REVIEW: Anastasia [1997]

In the dark of the night she’ll be gone. In a fantasy world where royalty was adored as idyllically benevolent leaders thinking only about how to protect and serve their people, the Romanovs were betrayed by the evil Rasputin (Christopher Lloyd) who subsequently consorted with the Devil to wield dark magic powerful enough to curse their entire bloodline to death. His goal was to eradicate them and seize control, but things didn’t go quite as planned. And although the princess Anastasia (Kirsten Dunst) narrowly escaped his grasp when he fell…

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REVIEW: The Grifters [1990]

“He was so crooked he could eat soup with a corkscrew” My first Stephen Frears film was High Fidelity and I loved it. A couple years later came Dirty Pretty Things and my reaction was the same. Here was a director I must keep tabs on as well as peer back towards everything pre-2000 to make sure I knew which titles to search out. The one that popped out most—despite still taking me twelve years to finally watch it—was The Grifters. Its pedigree was impeccable with a pulpy noir style…

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REVIEW: Chi-Raq [2015]

“Land of pain, misery and strife” I can comfortably forget Da Sweet Blood of Jesus happened—Spike Lee‘s ambitious yet disappointing Kickstarted vampire flick—now that it appears the director’s back on track with Chi-Raq‘s musical satire. I don’t get around to every Lee “joint” but it’s probably not far-fetched to say this is his best since 25th Hour. Unsurprisingly the two share a common political bent, speaking on a shift in perception as chaos reigns in America. That 2002 film was a post-9/11 comment while this 2015 release puts the “Black…

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REVIEW: Love & Mercy [2015]

“Lonely scared frightened” The best part of a Rock and Roll Music History class that I took in college was learning just how influential The Beach Boys were to music at large. I knew the songs and enjoyed them, but how could surfer pop be held in the same regard as The Beatles? It didn’t make sense. But then we dove into the intricacies of the music’s construction and Brian Wilson‘s insane ideas in the studio. We listened to Rubber Soul, Pet Sounds, and beyond to catch where one band…

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REVIEW: Maps to the Stars [2014]

“… Liberty” There are many versions of Hollywood I would never wish to live within—including the real one—but it appears those crafted by Bruce Wagner might be the most nightmarishly hedonistic, vile, and depressingly pathetic. A man who grew up in Los Angeles via Wisconsin and probably experienced many of the selfish acts of depravity he cynically puts to paper first hand, it says something about his artistic merits that he was able to write and direct two films (both based on what must be a sprawling novel I’m Losing…

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REVIEW: Lee Daniel’s The Butler [2013]

“To serving our country” I’d like to say it’s surprising how an Oscar nominated director like Lee Daniels can find trouble financing a film with the type of sprawling depiction of the civil rights movement The Butler (sorry Warner Bros., I’m ignoring your lawsuit) possesses, but one doesn’t have to look past the fact everything he’s done besides Precious was panned to understand why. The unfortunate death of original producer Laura Ziskin didn’t help matters either, but an innocuous tale that does history justice while not ruffling many feathers should…

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Posterized Propaganda August 2013: ‘Elysium,’ ‘The World’s End,’ ‘Short Term 12′ & More

“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. Summer is coming to a close with a five-Friday August jam-packing all the leftover big budget actioners that have been biding their time to distance themselves from the likes of…

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Posterized Propaganda June 2013: The Apocalypse is Nigh With ‘Man of Steel,’ ‘World War Z,’ ‘This is the End’ & More

“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. Summer continues chugging along with the America and/or Earth threatened by destruction at every turn. Whether comic book adaptations, zombie wars, terrorist assaults or a giant pit opening up to…

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Posterized Propaganda January 2013: The Top 10 Movie Posters of 2012

“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. Another year is complete and the time has come to revisit the best one-sheets that did all they could to help their films achieve box office glory. Unsurprising to those…

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Posterized Propaganda October 2012: Summer Excess and Festival Freshness

“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. Summer is over and the studios still have a few genre flicks to unload before the arthouse, festival favorites begin rolling out. Oh, and Halloween is here too. The sad…

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REVIEW: Better Off Dead… [1985]

“Aww. Buck up little cowboy” I’m not quite sure what I expected from Better Off Dead, but its complete disregard for any sense of authentic reality was a surprisingly welcome concept. Films from the 80s are notorious for their off-kilter presentation, breaking of the fourth wall, and change of pace hyper-real situations bordering on or actually portraying scenes of fantasy, yet few embrace actual cartoon aesthetic like Savage Steve Holland‘s feature debut. He injects daydreams into the action, quirky side characters popping up for no other reason than a laugh,…

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