REVIEW: Hell or High Water [2016]

“I ain’t speeding” It wasn’t long after his run as above-board Deputy Chief David Hale on “Sons of Anarchy” that Taylor Sheridan would find himself caught in awards season platitudes with Sicario, a film earning three Oscar nominations despite his screenplay not quite making the cut. Well he has a second change this January as his earlier script of gritty Texas survival under the poverty line—a 2012 Black List inclusion—has arrived with David Mackenzie‘s stewardship. Hell or High Water utilizes similar themes of determined, smart vengeance and bittersweet resolutions, it’s…

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Posterized Propaganda September 2014: ‘The Zero Theorem,’ ‘The Boxtrolls’, ‘Eleanor Rigby,’ and 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. It’s festival season time—a time when I scour the internet for posters of films I’ll be seeing at TIFF only to come up empty-handed for a lot. That’s okay, though,…

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REVIEW: 20,000 Days on Earth [2014]

“And if that doesn’t do it—you shoot the clown” I must have been nineteen or twenty when I was first introduced to Nick Cave‘s music. As a college kid trying to broaden my horizons cinematically with “classics” from foreign auteurs, I popped in Wim Wenders‘ Wings of Desire for reasons I no longer recall. While a brilliant film regardless, I could not shake the violence in Cave’s stage presence or the intensity of his songs against the romantic plot thrusting my ears into its wake. So even though I knew…

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REVIEW: Lawless [2012]

“You still have the price tag on your coat” After The Proposition‘s grit and The Road‘s nightmarish post-apocalyptic vision, watching the trailer for John Hillcoat‘s newest film Lawless left a little something to be desired. Looking like an action flick about bootleggers standing against the law in a blaze of glory, all nuance from its showcase of familial strength and honor was missing. Based on an historical novel written by its subject’s grandson Matt Bondurant—The Wettest County in the World—this is the heroic legend of three indestructible brothers refusing to…

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BNFF12 REVIEW: Dan Zimmerman: Musician, Painter, Cosmic Patriot [2009]

“The phrase that each of us is unique and irreplaceable is so powerful” A man caught between the spiritual world of his faith and the material one of his craft, Dan Zimmerman has lofty ideals to support his work and life. In Thomas Florek‘s short documentary Dan Zimmerman: Musician, Painter, Cosmic Patriot, we experience the thought process behind the New Jersey-based surrealist through his own words. Every second contains either the artist in interview or his voice in song melodically touching our soul as the camera pans over high-resolution photos…

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REVIEW: I Shot Jesse James [1949]

“Tell ‘em I’m gonna be a farmer” Back in 2007, the film The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford made my initial top ten list with its spectacle and grandeur. It was my introduction into the myth and legend of James as well as Ford, a name I was not familiar with until that point. The film was a mood piece that centered on Ford’s inclusion into the posse of robbers to the inevitable incident of the title, showing his lack of self-worth and spiteful heart towards…

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REVIEW: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford [2007]

“Recapitulating the act of betrayal” The man, the myth, the legend, and the movie title. In what could be my favorite film name of all-time, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford is much more than its superfluous moniker. From its bloated runtime to its slow, methodical pace, Andrew Dominik’s epic tale contains an inner beauty that allows for all the pretensions one seems to associate with it. Dominik is unrelenting on his quest to tell the story the way he wants it told, never compromising by…

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REVIEW: The Proposition [2006]

“Australia … what fresh hell is this?” Late nineteenth century Australia seems to have been quite a hellish place indeed if we are to believe what Nick Cave and John Hillcoat have given us here. From the unflinching, seeming authenticity, the weight of conflicting emotion on the part of each and every human being portrayed, and the sheer beauty of it—pain, suffering, and all—I won’t be the one to dispute it. I must admit that I have never seen a western before. None of the classics—John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Sergio…

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