Picking Winners at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards

Spree contributing writer William Altreuter, graphic designer Jared Mobarak, and I are going to share our thoughts on this week’s Oscar nominations. Let’s kick things off with a category whose victor—Colin “Mr. Darcy” Firth—seems to have already been agreed upon. — Christopher Schobert Best Actor:Javier Bardem: BiutifulJeff Bridges: True GritJesse Eisenberg: The Social NetworkColin Firth: The King’s SpeechJames Franco: 127 Hours William Altreuter: If the Academy had wanted to make a statement Jim Carrey‘s amazing turn in I Love You Phillip Morris would have found its way onto this list. Wouldn’t that…

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REVIEW: True Grit [2010]

“A saucy line will not get you very far with me” The Coen Brothers have been on such a roll the past four years. While they’ve gone serious for the most part, the trademark wit has not disappeared from the dramatic entries to their oeuvre. Still able to hit the funny bone full bore—see Burn After Reading—the comedies have gone subtler with a more dire tone, (A Serious Man), and the dramas have gone grimmer themselves, right into consistent Oscar contention, (No Country for Old Men). Going back to Charles…

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REVIEW: Blood Simple. [1984]

“I ain’t done nothin’ funny” It took Fargo—thirteen years later—for the Coen Brothers to finally get recognition at the Oscars with three nominations culminating in a win for Best Screenplay. Then it was another eleven before their first Best Picture win. And if you look at that victory with No Country for Old Men alongside their more recently acclaimed A Serious Man, you should force yourself to go all the way back to 1984 for a glimpse at their genetic originator. You can’t help but see the dark noir atmosphere…

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REVIEW: A Serious Man [2009]

“Did he tell you about the Goy’s teeth?” Despite the prevalent use of Hebrew without translation and, I’m sure, many instances of Jewish culture that I am unfamiliar with, I really enjoyed the new Coen Brothers film A Serious Man. The film, while a bit odd and seemingly schizophrenic in tone, is vintage Coen, harkening to the days of Barton Fink with its dark subtlety. Following up an all-out comedy in Burn After Reading, the new movie would seem out of place for viewers unfamiliar with the directors’ work, however,…

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REVIEW: All the Pretty Horses [2000]

“I have no honor but my promise” I shied away from Billy Bob Thornton’s All the Pretty Horses because the Weinsteins had billed it as a romance and all I had read said it was terrible. Now, almost a decade since its release, and the addition of two stellar films based on Cormac McCarthy novels, I had to take a look back. Watching No Country for Old Men and The Road does not give you a feeling that anything written by the guy could be something other than dark and…

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REVIEW: Burn After Reading [2008]

“His optometrist has a sense of humor” Last year’s No Country for Old Men showed the world that the Coen Brothers could make a great film. After a pair of not-so-good flicks, no one really cared about them, two creative geniuses that crafted some of cinema’s best black comedies of the 80s and 90s. Then came the Oscar winner, showing an attention to detail and precision pacing worthy of the accolades if not, in my opinion, the best film of the year. But it was so serious and unlike anything…

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Top 25 Films of 2007

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 114 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #25: Away From Her directed by Sarah Polley . #24: Cassandra’s Dream directed by Woody Allen . #23: The Cake Eaters directed by Mary Stuart Masterson #22: Grindhouse directed by Quentin Tarantino & Robert Rodriguez #21: Stardust directed by Matthew Vaughn . . #20: Reign Over Me directed by Mike Binder . . #19: El Orfanato [The Orphanage] directed by J.A. Bayona…

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Top Ten Films of 2007: The Year of the Adaptation

It was a year of many genres. We had some musicals, a few dramas, comedies galore, a little sci-fi, and a couple bio-pics sprinkled in to satiate the kiddies and Oscar voters. If anything, I guess one trend seemed to rise above, that being the adaptation, whether from plays (Sweeney Todd), novels (Zodiac), or comics (Stardust). I always try to read first, but the shear amount this year prevented me from doing so, therefore I can’t quite say if they were all successes or not. In the end, after seeing…

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REVIEW: No Country for Old Men [2007]

“Got some hard bark on that one” The Coen Brothers are most definitely back in form. While No Country for Old Men is not a perfect film, it is masterfully crafted and orchestrated to brilliant effect. Miller’s Crossing remains the one and only masterpiece from them, in my opinion, but this new one ranks right below it with Barton Fink and Fargo. The Coens always did better when there was a little darkness lurking behind the dry wit and deadpan deliveries. I have not seen Intolerable Cruelty, but, along with…

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