REVIEW: Havoc [2005]

There is a monetary zone of geography which we’re not allowed to pass. I can’t help wondering what Havoc might have been if Jessica Kaplan had the means to make it herself in the 90s like today’s aspiring filmmakers can thanks to affordable technology. She was seventeen when she sold her script “The Powers That Be” based on what she experienced growing up in West Los Angeles. It appears she was more or less the role Matt O’Leary plays (Eric)—an observer trying to understand why these rich white kids are…

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TIFF16 REVIEW: Snowden [2016]

“Secrecy is security and security is victory” Remakes repackaging foreign films for American audiences are justifiable if done correctly. I’d hope our movie-going public would willingly read subtitles and experience the original artist’s vision, but we don’t live in a utopia. Dramatizing non-fiction work is equally acceptable in specific circumstances because a narrative built from talking head interviews is sometimes easier to parse and appreciate than those disparate accounts alone. Where I take umbrage with this trend is when Hollywood uses a documentary—an Oscar-winning documentary no less—and literally re-enacts it…

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REVIEW: The Walk [2015]

“The carrots are cooked” I’ve yet to watch the Oscar-winning documentary Man on Wire, but it’s hard not to get swept up in its daredevil intrigue. Depicting the “artistic crime of the century,” Frenchman Philippe Petit illegally hung a wire between the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers and walked across multiple times to the dismay of New York City police officers on either side begging him to stop. Nik Wallenda may be the latest wire-walker to make international headlines—a man whose family has seen tragedy befall those taking up the…

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Posterized Propaganda August 2014: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ ‘Sin City,’ ‘Starred Up,’ and 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. 2014 soldiers on and the poster selection just gets worse. Luckily the films themselves haven’t been as uninspired. Or maybe they have. After all, this summer is down almost 19%…

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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: Short Term 12 [2013]

“Oh. That’s the piece of avocado in your beard.” Other films cropping up into your memory while watching something new can either be a sign that originality in cinema is officially dead or the realization you’re about to experience greatness. The latter happened to me during Short Term 12 and I’m talking like ten minutes in after affable veteran Mason (John Gallagher Jr.) finishes telling newbie Nate (Rami Malek) about his second day as a line staff employee at the group home for at-risk teenagers behind them before having to…

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REVIEW: Don Jon [2013]

“I lose myself” I will say this: Don Jon is not quite what I expected. While the trailers do a good job showing off the surface objectification first-time writer/director Joseph Gordon-Levitt infuses into the comedy, it doesn’t speak to the film’s heart. Rather than simply a 90-minute romp of Jersey accents and pretty people arguing over whether porn is disgusting or not, this is a journey of discovery wherein Jon (Gordon-Levitt) evolves into a man. Yes, such a statement couldn’t sound more cliché if I tried, but that doesn’t mean…

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Posterized Propaganda September 2013: ‘Prisoners,’ ‘Rush,’ ‘Riddick’ & 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. Festival season is upon us, so forgive me if I’m more concerned with the films whose posters will be included in future posts than those releasing now. That’s not saying…

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REVIEW: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra [2009]

“Duke wasn’t born, he was government issued” Growing up during the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles heyday meant some of the classic toys were neglected in my youth. I had Transformers—although I never watched the cartoon to think of them as anything more than cars turning into robots—and loved Voltron if only for the fact each of the five components fit together for more power. Minus hand-me-down Hot Wheels, their diminutive spawn Micro Machines, and the odd He-Man character, however, TMNT was my main outlet for plastic figurine faux violence. G.I.…

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The 85th Oscars recap through tweets …

@jaredmobarak • and the #Oscars begin … #[email protected] • SUCCESS!! Tommy Lee Jones smiles! #[email protected] • poor Don Cheadle #Oscars13 Welcome to the 85th annual Academy Awards from the newly renamed Dolby Theatre. Bankruptcy is a drag, ain’t it Kodak? Hopes were high after host Seth MacFarlane‘s surprisingly hilarious Ted made me wonder if the dude wasn’t the real deal after all. A poor man’s Ricky Gervais, the Academy was probably wise in going for the watered-down Americanized version of unbridled snark because one would think the “Family Guy” creator…

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REVIEW: Lincoln [2012]

“This isn’t usual, Mr. Pendleton. This is history.” Images of brother fighting brother, President Lincoln orating the Emancipation Proclamation, and his tragic demise at the end of John Wilkes Booth’s gun are conjured when most think about the Civil War. For many the abolition of slavery was merely one of the resulting terms of surrender on behalf of the Confederates, the goal of the Union and the Republican Party from the start finally becoming reality. But the details of this historic event are never really explained save a couple dates,…

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