REVIEW: The Player [1992]

“… with a heart” When thinking about a satire on Hollywood, the idea to glorify its luck, ego, and excess rather than vilify probably wouldn’t be the direction your mind gravitates towards. To some extent this may ensure the exercise will prove pointless because the message shifts from showing everything wrong that needs fixing into everything wrong that you can also enjoy if the opportunity to join the hedonistic fun ever presented itself. You wouldn’t necessarily take the time to lambast if you weren’t angry at the status quo and…

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REVIEW: Max Rose [2016]

“Without somebody you’re nobody at all” A film centering on octogenarians isn’t an easy sell. Not even when you get a legend like Jerry Lewis to come out of retirement to deliver his first starring role in twenty years. So you have to give Daniel Noah credit—he got it done. And after a few years producing some effective genre films with his shingle SpectreVision, Max Rose also becomes a return for him to the director’s chair. He admits that he couldn’t see anyone else doing the material justice, the script…

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REVIEW: Blue Velvet [1986]

“Now it’s dark” After finding critical and commercial success with The Elephant Man—earning his first Oscar nominations for directing and screenplay—David Lynch became bankable enough to mount what would end up a large-scale disaster in Dune. Whereas many would probably count the latter as a failure across the board, the truth is that the sci-fi epic is much more attuned to the auteur’s sensibilities. Anyone who had seen his debut feature Eraserhead in all its strange surrealistic glory would concur, but by that time there were surely not many (and…

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REVIEW: Paris, Texas [1984]

“Don’t go yet” The first word my mind conjured after watching Wim Wenders‘ Paris, Texas was honesty. It’s delivered from lead Harry Dean Stanton all the way down to Robby Müller‘s gorgeous cinematography of untouched Mojave Desert isolation and graffiti-filled urban concrete. Nothing appears inauthentic and that’s not an easy accomplishment when you think about how this road-trip adventure steeped in Americana was constructed through the eyes of a foreigner. Credit screenwriters L.M. Kit Carson and Sam Shepard for supplying the correct aesthetic on the page, but the success or…

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REVIEW: CQ [2002]

“Dazzling! Fascinating!” While there are many cinematic examples of directors taking a behind the scenes look at the process of their craft, few are as sure-handed, personal, and entertaining as Roman Coppola‘s debut CQ. For someone who literally grew up in the movies with father Francis Ford Coppola and American Zoetrope reaching legendary status inside his house, inspiration was readily available through the memories and keepsakes acquired along the way. From the vanity of fame to the technological evolution of the industry to the almost forgotten practice of practical effects,…

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