REVIEW: Memory: The Origins of Alien [2019]

It lives in our dreams. Here’s the thing you should know up-front: Alexandre O. Philippe‘s Memory: The Origins of Alien doesn’t break new ground. No crazy revelations unknown before the documentary began production are discovered. Instead we get first-hand accounts of the struggles to get Alien made, the communal artistic synergy that ultimately helped propel it (the majority of talking head interviews), what it was like to be on-set as an actor (Tom Skerritt and Veronica Cartwright are the only participants save archival comments from John Hurt), and how critics,…

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REVIEW: The Man Who Killed Don Quixote [2019]

You think explaining explains anything? I’ve just finished watching it and yet I still can’t believe Terry Gilliam actually completed The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. If you told me I had dreamt it all I would give pause because it’s been over twenty years in the making and its cursed production schedules have become something I relied upon. First he wanted to do a straight adaptation of Miguel de Cervantes‘ novel only to have it fall through. Then came the flash flood and insurance nightmare documented in Keith Fulton…

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REVIEW: 설국열차 [Snowpiercer] [2013]

“Is it time?” When talk surrounding the US release of Kar Wai Wong‘s The Grandmaster erupted in controversy about a truncated cut from the Weinsteins, cinephiles across the nation couldn’t help but let depression set in. Even so, no one could have been surprised by the decision because Harvey Scissorhands likes to streamline story for action whenever he can to trick American audiences into seeing a foreign film they wouldn’t otherwise care about. So when the same rumors started swirling around Bong Joon-ho‘s Snowpiercer, you had to fear for the…

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Posterized Propaganda June 2014: ‘Snowpiercer,’ ‘The Rover,’ ‘Venus in Fur’ & 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. It’s no surprise a month like June doesn’t possess the best posters for blockbuster releases. No one readying to visit a theater for summer popcorn carnage cares if the advertisement…

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REVIEW: Only Lovers Left Alive [2014]

“A diamond emitting the music of a giant gong” In the age of Twilight its good to know an auteur like Jim Jarmusch can render contemporary vampires as the romantic ideals of immortality, wisdom, and survival any thought-provoking interpretation should. Gone is the CW brood from “The Vampire Diaries”, ostentatious displays of supernatural power courtesy of “True Blood”, and the heightened sexuality of all their bloodsucking quasi-porn sizzle. Replacing them is a dying breed of intellectual artists held over from centuries gone, men and women without interest in the current…

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REVIEW: Alien [1979]

“What is Special Order 937?” When you hear the title Alien, images are conjured up of Bill Paxton having a mental breakdown, Lance Henriksen rapidly stabbing a knife through his fingers, and Sigourney Weaver‘s Ripley inside a mechanical forklift suit engaging a slobbering, hulking monster. The most fascinating thing about this comes not from how iconic the franchise has become, but instead the realization that none of these moments occurred in the original film. Somehow James Cameron‘s action-packed sequel has usurped its predecessor’s slow, cerebral horror in our consciousness to…

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REVIEW: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy [2011]

“Smiley leaves with me” When I first heard about Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy I didn’t think it had a chance of living up to my expectations. It possessed an all-star cast, was director Tomas Alfredson‘s English-language follow-up to the brilliant Let the Right One In, and was adapted from an espionage thriller by John le Carré—the novelist of another personal favorite, The Constant Gardener. An unforgettable marketing campaign piqued my interest with stunning character posters composed of number and letter strands color-coded to create each face and the never-ending praise…

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REVIEW: Immortals [2011]

“Witness hell!” With the most recent forays into mythology coming in the form of a boring Troy and misguided Clash of the Titans, seeing the name Tarsem Singh attached to Immortals brought a smile to my face. Originally titled Dawn of War and War of the Gods before settling on its current name, the director sought to deliver a bloody epic in the style of a Renaissance painting—the flowing light of the Gods’ capes and fluid motion of action a real treat. And if you’ve seen his previous work The…

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TIFF11 REVIEW: Melancholia [2011]

“Two million and six beans” Director Lars von Trier has never been easily accessible. Part of his genius is the ability to go places others might not dare, shoot imagery no one else could even fathom, and push his actors into authentic performances that risk sending them into the same psychological tailspin as their characters. So you can just imagine how unique his vision of the apocalypse would be. It would portray emotionally unstable people as they near their end. It would expose the underbelly of familial strife. Portray the…

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The Most Anticipated Films of 2011

While Jon Favreau may say that 2011 looks to have a bloodbath summer on its hands with blockbusters galore taking 3D screens from each other, I’ll say right now that those aren’t the movies most intriguing me. Next year sees a return for Jack Sparrow, Lightning McQueen, Holmes and Watson, the Witwickys, Ethan Hunt, and, of course, everyone’s favorite Ghostface. Superheroes are king once more with Avengers, Mutants, and a delayed and beleaguered Black Beauty coming as well as our once beloved comedian Adam Sandler not only starring in a…

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REVIEW: The Limits of Control [2009]

“Two espressos in separate cups” What do you get when you pair a minimalist such as Jim Jarmusch with a genius cinematographer in Christopher Doyle? The answer is a stunning work of art, starkly beautiful in its compositions and intelligently obtuse in its storytelling. Much like the director’s other films for which I’ve had the pleasure of seeing, The Limits of Control is about one man’s spiritual journey. Sometimes his movies have a more straightforward focus in plot, (Ghost Dog or Broken Flowers), but other instances are more metaphysical and…

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