REVIEW: Colette [2018]

It might ruffle some feathers back home. What Wash Westmoreland (who co-wrote with his late husband Richard Glatzer and Rebecca Lenkiewicz) has done with Colette is craft an origin story for the famous, Nobel Prize-nominated French novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. It begins in Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye with her as the teenage daughter of poor country folk unable to pay a dowry to the successful Parisian entrepreneur who fancied her, Henry Gauthier-Villars (known by his more concise nom-de-plume, Willy). Colette soon moves to Paris with her new husband—who gave up his inheritance to follow…

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REVIEW: Collateral Beauty [2016]

“If only we could be strangers again” There’s a moment in the trailer for Collateral Beauty where Helen Mirren‘s character of “Death” is talking to someone that we cannot quite see but definitely know isn’t Will Smith. This was an intriguing “a-ha” moment for me because the premise of Allan Loeb‘s script—which passed through Alfonso Gomez-Rejon‘s hands when Hugh Jackman was attached before landing in David Frankel‘s lap—states that only Smith’s grieving Howard Inlet can see her. She’s an abstract construct much like “Love” (Keira Knightley) and “Time” (Jacob Latimore),…

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Top Ten Films of 2014: A deluge of sci-fi doppelgängers and one-word titles

I don’t want to label 2014 as a good, bad, or average year. I want to call it inventive, original, and delightfully dark. Whether it’s doppelgänger paradoxes leading to murderous rage, the bleak carnage of war, prison violence, or psychologically debilitating struggles to be great, my favorite films had an edge that cut to the bone by credits’ end. The best thing I can say about 2014 is that my top ten (heck, maybe my top twenty-five) could be re-organized and re-listed without making me too angry about what is…

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Picking Winners at the 87th Annual Academy Awards

Things look pretty cut and dry where the Academy is concerned in 2015. The Oscars are always a somewhat watered-down look at what really mattered in the past year of cinema and this installment is no exception. In fact, it may be all water at this point. That doesn’t mean there can’t be some intriguing surprises in the second-tier categories like Best Animated Feature (I really hope How to Train Your Dragon 2 loses to one of the other much more aesthetically and conceptually unique nominees) or Short Film Animated…

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REVIEW: The Imitation Game [2014]

“Shall we leave the children alone with their new toy?” It’s highly unusual for me to get invested in a biography, so when one comes along that enthralls me as fully as The Imitation Game it’s difficult to know whether I’m simply overreacting. Director Morten Tyldum and screenwriter Graham Moore have done what so few seem to want to attempt despite it so often resonating: focus on a moment their subject is known for rather than the person himself. To give us a glimpse into his childhood for psychological markers…

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Posterized Propaganda November 2014: ‘Foxcatcher,’ ‘Interstellar,’ ‘The Imitation Game,’ 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. I guess studios are gearing up for a huge December push because this month has a pretty sparse line-up. Thankfully, however, it appears quality has trumped quantity because most of…

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REVIEW: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit [2014]

“No. This is geopolitics, not couples therapy.” Even though The Sum of All Fears made a boatload of cash with Ben Affleck at its center, you can’t help but know his Gigli demise played a big role in the Jack Ryan saga not continuing. Why let Tom Clancy‘s cinematic legacy go down with the ship? So a few years passed, Chris Pine started rising through the ranks as an A-list action star, and Adam Cozad‘s script Moscow seemed ripe for a makeover to reboot Ryan and see where his ex-Marine,…

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TIFF13 REVIEW: Begin Again [Can a Song Save Your Life?] [2014]

“Yeah. I just phased out my cassettes.” To answer the title’s question—Can a Song Save Your Life?—writer/director John Carney says, “Yes.” A song can save someone from jumping off a subway platform and someone else from the searing emotional pain of being scorned in love. Music in general is an art form that can move us to tears with one simple chord or touchingly real lyric. It alters us in a way that can’t be explained; the same song telling a person there is purpose while the guy standing a…

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REVIEW: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World [2012]

“You were the love of my life” It’s easy to conjure images of post-apocalyptic wastelands, cryptic symbolism, and philosophical ruminations when one thinks about the end of the world. Hollywood uses this fascination to create science fiction actioners and depression-laden dramas each decade even though the layperson would never fall into such over-the-top cliché. Most John Q. Publics would let loose, create some sort of last minute bucket list, and live without consequence after years of cautious sacrifice and regret. Despite inevitable riots, chaos, and crime, one shouldn’t ignore the…

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Posterized Propaganda November 2012: Marketing Goes Artsy With ‘Killing Them Softly,’ Lincoln,’ ‘Skyfall’ & 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. I have to credit the Alamo Drafthouse and Mondotees for slowly turning the industry around to the appeal of limited edition prints and excessive series. You’re spending an insane amount…

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TIFF12 REVIEW: Anna Karenina [2012]

“If you’re a good man you’ll forget everything” When TIFF director and CEO Piers Handling introduced the newest adaptation of Leo Tolstoy‘s Anna Karenina by saying director Joe Wright appropriately played up the theatricality of the novel, I wasn’t quite prepared for the blatant transparency where his stylistic approach’s artifice was concerned. As the camera lingers on a darkened stage covered by a place card to set the scene, I was blown away by the rising curtain uncovering a brilliantly conceived introduction to this TARDIS-like world much bigger on the…

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