REVIEW: Secretary [2002]

“I like dull work” I had read that Secretary the film was very different from its source material (a short story in Mary Gaitskill’s book Bad Behavior). Even so, I wasn’t prepared for the difference being tone rather than content. Besides a drastically altered ending, everything that happens in text is included almost verbatim. But director Steven Shainberg and screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson (both credited with “adaptation by” since the result is drastic) deliver it with an absurdist air instead of dramatic severity. Theirs exists in a parallel dimension of…

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REVIEW: White House Down [2013]

“My father is a very special man!” It’s a shame Hollywood blockbuster fare has a contractual obligation for contrived happy endings with unnecessary and unsurprising “twists” because Roland Emmerich‘s newest disaster porn entry White House Down is a legitimate winner until its cheesy finale. There’s actual suspense, authentic humor, and charismatic leads to hook us into its plausible terrorist attack scenario with plenty of action to sustain our interest over its two-hour plus runtime. But just as James Vanderbilt’s script inches towards the finish—and our government protocols are severely tested—cliché…

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REVIEW: Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang [Nanny McPhee Returns] [2010]

“Yes poo man, we’ve come from far, far away in the land of soap” I must say I’m disappointed in Emma Thompson. I could understand her desire to write and star in an adaptation of Nurse Matilda—perhaps a childhood favorite of hers or her children—but her new incarnation of the wart-faced, bucktoothed taskmaster, Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang, seems a complete cash grab. I looked past the juvenile humor of the first film, realizing the work was aimed at children, but the amount of poo jokes here is astonishing,…

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REVIEW: Crazy Heart [2009]

“Funny how falling feels like flying, even for a little while” Life ain’t no place for the weary kind. Just ask Bad Blake. Here is a man that acts from the soul every step of the way, however, it’s one that has been ravaged and decimated from a life of alcoholism and chain-smoking. Able to compose a song that will resonate for decades to come just by picking up his guitar, Blake is the sort of enigma that means well, but can never clean up enough to achieve. A legend…

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REVIEW: Away We Go [2009]

“Do the preggo shuffle” I love Sam Mendes; I’ll say that now. What else do I love? Comedies with indie quirk. And that leads me to Away We Go, a film that embodies the genre completely as evidenced by the trailer with its awkward laughs, (I stapled the itinerary to your coat? Really?), and “cool” soundtrack, I must have absolutely loved it … right? Wrong. I know I should, I know that people all around me are showering it with praise, but besides the final thirty minutes—‘Away to Montreal,’ ‘Away…

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REVIEW: Paris, je t’aime [Paris, I Love You] [2006]

I have been eagerly awaiting the release of the short film anthology Paris, je t’aime [Paris, I Love You] for a long time. Once I heard of the project it really interested me as something that could be amazing, with some enormous talent attached. To my disappointment, I read about the finished shorts and how good they were, but alas no release date stateside for the entire experience. It will eventually come to the US (limited early May, Buffalo? Maybe), however, I could wait no longer and made the purchase…

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REVIEW: The Great New Wonderful [2005]

“I think I’m lost” I will admit I had been looking forward to checking out this film for a while now. Hearing stuff about how it was a great character based drama in a post-9/11 New York City and how it really held meaning and was a catharsis for those who watched. Just the fact that it was a serious dramatic turn for director Danny Leiner, yes he of Harold & Kumar fame, was enough to pique my interest. In the end, however, the film really fell flat for me…

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REVIEW: Monster House [2006]

“It’s gonna be a bloodbath” I really wasn’t sure what I’d be getting with the new film from Robert Zemeckis, utilizing his technology from the enjoyable Polar Express. I have been intrigued by the buzz I heard saying that Monster House was a bit darker and scarier than parents initially thought when taking their children. Also, being nominated for the animation Oscar, along with the wonderful Cars and utter garbage Happy Feet, I put the dvd in with some nice anticipation. Thankfully the animation is leaps and bounds better than…

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REVIEW: Stranger Than Fiction [2006]

“Harold Crick and his wristwatch” Marc Forster is one of those directors that over that past years have been on my film radar. After a strong debut, (I know he had a couple previous, but lets go with it), with Monster’s Ball and a great follow-up of Finding Neverland, he really wowed me last year with the visual flair and emotion of Stay. This year sees the release of Stranger Than Fiction written by Zach Helm, whom people are hailing as one of the best new screenwriters, interesting since this…

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