REVIEW: Carnal Knowledge [1971]

“I’m being pressured into it” When Tony, Grammy, and Oscar winning director Mike Nichols says your play is better suited for the silver screen, you listen. That’s what screenwriter Jules Feiffer did after showing the legend (who’d eventually complete his EGOT with an Emmy in 2001) his latest work Carnal Knowledge. That doesn’t mean the film doesn’t still play like it was made for the stage with only two leads and two supporting roles possessing substance, though. Nichols was simply no stranger to adding scope and locale to an already…

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REVIEW: Réalité [Reality] [2015]

“The insides serve no purpose” This is what it’s like to go insane. Writer/director Quentin Dupieux loves the surreal and absurd, but Réalité [Reality] takes his penchant for humorous oddity to another level. With Philip Glass‘ “Music with Changing Parts” boring a hole into your temple and fluid sequences of characters meeting in real time or via some from of media projection (and sometimes both at once), the filmmaker revels in keeping his audience off balance and unsure. The beauty of it this time, though, is how he provides us…

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Picking Winners at the 86th Annual Academy Awards

The Oscars are generally quite boring, since we often know well in advance what is going to win Best Picture, Director, etc. But this year? Not so much. Sure, there are heavy favorites — see below. But it is entirely possible there will be some real surprises. Of course, I could be completely wrong. But if I am, hopefully Bill Altreuter and Jared Mobarak will be right. And away we go … —Chris Best ActorBruce Dern: NebraskaChiwetel Ejiofor: 12 Years a SlaveMatthew McConaughey: Dallas Buyers ClubLeonardo DiCaprio: The Wolf of Wall StreetChristian Bale: American Hustle…

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REVIEW: Nebraska [2013]

“Two goddamn days … from Billings?” I didn’t like About Schmidt. I remember very little about why or the film itself, but I do remember that. It should therefore be no surprise I didn’t necessarily love director Alexander Payne‘s latest Nebraska either since in my estimation they’re very similar works. He was actually approached with Bob Nelson‘s screenplay while filming the Jack Nicholson starrer, agreeing to helm it as long as he could put distance behind his next obligation—Sideways—so as not to make two road movies in a row. Nine…

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The 85th Oscars recap through tweets …

@jaredmobarak • and the #Oscars begin … #[email protected] • SUCCESS!! Tommy Lee Jones smiles! #[email protected] • poor Don Cheadle #Oscars13 Welcome to the 85th annual Academy Awards from the newly renamed Dolby Theatre. Bankruptcy is a drag, ain’t it Kodak? Hopes were high after host Seth MacFarlane‘s surprisingly hilarious Ted made me wonder if the dude wasn’t the real deal after all. A poor man’s Ricky Gervais, the Academy was probably wise in going for the watered-down Americanized version of unbridled snark because one would think the “Family Guy” creator…

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Posterized Propaganda August 2012: A Summer Lull

“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. August isn’t fooling around with a ton of releases spanning both big budget and independent productions. I couldn’t even begin to talk about them all here—sorry Sparkle—but there sadly aren’t…

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REVIEW: How Do You Know [2010]

“We are all just one small adjustment away from making our lives work” The man doesn’t direct much—he averages almost five years between films—but James L. Brooks still holds intrigue with each release. Broadcast News is a classic, As Good As It Gets very good, and Terms of Endearment beloved, although I find it merely okay and overrated. His last film, Spanglish, actually entertained at a decently high level too, making me overlook the overwhelming number of average or below notes from critics on How Do You Know. Admittedly, the…

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REVIEW: The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre [1967]

“I gotta go pay a bill” Known to me by his “King of B-Movies” reputation, Roger Corman was always a guy I equated with low-budget horror. So, it was a surprise to see him as director of The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, a film steeped in the historical fiction of late-1920s American gang warfare. It’s Al Capone versus Bugs Moran, both vying to control the dissemination and profit of prohibition speakeasy alcohol, each looking to rid themselves of irksome competition while acquiring vengeance for body counts accumulated on either side.…

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The 83rd Oscars recap through tweets …

@jaredmobarak • Oscar time … congrats to The King’s Speech … why bother with the show when everyone thinks they know the winner? The 83rd Annual Academy Awards ceremony was quite possibly its worst incarnation the past decade. And things finally seemed to be going the right way. Hugh Jackman was fun; Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were lukewarm, but the show was fun; and Neil Patrick Harris is Neil Patrick Harris. NPH can do no wrong. Much in that vein, I thought the pairing of James Franco and Anne…

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REVIEW: Something’s Gotta Give [2003]

“Sorry, you’re granddad will be okay” Being given Something’s Gotta Give because of what my friend said were major similarities to Nancy Meyers’s latest film It’s Complicated, I wasn’t prepared for Crazy Town’s ‘Butterfly’ to be blaring amongst a collage of beautiful women using their wiles to gain access to nightclubs and turn heads on the streets at the start. But then Jack Nicholson’s voiceover enters the fray and it starts to make sense being he is a hip hop mogul with a penchant for women under 30—as in he’s…

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REVIEW: Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired [2008]

“A judge’s greedy powertrip” We all know director Roman Polanski as that guy whose wife was murdered by the Manson Family, a brilliant artist with films such as Chinatown, and a statutory rapist who fled the country and never returned. Amidst the controversial win of Best Director for The Pianist in 2002, I finally discovered the hoopla of it all; how he was given permission from a 13 year old’s mother to take photographs and how she knew what kind of life he lived yet did what she could to…

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