REVIEW: At Eternity’s Gate [2018]

I am my paintings. Vincent Van Gogh is quite the enigmatic figure in the art world as a man whose genius was ahead of its time. His greatest works were painted in the final two years of his life while combatting multiple psychotic breaks and asylum stays. People called his art ugly and dismissed his style as crude, but now he’s revered as a Post-Impressionist who helped expand the possibilities of modern painting in the decades since. He infamously cut off his ear, wrote long letters, and ultimately committed suicide…

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REVIEW: A Simple Favor [2018]

Oopsy. You don’t wonder which woman has secrets after meeting Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick) and Emily Nelson (Blake Lively). Instead you wonder which has more. They’re built to be hiding something in their past whether dark or not. The former: a goody two-shoes, little Miss Perfect type who always has the energy to show up every parent at her kid’s school despite a tragic accident that took the life of her husband and brother. The latter: a hard-drinking enigma who refuses to let people take her photo with a heart…

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REVIEW: The Death of Stalin [2017]

I can’t remember who’s alive and who isn’t. The Russians may have taken umbrage with British director Armando Iannucci‘s The Death of Stalin—a tale of backstabbing governmental hilarity—but their successful quest to ban it domestically is a case of “doth protest too much.” The Soviet Union allied with Hitler’s Nazi regime before joining the winning side and Stalin was very much an enemy of my enemy type of compromise. So while some may have glossed over his many atrocities because he once posed for a photograph with Roosevelt and Churchill,…

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REVIEW: Starred Up [2014]

“Single cell. High risk.” The hype on Jack O’Connell is real. And I’m only basing that sentiment on one film. Something tells me, though, that Unbroken in a couple weeks and ’71 next year will succeed at corroborating the notion because his turn in David Mackenzie‘s Starred Up is simultaneously fierce and vulnerable like few his age are capable of portraying. He and his castmates surely had plenty of avenues for inspiration thanks to writer Jonathan Asser basing his script on true life experiences made while serving as a voluntary…

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Posterized Propaganda August 2011: Summer Excess vs. Indie Class

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact that 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. It’s sad to say, but August 2011 is a dismal month for quality poster design. I guess this shouldn’t be too big a surprise since it’s the tail end…

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REVIEW: The Young Victoria [2009]

“You are confusing stubbornness for strength” When I had heard that the closing night film for the 2009 Toronto Film Festival was to be The Young Victoria, I admittedly scratched my head. Why would they choose some run-of-the-mill historical period drama when they could tap a new, exciting experiment instead, closing it in style? Well, I apologize for selling this film short because it is a beautiful piece of art, educating its audience about Queen Victoria at the same time as telling a story of youth, romance, power, and control.…

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REVIEW: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas [2008]

“Does the uniform still make you feel special?” **Caution: Spoilers** It appears that filmmakers have an appetite for Holocaust films these days. I don’t know if it has to do with the political strife occurring all over the world, America’s involvement in the Middle East, Republicans comparing Obama to Hitler, or what, but the constant influx almost has dulled me to the point of avoiding them. How many different versions of the tale can be told before you become numb? A film like last year’s Die Fälscher, while well made…

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