REVIEW: What They Had [2018]

Is that my baby? Norbert Eberhardt (Robert Forster) is a loving, generous man who literally swept the woman of his dreams (Blythe Danner‘s Ruth) off her feet to start a decades-long romance that produced two children (Hilary Swank‘s Bridget and Michael Shannon‘s Nick), two grandkids (Taissa Farmiga‘s Emma being one), and unforgettable memories … until they’re forgotten. Ruth has Alzheimer’s and things have devolved to the point where Burt can’t handle doing everything he willingly, admirably, and compassionately does for her. But she’s “his girl” and he takes the whole…

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REVIEW: Logan Lucky [2017]

“Did you just say cauliflower to me?” The story is as follows: Steven Soderbergh—while on hiatus from feature films (previously known as retirement)—received a script from a mutual friend of his and screenwriter Rebecca Blunt (who might not be a real person). He fell in love with its stripped down Ocean’s 11 feel devoid of the posh financial backing robbing casinos needs and knew he’d regret handing it off to a recommended contemporary instead of helming it himself. Soderbergh therefore sat on this hillbilly heist gem until his show (“The…

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REVIEW: The Homesman [2014]

“God will strike you down” I didn’t necessarily love The Homesman, but it’s hard not to respect it. This is a dark story in the desolate Mid-West with outlaw justice and remorseless murder surrounding the charitably selfless journey of Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank) and the three crazed women she’s taking across the Missouri into Iowa so they can be cared for under reasonable conditions. It can’t have been an easy adaptation of Glendon Swarthout‘s novel for director Tommy Lee Jones and his co-writers Kieran Fitzgerald and Wesley A. Oliver…

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REVIEW: New Year’s Eve [2011]

“Did he just snap me in a maternity ward?” So many questions I never knew I had were answered last night during a packed house screening of New Year’s Eve. A spiritual sequel to last year’s Valentine’s Day, director Garry Marshall, writer Katherine Fugate, and at least three actors playing different characters return. Besides learning the general masses savor broad-stroked comedy when it’s spoon-fed to them, I also discovered trite generic love to be their fantasy dream-come-true of choice. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised since this film received…

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Picking Winners at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards

Spree contributing writer William Altreuter, graphic designer Jared Mobarak, and I are going to share our thoughts on this week’s Oscar nominations. Let’s kick things off with a category whose victor—Colin “Mr. Darcy” Firth—seems to have already been agreed upon. — Christopher Schobert Best Actor:Javier Bardem: BiutifulJeff Bridges: True GritJesse Eisenberg: The Social NetworkColin Firth: The King’s SpeechJames Franco: 127 Hours William Altreuter: If the Academy had wanted to make a statement Jim Carrey‘s amazing turn in I Love You Phillip Morris would have found its way onto this list. Wouldn’t that…

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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: Conviction [2010]

“She’s the other old lady in my class” After steady television work and three forgettable romantic features, actor-turned-director Tony Goldwyn has taken a giant leap forward in his progression as the man behind the scenes. Delving into the true-life story of Betty Anne Waters, via a script by Pamela Gray—who also wrote his debut—Conviction premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival with some Oscar buzz behind it. With a plotline concerning a woman’s drive to free her brother—in jail on a life sentence for murder—by going to college and eventually…

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REVIEW: The Black Dahlia [2006]

“Fire and Ice” I will preface this review with the fact that I am a big Brian De Palma apologist. I have not seen a movie by him that I didn’t like. Whether mainstream hits like Scarface and The Untouchables, indie favs like Sisters and Femme Fatale, or even the surreal camp that is The Phantom of the Paradise, I love them all. Therefore I tried to disregard all the bad press surrounding The Black Dahlia’s release as I figured no matter how bad people thought it was I would…

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