REVIEW: The Neon Demon [2016]

“Are you food or are you sex” Fame: all that’s glittered and gold, the intrinsic “it” quality we’d kill for but never do. That aura with an expiration date; beauty, confidence, radiance, and whatever other label outsiders use to transform you into a commodity to be bought, sold, and exploited within the tiny window before someone younger takes your place. This is Nicolas Winding Refn‘s The Neon Demon, an unexplainable concept jumping person to person without definition or discernment. It consumes the souls of unwitting vessels, makes them and breaks…

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REVIEW: Land of My Dreams [2012]

“I want to be gorgeous” The above quote says everything. As do the lyrics to the titular song (originated by Aretha Franklin with Anna Domino providing vocals for the version used in the film) enhancing the melancholic atmosphere presented by writer/director Yann Gonzalez. His Land of My Dreams is just that: a dream. It’s a reunion between mother (Paula Guedes) and daughter (Julie Brémond‘s Bianca) after an unspecified length of time. The first thing we hear the latter say is “I want to be gorgeous,” sentiments that don’t seem to…

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REVIEW: Maps to the Stars [2014]

“… Liberty” There are many versions of Hollywood I would never wish to live within—including the real one—but it appears those crafted by Bruce Wagner might be the most nightmarishly hedonistic, vile, and depressingly pathetic. A man who grew up in Los Angeles via Wisconsin and probably experienced many of the selfish acts of depravity he cynically puts to paper first hand, it says something about his artistic merits that he was able to write and direct two films (both based on what must be a sprawling novel I’m Losing…

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Bang Bang Baby [2015]

“I am that. I am the service station.” Harkening back to the era of its setting, Bang Bang Baby embraces the over-the-top aesthetic of 1963 entertainment with small town girl Stepphy (Jane Levy) dreaming big for a chance at stardom in New York City. Overproduced, old-timey vocals emanate from her mouth as faux backdrops provide the film with the same type of production value we see in the cheesy TV program starring heartthrob Bobby Shore (Justin Chatwin) that she adores. Unfortunately, even if her song wins her a spot on…

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REVIEW: You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger [2010]

“Where is my life heading? I need direction.” Whether you’re a fan or not, Woody Allen’s ability to churn out a film a year is nothing short of astounding. They are not all masterpieces—in my opinion few of them are—but that only makes the greats greater. His current renaissance abroad in Europe has had a few gems, so rather than the late-90s/early-00s sense of trepidation and lack of interest in what he created, I’ve actually been excited for much of his newest work. You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger…

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Top 50 Films of the Decade (2000–2009)

As always, I have not seen every film made in the decade, so this list is only complete as of posting. There are those diamonds in the rough I’ve yet to witness that could render this entire list obsolete. The ‘Naughts’, I believe an appropriate term being used for the decade spanning from 2000–2009, the years we feared wouldn’t come thanks to Y2K, brought with them some amazing films. Technological advancements aside, this time period contained a number of singular auteurs both continuing on already stellar careers and others beginning…

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REVIEW: Inland Empire [2007]

“Through the hole in the silk” David Lynch has made many “masterpieces” in his career. From the critically heralded Elephant Man, to the cult classic Blue Velvet, his debut surrealist nightmare Eraserhead, and the most recent headtrips, Lost Highway and Mulholland Dr., Lynch has always found a way to get into our psyches, grab a hold, and not let go until years after your viewing, if at all. With his latest film, Inland Empire, we are given his least accessible plot yet. As far as comprehending anything that is happening…

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REVIEW: Funny Games [1997]

“You’re on their side, so who will you bet with?” I’ve been meaning to write a review for Michael Haneke’s Funny Games since rewatching it Halloween night. I had seen it for the first time around 3-4 years ago on IFC and was blown away by its inventiveness. It definitely holds up today as a sharp thriller and satire for our culture of wanting to see pain and torture on screen. With movies like Saw coming to theatres now, it may be even more relevant than it was in 1997.…

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REVIEW: Carnival of Souls [1962]

“I don’t belong in the world” **SPOILERS** This little gem from 1962 has been on my to see list for years. I’ve eyed the Criterion Collection version, almost buying it a couple of times, until finally looking away until I knew for sure it was worth purchasing. I can safely say that Carnival of Souls is well deserving of the Criterion treatment and soon a place in my film catalog. Director Herk Harvey has put together a real work of art and amazingly it was to be his only non-documentary/educational…

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Top 25 Films of 2001

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 90 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #25: Monsters, Inc. directed by Pete Docter #24: Tape directed by Richard Linklater #23: Bandits directed by Barry Levinson #22: Session 9 directed by Brad Anderson. #21: Super Troopers directed byJay Chandrasekhar #20: Spy Game directed by Tony Scott. #19: Le Pacte des loups[Brotherhood of the Wolf] directed by Christophe Gans #18: AI: Artificial Intelligence directed by Steven Spielberg. #17: A Beautiful…

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