000–2009)

As always, I have not seen every film made in the decade, so this list is only complete as of posting. There are those diamonds in the rough I’ve yet to witness that could render this entire list obsolete. The ‘Naughts’, I believe an appropriate term being used for the decade spanning from 2000–2009, the years we feared wouldn’t come thanks to Y2K, brought with them some amazing films. Technological advancements aside, this time period contained a number of singular auteurs both continuing on already stellar careers and others beginning…

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REVIEW: Paris, je t’aime [Paris, I Love You] [2006]

I have been eagerly awaiting the release of the short film anthology Paris, je t’aime [Paris, I Love You] for a long time. Once I heard of the project it really interested me as something that could be amazing, with some enormous talent attached. To my disappointment, I read about the finished shorts and how good they were, but alas no release date stateside for the entire experience. It will eventually come to the US (limited early May, Buffalo? Maybe), however, I could wait no longer and made the purchase…

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Top 25 Films of 2006

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 88 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #25: Déjà Vu directed by Tony Scott. #24: Lady in the Water directed byM. Night Shyamalan #23: Casino Royale directed by Martin Campbell. #22: Stranger Than Fiction directed by Marc Forster #21: The Science of Sleep directed by Michel Gondry #20: Half Nelson directed by Ryan Fleck #19: Clerks 2 directed by Kevin Smith #18: The Last King of Scotland directed by…

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Top Ten Films of 2006

The day has come where all that movie watching during the year, all that money given to Hollywood players who need none of it, and all those buttered popcorn induced coronaries boil down to one person’s ego-trip of compiling a list of the best of the best. I now join the list of film-snobs everywhere with my top ten films of 2006. If you have been reading my reviews you will know that I don’t care too much about how the film was made, but instead how much I enjoyed…

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REVIEW: Children of Men [2006]

“Very odd, what happens in a world without children’s voices” Alfonso Cuarón has been a must-see director for me since his Spanish-language Y tu mamá también. Following that gem with the best Harry Potter film yet, I couldn’t wait until he delved into adult material again. I got my wish this year with the dystopic drama Children of Men. Although I have been waiting months to see the film based on its trailer, I couldn’t help but be disappointed by how much that tease gave away. I remember that no…

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