Top Ten Films of 2017

We pretty much knew last year’s Best Picture Oscars race was coming down to La La Land and Moonlight right after the completion of the Toronto International Film Festival in September. But while there’s something to be said about the strength of films able to ascend to frontrunner position, I can’t help loving the idea of heading into March without a clue as to who might win. Ask ten different critics what their favorite of 2017 is and I’d estimate hearing at least eight unique titles. There’s a level of…

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TIFF REVIEW: Teen Spirit [2019]

“Love’s not real” If you haven’t had enough underdog tales about kids from the wrong side of the tracks trying to make it big, Max Minghella‘s directorial debut Teen Spirit hits all the usual check marks to provide a stylish if familiar entry to the theme. There’s the likeable teen lead in Violet’s (Elle Fanning) Polish-British, Isle of Wight resident working her land and a waitress job all while attending school. The tough parent trying to instill a pragmatic realism meant to temper expectations that end up working to destroy…

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TIFF17 REVIEW: Professor Marston and the Wonder Women [2017]

“Fantasy is possibility” Many probably don’t know about the man who created Wonder Woman. It’s not a surprise considering the decades it took to finally bring the character to the big screen despite a popularity that rivals her male Justice League counterparts. He wasn’t just some writer cashing in on the superhero craze spawned by neither a successful run of Superman nor a rags-to-riches story of an unknown. No, Dr. William Moulton Marston was a psychologist, Harvard PhD, professor, and inventor of the lie detector. He was a feminist who…

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REVIEW: Transcendence [2014]

“They say there’s power in Boston” With a trailer digitizing Johnny Depp and electronic machinery created out of thin air, it’s an understatement to say I was surprised the beginning of Transcendence introduced a world without power. I thought the film was about new technology and the advancement of artificial intelligence harboring a potential for hubristic power grabs and the genocide of organic thinking/emotional response. Instead I saw broken screens on the street and a shop owner wedging a chewed-up keyboard into the gap between his door and the ground…

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REVIEW: Closed Circuit [2013]

“The judicial process in this country is and will remain fair and transparent” Director John Crowley is a man with good luck picking screenplays. His feature film debut Intermission is a fun Irish romp while drama Boy A is in my opinion criminally underrated and ignored. So, seeing him sign onto a project written by the man behind Dirty Pretty Things and Eastern Promises—Steven Knight—was an exciting discovery, especially after finding the thriller’s trailer to be intriguing enough without spoiling too much of its conspiratorial plot. And everything does work…

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REVIEW: Iron Man 3 [2013]

“How did you get out of the wormhole?” Phase Two of Marvel’s cinematic universe begins with the character that started their astronomically successful multi-narrative platform—Iron Man. And while a line of text following the always-assured post-credits sequence states that “Tony Stark will be back”, the question remains whether or not actor Robert Downey Jr. will be under the helmet. It’s therefore no surprise to see the studio looking to end this trilogy with a bit of arc closure just in case as the progression from a once billionaire playboy to…

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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: The Town [2010]

“It’ll be just like one of my sunny days” There is just something about Ben Affleck and Boston. Raised in Cambridge, it seems that success and the hometown accent combine as though they are directly related. Good Will Hunting earned him an Oscar for Best Screenplay, his directorial debut Gone Baby Gone was—in my opinion—one of the best films of 2007, and now his sophomore effort The Town shows it wasn’t a fluke. I’m not saying he should quit his day job in front of the lens or anything; you…

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REVIEW: Please Give [2010]

“You gonna go see the leaves?” I’ve never seen a film by writer/director Nicole Holofcener, although each has struck my fancy to keep on the shortlist at the back of my mind for future reference. So, when the opportunity came about to view her newest work, Please Give, I knew I had to take it. Everything about the movie seemed to be right up my alley from its being a talkie drama tinged with comedic elements to the stellar ensemble cast culled together. I was ready to experience what has…

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REVIEW: Frost/Nixon [2008]

“I let them down” Now if you want a film to show the problems of drinking and how it can ruin your life, Frost/Nixon could be it. I jest somewhat here because, of course, that is not what this story is about. However, if what is shown is to be believed, a drunken night of nerves and fear on behalf of Richard Nixon might have been his ultimate demise. After what had been a steamrolling of his interviewer, David Frost, basically reshaping his image and making he, recently disgraced and…

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REVIEW: Vicky Cristina Barcelona [2008]

“Counter-intuitive love” I really love the poster for this film. I had to get that out there. The composition and motion are just stunning. Artistry orchestrated for just the right emotion and aesthetic, something you could say about the movie itself. Vicky Cristina Barcelona is a gorgeous piece to view. Not to disregard Woody Allen at all, but I have to credit this look to cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe. The man acted as DP on some of my favorite Spanish films—Hable con ella and Mar adentro—and now has me anticipating John…

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