REVIEW: Booksmart [2019]

‘Your ugly’ what? Does Olivia Wilde‘s directorial debut Booksmart call to mind Superbad? You bet. Not only is it about two nerd best friends trying to punch above their weight class and party hard before graduating, but it also stars that film’s co-lead Jonah Hill‘s sister in a very similar mode. She (Beanie Feldstein‘s Molly) has just discovered (due to a ham-fisted loop-hole in plotting where students can’t reveal their collegiate destinations) that her slacker classmates somehow got accepted into Ivy League universities like her and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever). While…

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TIFF17 REVIEW: Kodachrome [2018]

“A hole that can’t be filled” The world doesn’t need another film about an irredeemable artist who forsook his wife and child for his art only to begrudgingly (and fearfully through too many years ravaged by narcissistic cynicism) seek a second chance on his deathbed. We’d accept one if it did something different, though. Maybe the son isn’t guilted into being the “better person.” Maybe the father understands everything he missed and realizes it wasn’t worth dying alone. Just please don’t lean into the cliché by saying the hundreds of…

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TIFF16 REVIEW: Colossal [2017]

“I’m sorry. It was a mistake. It won’t happen again.” Whether the existence of time travel or an alien invasion, writer/director Nacho Vigalondo has proven king at dealing with large-scale concepts affecting small-scale characters. Always looking to portray how genre catastrophes are handled by nobodies on the ground without government credentials or scientific degrees, he continues this trend again with his latest monster movie Colossal … for the most part. After certain truths are revealed, it’s easy to discover how two former classmates in a sleepy city with one watering…

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REVIEW: Sleeping with Other People [2015]

“Mousetrap” It has to overcome a pretty shaky start—mostly due to leads Jason Sudeikis (Jake) and Alison Brie (Lainey) playing Columbia undergrads—but Leslye Headlands‘ comedy Sleeping with Other People does prevail as quite the breath of fresh rom/com air. The plot isn’t groundbreaking, reconnecting two people twelve or so years after losing their virginity together for platonic shenanigans masking an underlying romance, but it does it with as much care for their tumultuous psyches as it does the inherent humor. When these two characters get on a roll their rapport…

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The 86th Oscars recap through tweets …

Welcome to the 86th Annual Academy Awards everyone! If you didn’t watch the festivities that occurred Sunday night at the Dolby Theatre you are probably a lot better off than most of us because it was a very lackluster affair. We all hoped Ellen DeGeneres would bring a fun, smart, witty return to her success with the 79th installment, but the reality ended up being one of the most dull and safe presentations in quite some time. I guess it wasn’t all bad, though, considering the Academy actually got most…

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REVIEW: We’re the Millers [2013]

“That’s my credo, ‘No Ragrets’” An R-rated comedy shouldn’t possess a PG-rated heart. This is We’re the Millers’ main problem in my mind because while the profanity-laced adventure has a ton of laughs, one can’t help shake the feeling that it’s targeted to a 13-16 age group who won’t be allowed to buy a ticket. Overt sexual innuendo and f-bombs don’t make up for a lack of anything else that would render screenwriting teams Bob Fisher and Steve Faber or Sean Anders and John Morris to need an R for…

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REVIEW: Epic [2013]

“Moist is what we do” Children’s author—and Academy Award winning animated short film director—William Joyce continues to make his rounds throughout the industry’s ever-expanding studio ranks with an adaptation of his book The Leaf Men and The Brave Good Bugs with Blue Sky. Having already seen his work turned into feature length films with Pixar (Meet the Robinsons) and DreamWorks (Rise of the Guardians), it’s no surprise he would reteam with Ice Age director Chris Wedge in a larger creative capacity than was had as production designer on Robots. While…

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Posterized Propaganda September 2011: Misfires countered by fearlessness

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact that 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. September is the start of the film festival season. Unsurprisingly, while Toronto, Venice, and New York debut the flicks we’ve been waiting all year to see, the box office…

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REVIEW: Horrible Bosses [2011]

“How you like ‘dem nipples?” I had such high hopes. Between Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, and Charlie Day being the leads, Kevin Spacey, Colin Farrell, and Jennifer Aniston the supporters, and Jamie Foxx as the comedy’s comic relief, how could it have gone wrong? It must have been the writing, right? The trio tasked to tackle this tale of men trapped in jobs with the worst bosses possible, who hatch a plan to murder them all, ended up falling prey to the easy desire of catering the characters to the…

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REVIEW: Hall Pass [2011]

“Anyone thinking chocolate chip cookie dough on a waffle cone?” It’s a shame that Peter and Bobby Ferrelly never realized their time had come and gone by 1998 with Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin, and There’s Something About Mary—you don’t get much better in the stupid comedy field than that trio. 2003 gave hope they might have found a way to balance their crude, crass, potty humor with comedy’s new, more subtle 21st century ways as Stuck on You was surprisingly good, but, alas, hope died. And now the brothers try…

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REVIEW: Going the Distance [2010]

“Dan, take me to Berlin” Acclaimed director—and Buffalo, NY native—Nanette Burstein has finally made her way to the world of fictional film. After helming the documentary The Kid Stays in the Picture about producer Robert Evans, one could say she took a step towards narrative with American Teen, a real-life look into today’s high schools and just how close John Hughes got The Breakfast Club. I remember some talk about staging and scripting reactions to make it all more cinematically interesting, but whether true or not, the film was a…

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