REVIEW: Finding Steve McQueen [2019]

It’s like an alphabet soup enema. The Dinsio Brothers and their accomplices stole around nine million dollars from four hundred-plus safety deposit boxes inside the United California Bank of Laguna Niguel. To read Amil Dinsio’s website is to learn of his self-proclaimed “master” exploits and how the FBI sought to frame him for the job before discovering the evidence necessary to prove he did it. Maybe there’s a movie there, but probably not. The world simply doesn’t need another self-serious drama projecting the smarts it takes to pull off the…

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REVIEW: Black Panther [2018]

“We had to maintain the lie” It’s easy to forget how important Creed was to getting this specific Black Panther made. From Wesley Snipes wanting to get something off the ground in the 1990s to Kevin Feige courting Ava DuVernay as director post-Selma success, things could have been very different. Hiring Ryan Coogler before his Rocky sequel took the box office by storm with almost universal critical acclaim would have made it very different too. Suddenly the man who made his name off the fantastic indie Fruitvale Station was a…

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REVIEW: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story [2016]

“Rebellions are built on hope” George Lucas used to say years ago that the original Star Wars trilogy was but three chapters of an epic nine-part saga. It dealt with the Skywalker family, beginning in the middle to introduce a passing of the “Force” from father to son. Lucas would eventually make the first three chapters as a prequel series used to tell the tale of Anakin Skywalker’s descent towards the Dark Side for exposition into the stunning reveal his becoming Luke and Leia’s formidable foe in A New Hope…

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REVIEW: Arrival [2016]

“A desire for more cows” While Arrival is very much a Denis Villeneuve film right down to the similarities between his lead Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams)—thrust into an overwhelming military-run situation and doing her best to hold it accountable—with that of Sicario‘s Kate Macer as well as a visually surreal callback to the much-talked about and deciphered conclusion of Enemy, you cannot deny its expert plotting courtesy of screenwriter Eric Heisserer. This is the guy responsible for B-level genre remakes A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Thing inexplicably…

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REVIEW: Prêt-à-Porter [Ready to Wear] [1994]

“Taking advantage of others’ insecurities” I didn’t love The Player as much as I thought I would. Sometimes Robert Altman utilizes too many characters within a story that cannot sustain them as perfectly as we’d hope. It often works best in one-locale work like A Wedding and Gosford Park where the satirized theme is cohesive and everyone interacts with everyone else. The reason his Hollywood roast did succeed enough for me to enjoy, however, is that it had a lead. We followed Griffin Mill around the studio lot as the…

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REVIEW: The Crying Game [1992]

“He believes in the future” It’s amazing how different a film can feel when you put close to two decades behind your first viewing. When I watched Neil Jordan‘s The Crying Game as a teenager I did so to see what all the fuss was about. I already knew the “secret” and found it difficult to believe anyone couldn’t (in my defense, neither could Jaye Davidson‘s Dil inside the movie). But it was an intriguing tale just the same. The dynamic between captor (Stephen Rea‘s Fergus) and captive (Forest Whitaker‘s…

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REVIEW: Southpaw [2015]

“This is the talk you get when you lose not when you win” The origins of Southpaw are interesting because it was born from screenwriter Kurt Sutter‘s want to collaborate with Eminem. Now try to picture Marshall Mathers after peering upon any of the bloodied and crazed publicity stills of his replacement Jake Gyllenhaal without laughing. Sutter has said the boxing aspect of the script was meant as a metaphor for the rapper’s personal struggles and the fight for his daughter is exactly that. He hoped the project would prove…

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REVIEW: Lee Daniel’s The Butler [2013]

“To serving our country” I’d like to say it’s surprising how an Oscar nominated director like Lee Daniels can find trouble financing a film with the type of sprawling depiction of the civil rights movement The Butler (sorry Warner Bros., I’m ignoring your lawsuit) possesses, but one doesn’t have to look past the fact everything he’s done besides Precious was panned to understand why. The unfortunate death of original producer Laura Ziskin didn’t help matters either, but an innocuous tale that does history justice while not ruffling many feathers should…

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REVIEW: Out of the Furnace [2013]

“Let me make this right” I think Scott Cooper’s Out of the Furnace has been given a bad rap by the critical world. It’s slow, laborious, and perhaps not possessed with the freshest of plots, but there is still a palpable power driving it forward courtesy of fantastic performances and a starkly authentic depiction of a forsaken region not unlike Winter’s Bone’s Ozarks. Whether it’s the gradual shutdown of a blue-collar Braddock, PA way beyond its prime in today’s America or the backwoods justice of a lawless portion of New…

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Posterized Propaganda August 2013: ‘Elysium,’ ‘The World’s End,’ ‘Short Term 12′ & 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. Summer is coming to a close with a five-Friday August jam-packing all the leftover big budget actioners that have been biding their time to distance themselves from the likes of…

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REVIEW: The Hire [2001-2002]

“BMW recommends that you always wear your seatbelt” After watching the Parallel Lines series, my desire to revisit BMW’s The Hire was too much to contain. This thing was a cultural phenomenon, doing what no one had ever done, with a medium still untested at the time. Back in 2001, households across America were still learning about the internet; installing their dial-up connections to surf for mostly news articles and sites without too many images for quick access. Looking to tap into a market that could target its demographic of…

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