REVIEW: The Public [2019]

Books saved my life. It’s the same tragic story. Another unarmed Black man is killed by the police. Another White man takes an arsenal into a school, campus, or place of worship before opening fire on unarmed innocents. The media takes these headlines, packages them together with thoughts and prayers, and uses the ratings to continue peddling their editorializing as news until another such event inevitably occurs yet again. And what do we have to show for it all? Besides a growing anger at the political injustices and vile rhetoric…

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REVIEW: Mission: Impossible [1996]

“Hasta lasagna. Don’t get any on ya.” Despite completing its successful seven-season run in 1973, it would take another twenty-three years before Bruce Geller‘s original television series received its inevitable cinematic adaptation. For a former Emmy winner starring the likes of Peter Graves, Martin Landau, and Leonard Nimoy with an action thriller premise just past science fiction to make it so new technological advancements would perpetually help increase production value, that’s a difficult hiatus to believe until you factor in Hollywood. Not only did rights owner Paramount Pictures find it…

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REVIEW: Wild [2014]

“Cold mush dreams” The cinematic adaptation of Cheryl Strayed‘s memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail seems to be getting pigeonholed hard as being solely a tale of female empowerment. It most definitely is, but I’m not sure critics should necessarily call it a day with such a generic categorization. There’s a deeper draw to the author’s solo, one thousand mile journey along the Pacific Crest that hits at a human level way beyond gender. Was Into the Wild only thought of as a tale of…

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TIFF13 REVIEW: Parkland [2013]

“It’s my story too” We all know the story of President John F Kennedy’s assassination. It’s an event that has been ingrained into our culture, spawned a myriad of conspiracy theories, and remains a hotly contested moment in time that changed the fabric of an entire nation. But what about the people this tragedy affected on a personal level beyond victim and perpetrator? What about the trauma surgeons and nurses who watched as the president’s heartbeat flat-lined? What about the giddy business owner excitedly filming the motorcade on his lunch…

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REVIEW: Lucy in the Sky with Diamond [2013]

“Are you prepared to spend eternity together?” Written in the hopes iconic actor Lou Diamond Phillips would agree to participate, Joey Boukadakis‘ comedy short Lucy in the Sky with Diamond was born. Blindly sending the script to his muse unsure of what the reaction would be, Boukadakis found his love of the man validated once the response came back positively. Phillips loved the script, was flattered by the Being John Malkovich treatment, and graciously accepted the offer to film for two days in the San Fernando Valley and have his…

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INTERVIEW: Emilio Estevez, writer/director of The Way

I walked into the Elgin Theatre a year and a half ago for the Toronto International Film Festival’s screening of Emilio Estevez‘s The Way without knowing exactly what I was in for. I loved his Bobby a few years earlier, but after reading the glossy sheet of information pertaining to the film handed out to all in attendance I knew this was going to be a completely different beast. Spiritual, personal, and a testament between father and son, this new work is an inspirational journey of finding oneself at a…

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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 Two Recap

Day Two at TIFF may have started with two junket screenings, meaning there was no chance of seeing any filmmakers/actors, but it also began with what could be my number one film of the year—Never Let Me Go. Amidst the small contingent of press glomming down free danishes and coffee courtesy of Fox Searchlight was a work of art that will devastate even the most cynical of souls. It’s tough to go into detail of the plot, though, without ruining the nuance of the parallel universe world, one where disease…

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TIFF10 REVIEW: The Way [2010]

“You don’t choose a life, Dad. You live one.” When you decide to fit in an almost two and a half hour film about a man hiking an 800 kilometer trail through Spain at the Toronto International Film Festival, you do begin to fear whether the time might be better served elsewhere. Arriving at the gorgeous Winter Garden Theatre to ushers handing out booklets—this film has a guidebook?—only makes you question the decision further. But then director Emilio Estevez came to the stage to help introduce his new work, a…

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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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REVIEW: The Breakfast Club [1985]

“You’ll get the horns” It may not be the funniest film that John Hughes crafted, but The Breakfast Club is the one that I think made the biggest impression on me. Revisiting it—so many years after its creation, as well as many since I last sat down to watch its entirety—gave me an interesting experience. How the three friends with me had never seen it is beyond me, but that fact caused something I never expected. Each moment of weight, those moments when the kids explain the pressures of each…

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