REVIEW: The First Purge [2018]

Pray Not Purge. There’s a brief loss of picture halfway through The First Purge‘s end credits that reveals a full-blown commercial for the upcoming ten-part television “event” based on its own franchise. It’s a bad look, especially for those already wondering if James DeMonaco cashed-in after writing and directing the first three installments of his surprisingly potent and prescient series before handing the reins to Gerard McMurray. He deftly balanced sci-fi horror thrills against the propulsive force of sound political commentary throughout his self-made trilogy and capped everything off with…

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TIFF14 REVIEW: The Cobbler [2015]

“I’m not gonna eat you!” Adults need fairy tales too and Thomas McCarthy—with cowriter Paul Sado—deliver one in The Cobbler. They don’t try to pretend it’s something more either as its opening prologue can attest thanks to older tradesmen on the Lower East Side speaking Yiddish around a table to think up a way to defeat the evil landlord raising their rent to drive them away. Cut to the local shoe man deemed their savior stitching up a pair of loafers with son in tow and we learn his machine…

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Top Ten Films of 2013: A year in cinema to write home about

2013 has been a banner year for cinema with a slew of quality pictures that makes you wonder how only nine got enough first place votes to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. Most of my favorites could have filled that elusive tenth spot for some added acclaim—whether having a chance to win or not. I hadn’t even seen a good chunk of these until the calendar flipped to 2014, the sheer amount of winners was too vast. And after only awarding three films a 10/10 rating last year,…

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REVIEW: Fruitvale Station [2013]

“Undefeated! 100-0.” If even half of what first time writer/director Ryan Coogler depicts happened on Oscar Grant III’s (Michael B. Jordan) last day is true, you better not be leaving the theatre without red eyes and dried tears. We love to depict fate and destiny as the things which bring us towards true love and happiness, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes we’re destined for tragedy no matter what we do; sometimes a series of coincidences and events simply occur with no rhyme or reason besides putting us into…

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REVIEW: Raising Victor Vargas [2002]

“I guess you wouldn’t know how it feels to get nervous around certain people” I really enjoyed Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, but seeing it at the Toronto Film Festival with director Peter Sollett in attendance only made me want to see his debut, the acclaimed Raising Victor Vargas, more. This fact slipped my mind for the next couple years, though, until HBO came out with a new show called “How to Make It in America” starring that film’s leading newcomer Victor Rasuk. The itch to check it out came…

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REVIEW: Hamlet 2 [2008]

“My heart’s been stepped on like a baby kitten” If you have any predilection for being offended or hail from the quaint city of Tucson, Arizona, stay far away from Andrew Fleming’s Hamlet 2. To say it pulls no punches and could care less about being politically correct would be an understatement. With a song titled “Rock Me Sexy Jesus” and racism/bigotry running rampant, not to mention more that will make you question the meaning of decency, do not be surprised that it’s a film with a polarizing effect. A…

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REVIEW: Be Kind Rewind [2008]

“To all the films with heart, and soul” Thankfully, Michel Gondry has once again taken his warped mind and melded together a piece of work that is personal and touching, without ever going too far into sentimentality. For all of you who saw the trailer and think that either it will take a one-note joke and beat it to the ground or be out-loud funny at all turns, don’t bother watching because it is neither. I only wish I could have told the four 16-year old girls in front of…

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