REVIEW: Motherless Brooklyn [2019]

I’m chasing his footsteps. Frank Minna (Bruce Willis) was more than a boss to Lionel Essrog (Edward Norton). This man plucked him out of an orphanage wherein the nuns beat him because they believed his Tourette syndrome was a sign of wavering faith. Frank taught Lionel that anyone using God’s name to harm a child isn’t someone worth listening to, took him under his wing, and hired him (along with three other orphans in Bobby Cannavale‘s Tony, Dallas Roberts‘ Danny, and Ethan Suplee‘s Gilbert) as a gumshoe for his private…

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REVIEW: Vacation [2015]

“I’m as hard as a faucet right now” I smelled trouble as soon as Ed Helms was cast in Vacation as the now father-of-two Rusty Griswold. While the perfect surrogate for Chevy Chase‘s bumbling Clark in a remake of the original National Lampoon’s Vacation, he’s a far cry from the character he’s meant to play in this half reboot/half sequel. I made the mistake of rewatching that first entry into the Griswold’s saga to realize it coupled with the equally fantastic Christmas Vacation prove Rusty was always the one family…

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REVIEW: Mr. Peabody & Sherman [2014]

“But that’s not fair! All my friends are fighting the Trojan War!” It’s been a decade in the making but director Rob Minkoff has finally brought Mr. Peabody and Sherman to theaters. He tried with Sony in 2003, got the ball rolling again with Dreamworks in 2006, and saw the latter studio’s purchase of the Classic Media library in 2012 as the clincher to guarantee it’d come to fruition. With characters known from segments of the 60s television series “The Bullwinkle Show”, they’re virtually a brand new property for today’s…

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REVIEW: The Bling Ring [2013]

“Let’s go shopping” After years of stuffy, standoffish dramas about excess and the psychological turmoil of the rich in hopes audiences will feel pity for their woe-is-me First World Problems, writer/director Sofia Coppola finally finds her way inside the joke with The Bling Ring. This tale of vanity, celebrity idolization, and the entitlement of today’s youth—based on the Vanity Fair article “The Suspect Wore Louboutins” by Nancy Jo Sales describing the infamous Hollywood Hills Burglaries from October 2008 to August 2009—finds the satirical bite necessary for its success. Because honestly,…

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REVIEW: This is 40 [2012]

“I control the radio on my birthday” It’s time to accept that the words “Directed by Judd Apatow” are synonymous with “sentimental familial dramedy littered by profanity”. I probably should have come to this realization years ago, but for some reason I still held out hope he’d once more match the entertainment value of The 40 Year Old Virgin. Everyone loves Knocked Up, I know, but to me it was a slow bore with few of those indelible moments his debut etched in my mind. Funny People was an improvement—at…

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Posterized Propaganda December 2012: A Cinematic Library with ‘Django Unchained’, ‘The Hobbit,’ ‘Les Miserables’ & 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. Here we are at the end of 2012, ready for the release of the last few Oscar. It’s a time where story generally triumphs over mainstream appeal and where the…

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REVIEW: ParaNorman [2012]

“He’s probably up there fiddling with his Wee-Jah or his orbs …” LAIKA, Inc., the little studio with big dreams in Oregon is officially more than a flash in the pan success story that brought to life a critically acclaimed feature film before scaling back to commercials and music videos. Using a beacon in the stop-motion animation world like Henry Selick to adapt and direct Coraline showed the vision to take chances on darker material than most may want to expose their children to and they were rewarded for the…

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REVIEW: The Change-Up [2011]

“Rotate your turret and go night night” It may be overly derisive to say, especially from a guy who watched Like Father Like Son and Vice Versa religiously during the late-80s, but The Change-Up has to end up being the laziest piece of cinema released this year. Scribed by the duo behind both Hangover flicks, Jon Lucas and Scott Moore appear to be making a conscious effort to create ‘modern updates’ of tired concepts. After the ho-hum, not as bad as it should have been Ghosts of Girlfriends Past redid…

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REVIEW: Rio [2011]

“Sing it, Lionel” Always playing third fiddle to the powerhouses of Pixar and Dreamworks, Sony Pictures’ Blue Sky Studios has held their own with the Ice Age franchise and a couple supporters. Their newest endeavor, Rio, looks to try and recreate a bit of the magic from their competitor’s Madagascar, setting the tale in an exotic locale—Brazil—and populating it with a blend of random humor, violin playing sentimentality, and an eccentric hoard of hive-mind beasts for slapstick entertainment. The music is unfortunately not up to snuff, giving a film aimed…

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REVIEW: I Love You Phillip Morris [2010]

“I tend to do that … hide things” There is a reason Glenn Ficarra and John Requa’s film, based on the writings of Steve McVicker, is called I Love You Phillip Morris. Lead character, and real-life con man, Steven Jay Russell is at his core a pronoun who loved. Without a real identity to call his own—Russell was adopted when he was born, became a cop only to find his biological mother, married and had a daughter despite having gay affairs, and reinvented himself as any number of professionals, lawyer…

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REVIEW: Funny People [2009]

“I feel like we’re going to prom” Judd Apatow is an enigma. He is the idol of all freaks and geeks out there, calling the beautiful and talented Leslie Mann his wife and having a career any comedian would sell his soul for. He has created, in my opinion, a major hit with 40 Year-Old Virgin and a minor disappointment in Knocked Up, while having the time to also produce some gems that may supercede his own work on the side. So, the release of Funny People, (does the poster…

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