REVIEW: Zeroville [2019]

Your head precedes you. An autistic architecture student at a seminary in Pennsylvania watches his first ever film (A Place in the Sun) and has an experience akin to hearing the voice of God. This new world is opened to Jerome “Vikar” Isaac and he decides he needs to be a part of it. So he travels to Hollywood with the model of a church he constructed under his arm, arriving in this wonderland of magic twenty years too late. The Hollywood of 1970 simply isn’t the same one that…

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REVIEW: Widows [2018]

This isn’t your world. When the first trailer for Widows dropped, I thought, “Steve McQueen is branching out to genre fare now.” This wasn’t a slight, just an observation. I obviously wanted to see it, but thought I could wait before the notes out of TIFF declared it a must-see. Suddenly I needed to reevaluate my perception of what this thing was behind its marketing push. Would there be more than just revenge and heist-based thrills? Would this be a slower burn a la co-writer Gillian Flynn‘s novels augmented by…

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TIFF REVIEW: Out of Blue [2019]

You can tell a lot by looking. It’s comforting to discover that the Martin Amis novel Carol Morley‘s Out of Blue adapts is considered a “comedic parody” because I couldn’t wrap my head around the blatant noir affectation she had her stellar cast provide. If Night Train was actually meant as a serious detective story, I’d almost have to agree with the hyperbolic response of one audience member upon leaving: “That was The Room level of awful.” I found the remark too harsh at the time and more so now,…

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TIFF16 REVIEW: Goldstone [2016]

“This land ain’t no place for a young girl” Another missing girl has Detective Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen) on the move while the world continues to turn a blind eye. This time it isn’t an aboriginal, though, the aftermath of his work in Mystery Road culminating in a shootout with everyone dead but he a distant memory. The case that has him traveling to Goldstone concerns a young Chinese girl, her place in the desert a curiosity Jay cannot ignore. Haunted by demons that go much farther back than anything…

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REVIEW: The Voices [2015]

“I know karate” Don’t let the wide-eyed giddiness of Ryan Reynolds‘ Jerry Hickfang fool you. There’s darkness inside him that simply hasn’t yet been coaxed out into the open. It may take a little while to see it in full force so you can truly comprehend what is going on with the Edward Scissorhands-esque bright colors and smiling faces version of warped small town suburbia, but it will be an eye-opening revelation when it does. What this means too is that you need to try and not let Reynolds’ broad…

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REVIEW: Stoker [2013]

“We are not responsible for what we have come to be” Despite being a new venture for both screenwriter and director, Stoker is the type of film that sticks with you whether you want it to or not. There’s an unsettling feeling from the first frame with Mia Wasikowska‘s India talking in voiceover as she roams through an overgrown field, spouting omnisciently philosophical musings while the image hitches as each credit appears. Clint Mansell‘s score helps create a foreboding sense of dread leading perfectly into the disembodied, blood-curdling scream that…

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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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Picking Winners at the 85th Annual Academy Awards

Supporting Actress:Amy Adams: The MasterSally Field: LincolnAnne Hathaway: Les MisérablesHelen Hunt: The SessionsJacki Weaver: Silver Linings Playbook William Altreuter: It often seems to me that the Best Supporting categories are where the most interesting things are to be found in the Academy Award nominations, and this year is proving me right. What we often get—especially with Best Actress in a Supporting Role—are performances that really carry the movie, even though we tend not to notice. We also get actresses showing us what they can do against type, and that display of craft and professionalism is frequently rewarded. The…

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TIFF12 REVIEW: Silver Linings Playbook [2012]

“Is that song really playing?” I know it’s misguided, but my interest in David O. Russell films kind of ended after The Fighter. This was a guy who used to pave his own path with challenging material and comedies that made you think. It’s not even that I disliked his true-life boxing tale—actually I loved it. But where was the eccentricity? Where was the promise of subversive insanity that his sadly unfinished Nailed possessed? He showed he had the skills for the big time and I’m ecstatic he now has…

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REVIEW: The Five-Year Engagement [2012]

“The Taxman waits for no one” Writer/actor Jason Segel and writer/director Nicholas Stoller have been working with each other for years now, both cementing their membership in Judd Apatow‘s comedic entourage on “Undeclared”. It was their first cinematic collaboration—Forgetting Sarah Marshall—however, that put them on the map as a creative team worth keeping in the recesses of your mind for light bulbs of clarity to illuminate when hearing their names in trailers. The film was a perfect mix of charm, hilarity, and crude behavior that was sadly unmatched with Stoller’s…

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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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