REVIEW: The Laundromat [2019]

Bad is such a big word … for being such a small word. The first time writer Scott Z. Burns paired up with director Steven Soderbergh proved to be a rousing success. The Informant! had real life intrigue, absurd comedy, and an inspired cast to pull everything together in a way that simultaneously educated and entertained. After teaming for two thrillers in the years since, this cinematic duo has now returned to that lighter side of dark subject matter courtesy of The Laundromat—an adaptation of Jake Bernstein‘s book Secrecy World:…

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REVIEW: A Bigger Splash [2015]

“Try not to frighten the horses” More than loosely based upon Alain Page‘s 1969 French script La Piscine, Luca Guadagnino finally follows up his magnificent I Am Love with A Bigger Splash, his first narrative fiction since. It tells the story of a rockstar legend (Tilda Swinton‘s Marianne Lane channeling Ziggy Stardust) and her long-term documentarian boyfriend (Matthias Schoenaerts‘ Paul De Smedt) as they vacation on a secluded Italian island for much needed recovery—she post-vocal surgery and he not so far removed from a violent suicide attempt spurred by alcoholism.…

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REVIEW: The Danish Girl [2015]

“It’s what I dream. They’re Lili’s dreams.” It’s difficult to fathom what Lili Elbe went through in the 1920s—and not just living as a transgender woman at a time where there was no name for it, but also to undergo surgeries as advanced as sex reassignment a century ago. You’d like to believe her life would have been easier one hundred years later yet if Tom Hooper‘s The Danish Girl is any indication it would have been pretty much the same. The virtually insurmountable struggles of bigots and homophobic doctors…

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Top Ten Films of 2012: Ensembles upon ensembles

Many have been saying 2012 was a great year for movies. I’m not sure I fully agree. There were a ton of solid 7/10s and 8/10s, yes, but how does that compare with previous years when the amount of 10/10s were also drastically reduced? It took until September for me to give a film four stars and the two I did laud with such a distinction that month were the only ones. Rather than a showcase of masterpiece cinema, 2012 was instead a year of the performance. And I mean…

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REVIEW: Dood van een schaduw [Death of a Shadow] [2012]

“I could show you the true beauty of death” Inside an intriguing steampunk dimension just outside the realm of our own lives a collector of shadows (Peter van den Eede) whose museum looks as though owned by a devout Robert Longo aficionado. Grungy canvasses line his walls with silhouetted bodies contorted into myriad positions at the time their flesh and blood counterparts’ died. This creepy sunglass-wearing gentleman employs one of his works of art to be a photographer of sorts that immortalizes each priceless moment on the edge between life…

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REVIEW: De rouille et d’os [Rust and Bone] [2012]

“What’s up Robocop?” There’s nothing like a little tragic drama helping troubled souls find purpose in their lives to warm your heart. No, really, there isn’t. With the way the movies tell it, sometimes I get jealous I’ve never gone through a horrible near-death experience or witnessed someone close to me doing so because those things always seem to meander their way into allowing their victims to achieve that ever-elusive moment of clarity. Sure the path probably contains a few more rough patches—with the worst generally yet to come—but sometimes…

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Posterized Propaganda January 2013: The Top 10 Movie Posters of 2012

“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. Another year is complete and the time has come to revisit the best one-sheets that did all they could to help their films achieve box office glory. Unsurprising to those…

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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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INTERVIEW: Michaël R. Roskam (writer/director) and Matthias Schoenaerts (actor), of Bullhead

Setting up my schedule for the Vancouver International Film Festival by rummaging through its website finding award-winners and acclaimed features worth checking out, it was still a bit of a happy accident I found myself in the Empire Granville 7 for a screening of Bullhead. Unaware of the press protocol for getting tickets due to it being my first day in the city, I found myself at the pass table about two hours too late from being in the tenacious daily morning queue. Miraculously, however, just a mere thirty minutes…

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Top Ten Films of 2011: Melancholy with a slice of hope

If anyone tells you 2011 was a bad year for cinema, stop in your tracks, turn around and walk away without ever looking back. They have no idea what they’re talking about. With a wealth of quality films from bonafide auteurs devoid of source material, the sheer amount of original work is astonishing. The trend for remakes will most likely never end, but it’s good to know artists in and out of the Hollywood system are fearlessly treading their own path to make movies exciting again. And by exciting I…

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VIFF11 REVIEW: Rundskop [Bullhead] [2011]

“My dad says I wasn’t allowed to say anything” The name Michael R. Roskam may become very familiar around cinematic circles—possibly as soon as next spring. Beating out all other accomplished filmmakers from Belgium, it is this writer/director’s first feature Rundskop [Bullhead] that has won the honor of representing its country at the Oscars. You’ll understand why it prevailed quickly, earning the praise of not just being a great debut, but a great film too. Assured, intelligent, and gripping, this gangster tale isn’t necessarily unique in tone but is completely…

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