REVIEW: mother! [2017]

“His words are yours” Paramount has taken pains to ensure you know as little about Darren Aronofsky‘s mother! as possible. I know this because they’ve made it very difficult to find any images with which to populate this review. Their press site has no entry. The Toronto International Film Festival site contains no stills. And my local publicist made it very clear that press wasn’t allowed to bring a plus one to the screening. I’m surprised the studio let it play TIFF and Venice at all since that only means…

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REVIEW: Noah [2014]

“Maybe we’ll learn to be kind” Religion likes to talk about mercy, forgiveness, and acceptance as though such grace was instilled in humanity before we decided to ignore it for carnal pleasure, bloodlust, and greed. This is why most films depicting Biblical stories go heavy on angels and enlightenment, giving pithy parables with “a-ha” lessons to take stock and deflect from the copious amounts of violence throughout its text. Yes there’s creation, salvation, good deeds unto others, and heroes to aspire towards, but don’t forget deception, cleansings, sin, and damnation.…

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Posterized Propaganda March 2014: ‘Noah’, ‘Nymphomaniac,’ ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel,’ ‘Enemy’ & 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. Has summer started early? Big blockbusters like Divergent, Noah, 300: Rise of an Empire, and Need for Speed are releasing in March—I guess they must therefore be the studios’ lesser…

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REVIEW: Computer Chess [2013]

“War is death. Hell is pain. Chess is Victory.” Writer/director Andrew Bujalaski‘s lo-fi Computer Chess is an intriguing period piece curio depicting a programming convention of brilliant minds engaging in a five-round competition that pits their artificial intelligences against each other’s at the titular, strategic board game. Although we see tournament organizer Pat Henderson (Gerald Peary) has hired a filmographer (Kevin Bewersdorf) for the proceedings, our vantage point is outside that camera as a fly on the wall within their hotel. Shifting room to room spying on students, tech geeks,…

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REVIEW: The Wolverine [2013]

“Everything has a meaning” To think, just a few short years ago The Wolverine held infinite promise. Fox brought in Christopher McQuarrie to rekindle his X-Men involvement after uncredited work on pal Bryan Singer’s franchise starter and independent auteur Darren Aronofsky was tapped to finally get a comic book flick after losing out on a Batman: Year One go. Star Hugh Jackman was giddy in interviews about the visual aesthetic a Japanese setting would give—the film culls its material from Chris Claremont and Frank Miller’s Wolverine arc—as well as the…

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Top Ten Films of 2010: Dark Fantasy Cinema

This list is accurate as of post-date. So many films and not enough time to see them all—141 seen is this year’s number—the potential for future change is inevitable, but as of today here are the best … I remember thinking around April that there hadn’t been a truly great film released yet. After summer came and went with little to cheer about, I feared 2010 would be a gigantic bust containing a ton of decent to good films, but only a handful of great ones. And then—like it seems…

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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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Top 25 Films of 2010

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 156 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #25: Restrepo directed by Tim Hetherington& Sebastian Junger #24: Trust directed by David Schwimmer. #23: Kick-Ass directed by Matthew Vaughn. #22: Christina directed by Larry Brand. #21: It’s Kind of a Funny Story directed byAnna Boden & Ryan Fleck #20: Catfish directed by Henry Joost& Ariel Schulman #19: The City ofYour Final Destination directed by James Ivory #18: The King’s Speech directed…

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REVIEW: The Fighter [2010]

“I thought you were my mother too” It’s been a rough decade for director David O. Russell between highly publicized blow-ups with George Clooney and Lily Tomlin and his latest, Nailed, being shelved after financing fell through to the point he couldn’t finish filming. So, it is almost a miracle he was given the opportunity to even fathom helming Scott Silver’s scripted The Fighter once Darren Aronofsky backed away after having completed his own ‘fighting’ film with The Wrestler. And with the rave reviews from critics and audiences both, you…

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REVIEW: Black Swan [2010]

“Get ready to give me more of that bite” The line from Darren Aronofsky’s debut feature Pi, ‘When I was a little kid, my mother told me not to stare into the sun. So when I was six, I did.’ wouldn’t get out of my head throughout his newest, Black Swan. After tackling a pretty straightforward tale in The Wrestler, the auteur went back to his roots, embracing the psychological terrors of humanity. Similar to Pi’s Maximillian Cohen—a reclusive genius driven mad by his work—Nina Sayers is a closeted young…

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TIFF10 PREVIEW: 4 Days, 16 Films, 200 Miles …

September is once more synonymous with four words: Toronto International Film Festival. Fellow Spree’er Christopher Schobert and I will again travel north for a weekend of what could be the top candidates for Oscar gold come next winter. Of course, they could also be films that may hit theater screens within the next two to three years depending on distribution deals. It’s another jam-packed schedule of sixteen films in less than four days. Daunting for sure, but a challenge we rise toward with excitement. Sadly, the most coveted title of…

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