REVIEW: The Laundromat [2019]

Bad is such a big word … for being such a small word. The first time writer Scott Z. Burns paired up with director Steven Soderbergh proved to be a rousing success. The Informant! had real life intrigue, absurd comedy, and an inspired cast to pull everything together in a way that simultaneously educated and entertained. After teaming for two thrillers in the years since, this cinematic duo has now returned to that lighter side of dark subject matter courtesy of The Laundromat—an adaptation of Jake Bernstein‘s book Secrecy World:…

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INTERVIEW: Adam Brody, star of Some Girl(s)

Best known as geeky Seth Cohen on “The O.C.”, Adam Brody has become a familiar comedic face in Hollywood over the past decade. With a recent turn in Whit Stillman‘s Damsels in Distress and now this Neil LaBute adaptation from his own play Some Girl(s), however, he’s beginning to branch out towards scripts and filmmakers with more palpable weight. It’s a welcome evolution that I believe he’s embraced and excelled at. Taking the time to talk to us—and being nice enough to call back after his first attempts came while…

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INTERVIEW: Neil LaBute, writer of Some Girl(s)

Always prolific on the playwright front, Neil LaBute’s past decade at the movies has been filled by studio pictures that never quite found the creative success of earlier works In the Company of Men or The Shape of Things. However, hot on the heels of his first original work since—Some Velvet Morning—a new adaptation of his 2005 play Some Girl(s) appears to be bringing him back to his roots. The film depicts a young man traveling the country to “right the wrongs” he may have committed with a few ex-girlfriends…

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REVIEW: The Iceman [2013]

“I don’t believe in bad luck” Arrested in 1986 after three decades of murdering an estimated one hundred men, it’s hard to believe another thirty years were necessary before the story of serial killer turned hitman Richie Kuklinski reached the big screen. Based on Anthony Bruno‘s book The Iceman: The True Story of a Cold-Blooded Killer, Ariel Vroman‘s film brings us up close and personal to the family man’s myriad demons. Possessed by a temper so volatile he would send men to hell for simply rubbing him the wrong way,…

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REVIEW: Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted [2012]

“I’m like a candy cane in a black and white movie” A round of applause for directors Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath—and Conrad Vernon who joins them to expand on his responsibilities playing Mason the monkey—because they have kind of accomplished the impossible with Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted. I was surprised at how much better Escape 2 Africa was in comparison to the original Madagascar, but never expected my level of enjoyment to rise even more with the third. Darnell—also a co-writer with Noah Baumbach—and McGrath have grown alongside…

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REVIEW: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa [2008]

“I find it pretty and slightly hypnotic” It’s amazing what happens when filmmakers craft a plot for their characters. I’m not saying I approve of sequels with lame flashback origin prologues trying to make up for the lack of story in their predecessors, but I won’t complain if such contrivances help ground the jokes into a cohesive three act structure. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa isn’t hampered by the need to remove its leads from their fabricated habitat, instead starting off the reservation and relying on everyone’s intrinsic desire to return…

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REVIEW: Madagascar [2005]

“Just smile and wave boys. Smile and wave.” Made as though in opposition to Pixar’s brand of magical storytelling, Dreamworks Animation’s Madagascar ushered in the studio’s want for broader comedy and adolescent appeal. With Shrek, they found a franchise that subverted Disney’s use of fairy tales for cinematic fodder and created a nice hybrid of laughs and story with an underdog hero inside an ugly duckling tale. But after a steady stream of Pixar work including Monsters Inc. and the previous year’s The Incredibles, you have to believe that Dreamworks…

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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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TIFF10 RECAP: The Festival In Photos, Tweets & Reviews

Another year done at the Toronto International Film Festival. It was a pretty uneventful trip into the city—besides a rogue Customs official’s 5 minute power trip before we reached the border—that saw a smooth two hour drive both to and from, a far cry from the parking lot car jams of a few short weeks earlier to hand in film picks for the advance lottery. 2010 saw its fair share of rain, the umbrella while waiting in line for Andrew Lau‘s screening of Jing mo fung wan: Chen Zhen [Legend…

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TIFF10: Day Three Recap

Day Three at TIFF was by far our craziest of the year—seeing five films back-to-back from 11AM to 2:30AM. The late start allowed for a bit of sleeping in for preparation, as well as a semi-lengthy breakfast at Timmy Ho’s, both of which probably kept us from falling asleep during the marathon sittings. And while the last two of the night finally saw a bit of humor infused into the otherwise heavy schedule of dramas that do take something out of you, the morning opened with what could have been…

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TIFF10 REVIEW: Trust [2010]

“Just because she didn’t scream doesn’t mean it wasn’t rape” While writing my 2010 Toronto International Film Festival preview, I scoured the internet for poster images of the films I was to see. When it came to David Schwimmer’s sophomore effort Trust, all I discovered was a promo poster featuring a large, determined, floating head of Clive Owen set above a darkened, foreboding street featuring a man with his back turned, walking menacingly within. I’ll admit, I had no idea what the film was about, but having seen it now,…

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