REVIEW: The Natural [1984]

“The only homer I know has four bases in it” There’s a lot going on in Barry Levinson‘s The Natural and baseball is the least of it. The film had always been a blind spot for me as I’m not a fan of the sport and thus could never bring myself to watch—”classic” status or […]

REVIEW: Gone in Sixty Seconds [2000]

“Two Rogers don’t make a right” There are more than a few unexpected things concerning the Gone in Sixty Seconds remake that surprised me. One was the huge cast of familiar faces. Another the full embracement of its spectacular levels of cheese. And despite marketing materials and especially the poster, Angelina Jolie is far from […]

Picking Winners at the 87th Annual Academy Awards

Things look pretty cut and dry where the Academy is concerned in 2015. The Oscars are always a somewhat watered-down look at what really mattered in the past year of cinema and this installment is no exception. In fact, it may be all water at this point. That doesn’t mean there can’t be some intriguing […]

Toronto International Film Festival 2014 Preview

We may have two consistent film festivals here in town showcasing small releases and restored classics, but you might not realize how close we are to one of the biggest in the world. Most “in the know” will center on five events when thinking about the best of the best film festivals and while Venice, […]

REVIEW: Jack Reacher [2012]

“Weird to meet you” It appears it was only a matter of time before author Lee Child—or Jim Grant to his parents—saw the sole protagonist of his life’s work on the big screen. Jack Reacher is the type of character audiences adore; one easily catered towards the sequel model paved by Tom Clancy‘s Jack Ryan […]

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: Biutiful Jeff Bridges: True Grit Jesse Eisenberg: The […]

REVIEW: Crazy Heart [2009]

“Funny how falling feels like flying, even for a little while” Life ain’t no place for the weary kind. Just ask Bad Blake. Here is a man that acts from the soul every step of the way, however, it’s one that has been ravaged and decimated from a life of alcoholism and chain-smoking. Able to […]

REVIEW: Four Christmases [2008]

“That’s not a boy named Bjorn?” Perhaps I was in an overly good mood before bed, or maybe I was just so tired that I’d laugh at anything, but Four Christmases ended up being a pretty good time despite my trepidation and warnings to steer clear by friends. It was cute, somewhat innocuous, and had […]

TIFF09 RECAP: Connecting to Your World … and mine

Every year at the Toronto International Film Festival seems to get better and better. Is that due to the increase in films from six to eleven to fifteen? It very well might be. And I’ll just say now, watching fifteen films in less than four days may not be the healthiest thing in the world. […]

TIFF09 REVIEW: The Road [2009]

“I don’t want to just survive” Why do the Weinsteins continue to do it? They buy and finance great stuff, they have an eye for talent, and yet they squander it so many times. When I first heard that the Cormac McCarthy adapted, John Hillcoat directed The Road was being pushed back from last year’s […]

REVIEW: We Own the Night [2007]

“Light as a feather” Writer/Director James Gray has made three films with six or seven years in between each. His newest is the cop drama We Own the Night, a pretty basic tale of brothers on different sides of the law and a crime that brings them together. Truthfully, it is very straightforward, clichéd, and […]