Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2019

Below is my December 26th ballot for the 23rd annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2019 calendar year. Each category is ordered according to my preferential rankings. Group winners were announced on January 6th, 2020 and are labeled in red.

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REVIEW: The Irishman [2019]

It’s what it is. Aging lead Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) is approached by two detectives towards the end of Martin Scorsese‘s The Irishman (the cinematic adaptation of Charles Brandt‘s I Heard You Paint Houses as scripted by Steve Zaillian) who let him know he’s the only one left. All the other big-time mafiosos from the Bufalino family and elsewhere had met their demise either from bullet, garrote, or disease (with the rare case of natural causes thrown into the mix). The tactic was to let Frank know that there…

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REVIEW: Joker [2019]

Don’t forget to smile. I would have bought writer/director Todd Phillips‘ line about bringing his gritty origin film Joker to the 1970s as a way of removing it from the existing DC Extended Universe (more than he already did by recasting the titular character after Jared Leto played him in Suicide Squad) if not for new comments made on this recent press tour. Trying to drum up sympathy for the plight of the mistreated “underdog,” the man behind The Hangover‘s billion-dollar trilogy has lamented that you can’t do comedy in…

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REVIEW: Joy [2015]

“No, I don’t need a prince” There’s a reason you don’t hear “Mangano” throughout David O. Russell‘s supposed biography of Miracle Mop inventor Joy Mangano and it’s because Joy isn’t real. Whether original scribe Annie Mumolo intended this aesthetic—she reportedly fought tooth and nail to retain her credit—or Russell retooled its tone, what could have been an empowering rags-to-riches drama proves a hyper-stylized comic fairy tale instead. So when Joy’s (Jennifer Lawrence) attending a professional business meeting introducing herself to people she hopes will take a chance on her ideas,…

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Posterized Propaganda August 2014: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ ‘Sin City,’ ‘Starred Up,’ 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. 2014 soldiers on and the poster selection just gets worse. Luckily the films themselves haven’t been as uninspired. Or maybe they have. After all, this summer is down almost 19%…

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REVIEW: Grudge Match [2013]

“This is not the behavior of old men, man” Someone had the brilliant idea of putting Rocky Balboa and Jake La Motta in the ring together at the ripe old comedic age of seventy and their Hollywood surrogates agreed to no one’s surprise. Not only that, but the actors also found added pleasure in playing these latest roles as somewhat of a parody on themselves with Robert De Niro‘s Billy “The Kid” McDonnen being all about the easy financial score (see the two-time Oscar-winner’s trajectory the past two decades) and…

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Posterized Propaganda December 2013: ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ ‘Her,’ ‘American Hustle’ & 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. Is the industry overcompensating a bit with almost every film in December having character sheets? And I’m not even talking about Fox’s Walking with Dinosaurs (open December 20)—the one that…

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REVIEW: Brazil [1985]

“Care for a little necrophilia?” Although Terry Gilliam had already established the highly imaginative filmic style we now associate him with above his Monty Python animations, no one could have imagined the scale of what would become his unequivocal masterpiece, Brazil. There were shades of its escapism in Time Bandits and its bureaucratic satire in short film The Crimson Permanent Assurance, but nothing as grandiose as Sam Lowry’s (Jonathan Pryce) fantastical dreamscape juxtaposed against his Orwellian, nightmarish reality. In fact, Gilliam even sought to title the film 1984 1/2 before…

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Posterized Propaganda July 2013: ‘Only God Forgives,’ ‘Pacific Rim,’ ‘Fruitvale Station’ & 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. Welcome to the heart of the summer folks—where giant robots, faux Native Americans, retired CIA operators, and mutants come out to play. It’s a tough time of year for true…

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Picking Winners at the 85th Annual Academy Awards

Supporting Actress:Amy Adams: The MasterSally Field: LincolnAnne Hathaway: Les MisérablesHelen Hunt: The SessionsJacki Weaver: Silver Linings Playbook William Altreuter: It often seems to me that the Best Supporting categories are where the most interesting things are to be found in the Academy Award nominations, and this year is proving me right. What we often get—especially with Best Actress in a Supporting Role—are performances that really carry the movie, even though we tend not to notice. We also get actresses showing us what they can do against type, and that display of craft and professionalism is frequently rewarded. The…

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TIFF12 REVIEW: Silver Linings Playbook [2012]

“Is that song really playing?” I know it’s misguided, but my interest in David O. Russell films kind of ended after The Fighter. This was a guy who used to pave his own path with challenging material and comedies that made you think. It’s not even that I disliked his true-life boxing tale—actually I loved it. But where was the eccentricity? Where was the promise of subversive insanity that his sadly unfinished Nailed possessed? He showed he had the skills for the big time and I’m ecstatic he now has…

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