REVIEW: Stockholm [2019]

The party has begun. The names have been changed. That might not mean much since “true stories” generally do that by making composites of certain characters to give the drama a more cinematic feel, but it means a lot here considering the topic at-hand: Stockholm syndrome. It’s a complex subject dealing with the notion that captives have been known to develop a psychological attachment to their captors that’s strong enough to want to protect them from harm despite themselves being in harm as a result of being held captive. Initially…

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REVIEW: Alien: Covenant [2017]

“One wrong note eventually ruins the entire symphony” I was in the minority with Prometheus in 2012, declaring its brilliantly nuanced story diving beneath its genre conventions as the best entry in the Alien franchise since the original. It was spirituality-tinged science fiction whereas Ridley Scott‘s 1979 classic was character-based horror with palpable emotion-laden terror. Both were disparate worlds that fit together if not reliant upon each other. Scott found this new success in large part to screenwriter Damon Lindelof and the decision to scale back Alien references so that…

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REVIEW: Rupture [2017]

“You will feel it soon” It’s taken ten years, but Secretary director Steven Shainberg has finally followed-up Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus. The result is Rupture, a body horror-lite tale about a woman held captive as part of an experiment meant to unlock humanity’s hidden potential to evolve beyond our current state. Written by Brian Nelson (the two share story credit), its script seeks to mess with our expectations as it does its prisoner Renee (Noomi Rapace). We’re to cultivate a sense of paranoia with surveillance dominating the…

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Posterized Propaganda August 2013: ‘Elysium,’ ‘The World’s End,’ ‘Short Term 12′ & 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. Summer is coming to a close with a five-Friday August jam-packing all the leftover big budget actioners that have been biding their time to distance themselves from the likes of…

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TIFF12 REVIEW: Passion [2013]

“Why don’t we kiss and make up?” Five years after his last foray behind the camera, writer/director Brian De Palma looks to take some of the alternative devices used to film Redacted and combine them with the sexual thriller genre to which he is so indelibly aligned. A remake of the 2010 French film Love Crime, the auteur brings Natalie Carter and Alain Corneau‘s tale to Germany and lets its cutthroat female executives have at it. Beginning as a congenial work relationship, our central duo’s dynamic quickly spills into their…

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REVIEW: Prometheus [2012]

“How far are you willing to go?” **Potential thematic spoilers** The age-old question has always been an unanswerable, “What is the meaning of life?” It’s a query that could easily be solved on an individual basis as far as wealth, family, success, fame, etc., yet so many desire the all encompassing knowledge we were possibly never meant to have. Gods are created and worshiped to give us purpose—be they deities, idols, or even ourselves. We all strive for more and hope to accomplish whatever it takes to reach whatever form…

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Posterized Propaganda June 2012: Blockbusters Arrive, Creativity Stays Home

“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. Summer is here and the marketing materials look as vapid as the films. Not to say there isn’t a couple gems coming to multiplexes with blockbuster budgets; there simply aren’t…

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Picking Winners at the 84th Annual Academy Awards

For the next week and a half, Spree contributor William C. Altreuter, our online film reviewer Jared Mobarak, and me will share our thoughts on who will take home the Oscars. Let’s kick things off with … Best Supporting Actress. —C. S. BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:Bérénice Bejo – The Artist as Peppy MillerJessica Chastain – The Help as Celia FooteMelissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids as Megan PriceJanet McTeer – Albert Nobbs as Hubert PageOctavia Spencer – The Help as Minny Jackson Christopher Schobert: Bill, it seems like every time you and I tackle…

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REVIEW: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows [2011]

“Careful what you fish for” I am and probably always will be a Guy Ritchie apologist. I blamed Madonna for Swept Away and even bought a Region 2 DVD of Revolver in case it never made its way across the Atlantic. So when the director signed on to do a blockbuster studio version of Sherlock Holmes, I wasn’t sure what to think. On one hand it’s success would mean the hoped for sequel to RocknRolla had a better chance of seeing the light of day, but on the other it…

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REVIEW: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo [2011]

“It’s how we’re taught about strangers” If Stieg Larsson had lived long enough to see his The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo become an international sensation worthy of two cinematic adaptations in less than two years, I wonder which he would have approved of more. It’s easy to disregard David Fincher‘s remake as nothing more than an Americanized version of a top-notch mystery thriller already wowing audiences across the globe and much harder to praise it alongside its predecessor. While I’ll admit to finding the telepathic translation device turning everything…

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VIFF11 REVIEW: Till det som är vackert [Pure] [2010]

“Courage is life’s only measure” What’s worse than giving sex to a married man for money? Giving it for love. It’s a tough distinction to delineate for a reformed twenty-year old prostitute whose only role model growing up was a drug-addled, suicidal mother that more or less taught her the business. Hoping for redemption and a ‘cleaner’ life, Katarina (Alicia Vikander) has vowed to never go back and instead cherish her boyfriend Mattias (Martin Wallström)—the one decent male in Sweden who doesn’t yell whore at her on the streets. Unfortunately,…

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