REVIEW: The Neon Demon [2016]

“Are you food or are you sex” Fame: all that’s glittered and gold, the intrinsic “it” quality we’d kill for but never do. That aura with an expiration date; beauty, confidence, radiance, and whatever other label outsiders use to transform you into a commodity to be bought, sold, and exploited within the tiny window before someone younger takes your place. This is Nicolas Winding Refn‘s The Neon Demon, an unexplainable concept jumping person to person without definition or discernment. It consumes the souls of unwitting vessels, makes them and breaks…

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Nightcrawler [2014]

“If you want to win the lottery you have to have the money to buy a ticket” There are some huge ebbs and flows in Dan Gilroy‘s Nightcrawler. At times I loved it, others I felt bad for laughing, and some instances made me wonder what exactly it was I was watching. In the end, however, I can unequivocally say it’s a gem of a lean, mean film that never let’s its foot off the gas pedal with an iconic antihero in Jake Gyllenhaal‘s Lou Bloom who might currently be…

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Posterized Propaganda April 2014: ‘Captain America: Winter Soldier’, ‘Under the Skin’, ‘Transcendence’ & 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. April has a lot of movies coming out stateside and so many have decided to sell themselves on their star. Dom Hemingway (limited April 2) (poster), Alan Partridge (limited April…

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REVIEW: Down and Dangerous [2014]

“Who says I’m not having fun?” If you’re familiar with writer/director Zak Forsman’s work you’ll know that it was only a matter of time before he branched out from subtle character pieces to the action genre. Whether the stoic performances, attractive compositions, or pulsing beats by composer Deklun, Forsman and his team at The Sabi Company have found the talent necessary to make Hollywood-caliber productions on a shoestring budget. And while the diptych of his Heart of Now and producer Kevin K. Shah’s White Knuckles aligns more with that independent…

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REVIEW: Only God Forgives [2013]

“No matter what happens, keep your eyes closed” I’ve never seen a film by Alejandro Jodorowsky, but it doesn’t take a long glimpse into the auteur’s internet biographies to understand why Nicolas Winding Refn dedicated his Only God Forgives to the legend. Descriptions are riddled with labels such as “avant-garde”, “violently surreal”, “mystical”, and “religiously provocative”—terms also very clearly formed while watching this newest, meditative jaunt through the stoic minds of morally tortured killers from the critically acclaimed director of Drive. More akin to his ethereal visual poem Valhalla Rising,…

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Top Ten Films of 2011: Melancholy with a slice of hope

If anyone tells you 2011 was a bad year for cinema, stop in your tracks, turn around and walk away without ever looking back. They have no idea what they’re talking about. With a wealth of quality films from bonafide auteurs devoid of source material, the sheer amount of original work is astonishing. The trend for remakes will most likely never end, but it’s good to know artists in and out of the Hollywood system are fearlessly treading their own path to make movies exciting again. And by exciting I…

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Picking Winners at the 84th Annual Academy Awards

For the next week and a half, Spree contributor William C. Altreuter, our online film reviewer Jared Mobarak, and me will share our thoughts on who will take home the Oscars. Let’s kick things off with … Best Supporting Actress. —C. S. BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:Bérénice Bejo – The Artist as Peppy MillerJessica Chastain – The Help as Celia FooteMelissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids as Megan PriceJanet McTeer – Albert Nobbs as Hubert PageOctavia Spencer – The Help as Minny Jackson Christopher Schobert: Bill, it seems like every time you and I tackle…

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Posterized Propaganda January 2012: The Top 10 Movie Posters of 2011

“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. With January 2012 poster selection leaving a lot to be desired—dump month movies don’t appear to get the same marketing budget as critical darlings—we’ve decided to better spend our monthly…

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REVIEW: The Ides of March [2011]

“My name is Molly” To someone with limited interest and knowledge in politics like me, it seems an intriguing choice for a self-described political liberal who backed Barack Obama on his presidential campaign like George Clooney to tackle the subject matter of Beau Willimon’s play Farragut North. Based in part on the 2004 Democratic primary run of Howard Dean—who Willimon worked for—it depicts an idealistic, platform-driven candidate with an integrity the American public can rally around. With Shepard Fairey influenced posters of his visage, Clooney’s Governor Mike Morris appears to…

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REVIEW: Drive [2011]

“There are no good sharks?” Part-time stuntman, part-time mechanic, part-time wheelman, and full-time brood—this is Ryan Gosling‘s Driver. He’s a man of few words with determination stamped on his face and a code of morals that exist inside a very murky gray area blurring the line between right and wrong when loyalty comes into play. A very cerebral actioner that harkens back to director Nicolas Winding Refn‘s Valhalla Rising more than Bronson, Drive lives up to its stature of incomparable cool. This thing is slick as hell, existing in a…

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Posterized Propaganda September 2011: Misfires countered by fearlessness

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact that 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. September is the start of the film festival season. Unsurprisingly, while Toronto, Venice, and New York debut the flicks we’ve been waiting all year to see, the box office…

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