REVIEW: The Public [2019]

Books saved my life. It’s the same tragic story. Another unarmed Black man is killed by the police. Another White man takes an arsenal into a school, campus, or place of worship before opening fire on unarmed innocents. The media takes these headlines, packages them together with thoughts and prayers, and uses the ratings to continue peddling their editorializing as news until another such event inevitably occurs yet again. And what do we have to show for it all? Besides a growing anger at the political injustices and vile rhetoric…

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REVIEW: The Neon Demon [2016]

“Are you food or are you sex” Fame: all that’s glittered and gold, the intrinsic “it” quality we’d kill for but never do. That aura with an expiration date; beauty, confidence, radiance, and whatever other label outsiders use to transform you into a commodity to be bought, sold, and exploited within the tiny window before someone younger takes your place. This is Nicolas Winding Refn‘s The Neon Demon, an unexplainable concept jumping person to person without definition or discernment. It consumes the souls of unwitting vessels, makes them and breaks…

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REVIEW: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

“They chose you” With The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 officially in the books I’m confident in saying Suzanne Collins‘ dystopic trilogy will hold up as one of the most successfully faithful cinematic adaptations ever. And a big part of that is the decision to make it into four movies because, as anyone who’s read the novels knows, Mockingjay is a dense work with little fat where its political and emotional intrigue are concerned. Any issues stem from Lionsgate’s misguided choice of putting a full year’s wait in between…

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REVIEW: Time Out of Mind [2015]

“She’s coming back” One of the easiest things we can do in modern society is marginalize strangers. To laugh and assume we know what has transpired to place some nameless soul in his/her current position only takes a second devoid of context whereas beginning a conversation requires so much more. We reject compassion because it necessitates effort when we’re too busy dealing with our own troubles to carve out time for someone else. That leaves two options: ignore his/her plight altogether or transform him/her into some form of personal entertainment.…

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REVIEW: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire [2013]

“Remember who the real enemy is” The aspect author Suzanne Collins included in Catching Fire that was more or less absent in The Hunger Games can be summed up with the above quote. While Panem’s dystopia provided a common antagonist for the surviving twelve districts of a revolution their Capital won seventy-four years previous, the series’ first installment relied almost exclusively upon whether its heroine Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) would survive her adversaries in the titular games. Yes, the political unrest was at the constructed mythology’s back, but the ultimate…

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REVIEW: For Ellen [2012]

“She didn’t complain or send the law after me or anything” Looking to reconcile her feelings about being a successful parent, wife, and filmmaker with her child turning two, writer/director So Yong Kim decided to delve into the all too common reality that some only can do so when it is too late. Taking from her own experience growing up fatherless—only having ever seen him once at the age of five—her film For Ellen finds itself attempting to not decipher why someone would leave, but instead show the moment when…

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REVIEW: Dakota [2012]

“You find a way to afford the horse” Writer/director Ami Canaan Mann‘s WIGS network three-part series Dakota has the potential to be an intriguing gender reversal for the subject of high stakes poker. One generally thinks Rounders, The Sting, House of Games or many other male-centric vehicles when it comes to players putting it all on the line for a quick score in the best of times and a reprieve from a loan shark’s brutality in the worst. Poker films use women as distractions, schemers, and accomplices. So, listening to…

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REVIEW: Sucker Punch [2011]

“It will be a deep sacrifice and a perfect victory” If you’re going to make an R-rated film, you better well do so. Zack Snyder is a director who has been given the green-light to go for broke on all his adult-fare, (I exclude Legend of the Guardians from his oeuvre here), towards box office glory. So, when the time came for his passion project, you’d believe the studios would sit back and let him weave his magic. But then came Watchmen’s fiscal failure and questions about the man’s true…

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REVIEW: The Soloist [2009]

“You couldn’t stop that earthquake” Director Joe Wright’s new film The Soloist seemed an odd follow up to his great Pride and Prejudice and Atonement adaptations. To go from a period drama to a WWII romance to … the discovery of a homeless Julliard dropout on the streets of LA isn’t quite the trajectory I had envisioned him on the path towards. However, once seen, you can’t help but acknowledge his stamp all over it. With a deft use of stunning visuals, the inclusion of a couple trademark long takes…

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REVIEW: Pride and Prejudice [2005]

“You have bewitched me, body and soul” Joe Wright’s Pride and Prejudice is a truly solid bit of filmmaking. I can’t say whether it is a good adaptation or not, being I have not read the novel nor seen the other film treatments, however, as a piece of work in its own right, it succeeds on all accounts. Gorgeous to look at, this debut shows all the signs of the greatness he was to achieve with this year’s Atonement. From multiple long takes, sweeping through the scenery, choreographed to perfection…

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REVIEW: The United States of Leland [2003]

“How much time is wasted by crying and prayer?” Maybe people do like having the devil around more than God. Maybe we like that safety net of a reason; making a mistake only to blame the devil for the pain and suffering in the world. There is so much hardship, spilling out into the masses, that it is difficult to not see the sadness on the faces of all you pass. Leland P. Fitzgerald understands all of this; he knows that maybe everything won’t be ok, and maybe helping someone…

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