REVIEW: 1917 [2019]

It’s easier not to go back at all. While it appeared the Germans retreated, they were really just gathering their strength at the easier-to-defend Hindenburg Line as part of Operation Alberich in northern France. With British forces fooled and following closely behind to mount what they believed would be an offensive, their opponents were primed to turn the tables via ambush instead. After consulting aerial photographs of the Germans’ new position, General Erinmore (Colin Firth) realized 1,600 of Colonel Mackenzie’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) men would be slaughtered without his intervention. So…

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REVIEW: Mary Poppins Returns [2018]

It’s today or never. Not all live-action/animated hybrids from Disney of yesteryear live up to the nostalgic memories of youth (I’m looking at you Pete’s Dragon), but Mary Poppins is an exception. Maybe it was revisiting it after seeing the underrated Saving Mr. Banks for added context concerning craft and motivation or maybe it’s simply that its message, adventure, and fun combine to form a film that literally stands up to the test of time. Let’s face it: you don’t retain the same reverence through multiple generations over five decades…

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REVIEW: The Mercy [2018]

What if I tell them I’m here? I had never heard of Donald Crowhurst before seeing James Marsh‘s film The Mercy. This is unsurprising since the British Sunday Times‘ Golden Globe Race of which he was a competitor occurred in 1968, not quite fifteen years before my birth. And if his would-be return-date to Teignmouth, England of July 1969 after yachting around the world without stop or assistance was ingrained in my mind for any event—auspicious or infamous—it was the moon landing. So when the synopsis described this amateur sailor…

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REVIEW: Kingsman: The Golden Circle [2017]

“There’s no room for emotion in this scenario” When Kingsman: The Secret Service debuted, comparisons to creator Mark Millar‘s other comic book to cinematic adaptation Kick-Ass were obvious. How the latter spun the superhero template, the former spun stylish James Bond-type spy actioners. It was all high-concept insanity with a kid from the wrong side of the tracks proving courage, heroism, and finesse weren’t as much a product of environment as they were personality and the capacity to overcome one’s disadvantages. There was a sweet surrogate father/son dynamic too with…

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REVIEW: Kingsman: The Secret Service [2015]

“It’s a bulldog, innit?” I’m all for Matthew Vaughan continuing to jump from comic book property to comic book property. That’s not to say his debut Layer Cake was bad—on the contrary, I liked it a lot—he’s simply had a very successful run afterwards in the graphic novel realm spanning Stardust, Kick-Ass, and X-Men: First Class. Collaborating with Mark Millar hasn’t hurt either with his latest Kingsman: The Secret Service coming from the Kick-Ass creator’s pen. The pair plus screenwriter Jane Goldman have found a synchronicity for fun, entertaining action…

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Posterized Propaganda July 2014: ‘Magic in the Moonlight,’ ‘A Most Wanted Man,’ ‘Life Itself’ and More

“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. Oof. There are a couple good posters this month. That’s it. And I don’t mean “a couple” hyperbolically either. There are maybe two I’d consider looking at again at the…

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REVIEW: Arthur Newman [2013]

“Family just crushes your heart, doesn’t it?” Sometimes you must leave in order to return and accept the responsibility of a family easier to leave behind. Life is rough and it has a nasty little mean streak intent on derailing dreams and aspirations to test one’s ability to cope and prevail. Who doesn’t want to pack up a bag and take to the road with all his problems growing smaller by the minute until they’re erased forever? Who wouldn’t want to hit that reset button to forget regrets and guilt…

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REVIEW: Hyde Park on Hudson [2012]

“I’ll have another!” Franklin Delano Roosevelt was much more than the President of the United States to Margaret “Daisy” Suckley—she was also his sixth cousin. The two knew each other in brief snapshots from family gatherings in upstate New York where the wheelchair-bound leader of America found his old home a refuge from the political chaos of Washington, DC. If he could run the country from Hyde Park on Hudson, he would. The land gave him peace of mind through long drives along winding roads and atop fields of tall…

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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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REVIEW: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy [2011]

“Smiley leaves with me” When I first heard about Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy I didn’t think it had a chance of living up to my expectations. It possessed an all-star cast, was director Tomas Alfredson‘s English-language follow-up to the brilliant Let the Right One In, and was adapted from an espionage thriller by John le Carré—the novelist of another personal favorite, The Constant Gardener. An unforgettable marketing campaign piqued my interest with stunning character posters composed of number and letter strands color-coded to create each face and the never-ending praise…

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The 83rd Oscars recap through tweets …

@jaredmobarak • Oscar time … congrats to The King’s Speech … why bother with the show when everyone thinks they know the winner? The 83rd Annual Academy Awards ceremony was quite possibly its worst incarnation the past decade. And things finally seemed to be going the right way. Hugh Jackman was fun; Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were lukewarm, but the show was fun; and Neil Patrick Harris is Neil Patrick Harris. NPH can do no wrong. Much in that vein, I thought the pairing of James Franco and Anne…

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