REVIEW: The Beach Bum [2019]

Chase the moon. It’s as though writer/director Harmony Korine breathed life into a Jimmy Buffett song with his latest film The Beach Bum considering how effortlessly it allows its lead character Moondog (Matthew McConaughey) to skate by in the moment with a laissez-faire attitude balanced atop the simple desire to have fun. The musician even cameos as himself, lounging around R&B singer Rie’s (Snoop Dogg) yacht while surrounded by naked women. But even though the script is bare bones and devoid of narrative drive beyond allowing Moondog to move from…

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REVIEW: The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part [2019]

Listen to the music. A film like The LEGO Movie is a once-in-a-decade type achievement (so to see its filmmakers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller also write/produce another once-in-a-decade feat with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse only shows how inventive and original the two are). It daring to use its subject matter’s tactility and utility rather than pretend its nothing more than aesthetic was an ingenious choice, the surprise lifting of the curtain to reveal a human element behind the characters’ machinations the stuff of legend. So the inevitable demand for…

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REVIEW: How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World [2019]

There’s no better gift than love. It’s not often a studio as big as Dreamworks goes on record to say the third installment of a critically acclaimed series and box office success will be its last. Why paint yourself into a corner like that when the possibility for more is right at your fingertips? Dare I say the answer is integrity? I know. That’s not a word you hear much in Hollywood, but I have to believe it’s the reasoning behind Dean DeBlois‘ adaptation of Cressida Cowell‘s How to Train…

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TIFF18 REVIEW: Mid90s [2018]

“I don’t kiss and tell” The summer between middle school and high school is a formative one for any kid. There’s this sense of moving away from childhood and towards young adulthood—of needing to act older to fit in considering the pecking order has restarted with you down at the bottom. Factor in a sibling who’s already gone through this transition (living to remind you of this fact with his penchant for brutal abuse you’re too naïve to realize is his own insecurity seeking an easy target to work out…

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REVIEW: War Dogs [2016]

“What would a bad man do?” Of course director Todd Phillips would gravitate towards a Rolling Stone article titled “The Stoner Arms Dealers.” If the man behind The Hangover trilogy was ever going to delve into more dramatic territory a la contemporary Adam McKay and last year’s The Big Short, Guy Lawson‘s piece on two twenty-somethings who landed huge military contracts with the US government before federal indictments was the perfect segue. It’s as though the characters from his Old School decided to make connections with black market arms organizations…

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REVIEW: Hail, Caesar! [2016]

“It’s all in the hips, the lips, the eyes, and the thighs” You don’t think much when you read the Coen Brothers have been bouncing Hail, Caesar! around since 2004. After all, they’re prolific auteurs that often write scripts for other directors, so a decade-long gestation period is nothing to scoff at. Only when you learn the idea was little more than an idea that you start wondering about the final product. Maybe they loved that initial pitch so much the words simply poured out over the last couple years.…

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REVIEW: How to Train Your Dragon 2 [2014]

“What you’re searching for is in here” With ten children’s books already published—and two more planned—Cressida Cowell has given Dreamworks animation a ton of material to adapt whether adhered to religiously or not. Their success on How to Train Your Dragon caught many off guard while earning a place in the hearts of children and adults alike on the way to two Oscar nominations and a television series spin-off. The announcement of a sequel was therefore inevitable, the idea to craft it into a trilogy unsurprising as well besides the…

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REVIEW: 22 Jump Street [2014]

“Something cool!” I really wished 22 Jump Street‘s one-note joke would sustain. I really did. I even forgave the first thirty minutes lulling me to sleep with cute references to its increased production budget courtesy of its prequel’s surprise financial success like carbon copy beats built bigger and Korean Jesus getting replaced by his Vietnamese brethren. Sadly, however, I knew it never could. The joke’s funny because it’s self-deprecating and true, but at a certain point you must expand beyond “meta”. Dare I say The Hangover Part II was better…

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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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Top Ten Films of 2013: A year in cinema to write home about

2013 has been a banner year for cinema with a slew of quality pictures that makes you wonder how only nine got enough first place votes to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. Most of my favorites could have filled that elusive tenth spot for some added acclaim—whether having a chance to win or not. I hadn’t even seen a good chunk of these until the calendar flipped to 2014, the sheer amount of winners was too vast. And after only awarding three films a 10/10 rating last year,…

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Picking Winners at the 86th Annual Academy Awards

The Oscars are generally quite boring, since we often know well in advance what is going to win Best Picture, Director, etc. But this year? Not so much. Sure, there are heavy favorites — see below. But it is entirely possible there will be some real surprises. Of course, I could be completely wrong. But if I am, hopefully Bill Altreuter and Jared Mobarak will be right. And away we go … —Chris Best ActorBruce Dern: NebraskaChiwetel Ejiofor: 12 Years a SlaveMatthew McConaughey: Dallas Buyers ClubLeonardo DiCaprio: The Wolf of Wall StreetChristian Bale: American Hustle…

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