REVIEW: Ocean’s 8 [2018]

“Hims are noticed. Hers are ignored.” The best way to reboot a franchise is via a sequel. It’s smart because of the connection whether it be setting or characters since familiarity allows us as viewers to settle in without having to relearn what the property intrinsically contains. Look at Creed—or to a lesser extent Star Wars: The Force Awakens—for the perfect example of how something like this works. Both are practically carbon copies of the original installments within their respective franchises and trade on nostalgia to place a new generation…

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REVIEW: Our Brand is Crisis [2015]

“There’s only one wrong: losing” It’s probably because I know little about politics and care even less that I find most film’s dealing with the subject matter enjoyable. George Clooney‘s The Ides of March is one—the actor taking on the director’s chair, a co-screenwriting credit, and co-lead in front of the lens. Highly political himself with the media, it’s no surprise he’d gravitate towards a play based on an actual campaign (“Farragut North”) or a documentary doing much the same. The latter is Rachel Boynton‘s film centered on the 2002…

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REVIEW: The Good Lie [2014]

“I’m thinking about that chicken” It isn’t easy to write a film around a tragic hot-button issue such as the “Lost Boys of Sudan” without coming across as either exploitative or manipulative. Making the result human is an even loftier goal. I won’t say screenwriter Margaret Nagle and director Philippe Falardeau were flawless in their execution of The Good Lie, but they were at least honest. Well, more honest than the marketing firm selling us on Reese Witherspoon being the lead when she’s only onscreen for a quarter of the…

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Picking Winners at the 86th Annual Academy Awards

The Oscars are generally quite boring, since we often know well in advance what is going to win Best Picture, Director, etc. But this year? Not so much. Sure, there are heavy favorites — see below. But it is entirely possible there will be some real surprises. Of course, I could be completely wrong. But if I am, hopefully Bill Altreuter and Jared Mobarak will be right. And away we go … —Chris Best ActorBruce Dern: NebraskaChiwetel Ejiofor: 12 Years a SlaveMatthew McConaughey: Dallas Buyers ClubLeonardo DiCaprio: The Wolf of Wall StreetChristian Bale: American Hustle…

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Posterized Propaganda October 2013: The Faces of ‘Gravity,’ ’12 Years a Slave,’ ‘The Counselor’ & 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. Not too many movies open up in October—and only one studio horror flick at that, despite Halloween. What’s the best way to sell tickets then? Star power. Celebrity faces are…

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TIFF13 REVIEW: Gravity [2013]

“You should see the sun on the Ganges. It’s amazing.” Remember back in the 90s at the advent of IMAX technology how certain amusement parks would have a screen with some “experience” putting you “into the action”? Well Alfonso Cuarón has made one of those for the twenty-first century in Gravity. While I admit such a description may seem like I’m putting the film in a bad light—simplifying it to its basest aesthetic trait—I honestly mean it as a compliment. Space has always been one place to which only a…

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REVIEW: The Heat [2013]

“She’s looking for my balls” The simple fact producers worried a film like The Heat wouldn’t find an audience because females don’t like action and males don’t like women leads is more a commentary on society’s absurd lack of faith in itself than it is on the industry. It’s 2013 and we haven’t yet looked past gender tropes to accept that universal thing called comedy underneath? Whether or not the movie is good shouldn’t take a backseat to the fear of alienating a group of people money managers treat as…

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Posterized Propaganda June 2013: The Apocalypse is Nigh With ‘Man of Steel,’ ‘World War Z,’ ‘This is the End’ & 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 continues chugging along with the America and/or Earth threatened by destruction at every turn. Whether comic book adaptations, zombie wars, terrorist assaults or a giant pit opening up to…

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The 82nd Oscars recap through tweets …

@jaredmobarak • NPH in sequins … i guess that’s something … The 82nd Annual Oscars ceremony begins, yet the hosts are nowhere to be found. Have we gotten to the point now where we need a lead-in for the most assuredly lame/very PC stand-up routine? We need to get the ball rolling for the ball that gets the show rolling? And they wonder why it always goes over its allotted timeslot. So, not only do we have to be introduced to all the lead acting nominees—because anyone watching doesn’t know…

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Picking Winners at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards

Some Oscar nomination thoughts, the morning after: William Altreuter: Best Picture: The Hurt Locker. James Cameron backlash, plus Hollywood self-seriousness = victory! Best Actor: Jeff Bridges. Everybody loved Clooney, but he’s in something good every year. Supporting Actor: Stanley Tucci. Just a hunch. Best Actress: Sandra Bullock. Did you realize she’s forty-five years old? Not exactly the best argument against the proposition that there are no roles for women over twenty-four, since she plays at least ten years younger, but still. Plus the Streep movie wasn’t that good (even though she…

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REVIEW: The Blind Side [2009]

“With God All Things Are Possible” Everyone enjoys a feel good story, especially if it’s based on fact. When the main character of the true life tale is a young man saved from the squalor of gang life and an inevitable bullet to be loved, educated, and sent on his merry way towards a career in the NFL, well you’ve got film adaptation written all over it. That is exactly what Warner Brothers thought when optioning Michael Oher’s past, via a book by Michael Lewis, and casting Sandra Bullock as…

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