REVIEW: Rules Don’t Apply [2016]

“You’re an exception” Eighteen years after Bulworth and fifteen after Town & Country (his last time directing and acting for a feature film respectively), Warren Beatty returns to the big screen with a fictionalized biography of Howard Hughes forty years in the making. It’s a passion project and vanity project: two endeavors worthy of an auspicious return to the spotlight even if the latter isn’t always the best decision for retaining a renowned legacy. Will Rules Don’t Apply taint peoples’ image of him? No. It’s not going to mark any…

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REVIEW: Trash [2014]

“Never trust a policeman” It’s not every day that a three-time Oscar nominee for directing decides on a foreign language film to be his next project, but that’s exactly what Stephen Daldry of Billy Elliot, The Hours, and The Reader fame has done. Following in the footsteps of fellow Brit Danny Boyle—whose journey to India for Slumdog Millionaire earned his sole nomination and subsequently an Oscar win—Daldry takes on the novel Trash written by Andy Mulligan about three impoverished boys working as garbage pickers who find something in their nameless…

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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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REVIEW: The Amazing Spider-Man [2012]

“Up your what, Dad?” Ten years after Sam Raimi‘s Spider-Man joined Bryan Singer‘s X-Men in proving the superhero genre could be taken seriously in the annals of cinematic history, the reset button has been pressed for a fresh new look. Between Marvel taking the initiative to pool their collective, solely-owned properties into one giant universe of quasi sequels with 2008’s Iron Man and DC Comics lucking into Christopher Nolan‘s vision of Batman as more than a surreally cartoonish romp in the darkness, what was one of the most legitimate comic…

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Picking Winners at the 84th Annual Academy Awards

For the next week and a half, Spree contributor William C. Altreuter, our online film reviewer Jared Mobarak, and me will share our thoughts on who will take home the Oscars. Let’s kick things off with … Best Supporting Actress. —C. S. BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:Bérénice Bejo – The Artist as Peppy MillerJessica Chastain – The Help as Celia FooteMelissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids as Megan PriceJanet McTeer – Albert Nobbs as Hubert PageOctavia Spencer – The Help as Minny Jackson Christopher Schobert: Bill, it seems like every time you and I tackle…

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INTERVIEW: Emilio Estevez, writer/director of The Way

I walked into the Elgin Theatre a year and a half ago for the Toronto International Film Festival’s screening of Emilio Estevez‘s The Way without knowing exactly what I was in for. I loved his Bobby a few years earlier, but after reading the glossy sheet of information pertaining to the film handed out to all in attendance I knew this was going to be a completely different beast. Spiritual, personal, and a testament between father and son, this new work is an inspirational journey of finding oneself at a…

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REVIEW: Wall Street [1987]

“I just bagged the elephant” We Some films are carried by a once in a lifetime performance that takes you along for a ride greater than itself. Oliver Stone’s Wall Street is one of them. Written with Stanley Weiser, Stone, fresh off a huge Oscar run with Platoon the previous year, wanted to get right back to work, avoiding the inertia he said ruins many award-winners basking in their own glory. It’s an attitude hewing closely to the themes of the film and its blue collar versus white collar factions—young…

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TIFF10 RECAP: The Festival In Photos, Tweets & Reviews

Another year done at the Toronto International Film Festival. It was a pretty uneventful trip into the city—besides a rogue Customs official’s 5 minute power trip before we reached the border—that saw a smooth two hour drive both to and from, a far cry from the parking lot car jams of a few short weeks earlier to hand in film picks for the advance lottery. 2010 saw its fair share of rain, the umbrella while waiting in line for Andrew Lau‘s screening of Jing mo fung wan: Chen Zhen [Legend…

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TIFF10: Day Two Recap

Day Two at TIFF may have started with two junket screenings, meaning there was no chance of seeing any filmmakers/actors, but it also began with what could be my number one film of the year—Never Let Me Go. Amidst the small contingent of press glomming down free danishes and coffee courtesy of Fox Searchlight was a work of art that will devastate even the most cynical of souls. It’s tough to go into detail of the plot, though, without ruining the nuance of the parallel universe world, one where disease…

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TIFF10 REVIEW: The Way [2010]

“You don’t choose a life, Dad. You live one.” When you decide to fit in an almost two and a half hour film about a man hiking an 800 kilometer trail through Spain at the Toronto International Film Festival, you do begin to fear whether the time might be better served elsewhere. Arriving at the gorgeous Winter Garden Theatre to ushers handing out booklets—this film has a guidebook?—only makes you question the decision further. But then director Emilio Estevez came to the stage to help introduce his new work, a…

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TIFF10 PREVIEW: 4 Days, 16 Films, 200 Miles …

September is once more synonymous with four words: Toronto International Film Festival. Fellow Spree’er Christopher Schobert and I will again travel north for a weekend of what could be the top candidates for Oscar gold come next winter. Of course, they could also be films that may hit theater screens within the next two to three years depending on distribution deals. It’s another jam-packed schedule of sixteen films in less than four days. Daunting for sure, but a challenge we rise toward with excitement. Sadly, the most coveted title of…

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