REVIEW: Wild [2014]

“Cold mush dreams” The cinematic adaptation of Cheryl Strayed‘s memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail seems to be getting pigeonholed hard as being solely a tale of female empowerment. It most definitely is, but I’m not sure critics should necessarily call it a day with such a generic categorization. There’s a deeper draw to the author’s solo, one thousand mile journey along the Pacific Crest that hits at a human level way beyond gender. Was Into the Wild only thought of as a tale of…

Read More

REVIEW: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty [2013]

“I always save your knick-knacks” What began as a 1939 short story by James Thurber debuting in The New Yorker, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty found its way to the big screen in 1947 led by Danny Kaye. The tale of a daydreamer losing himself in excitingly heroic fantasies while sleepwalking through a daytrip of chores in the city with his wife expanded into a magazine editor finding more interest in the pulp stories he reads than the drab life he leads. It’s a conceit mirrored today with Mitty…

Read More

REVIEW: Gangster Squad [2013]

“Who’s the tomato?” Tragedies like last year’s Aurora, Colorado shooting on The Dark Knight Rises‘ opening night are just that—tragic. We can never image the pain, anger, and heartache of families and friends effected or ever want to think it could happen to us. So when art skews close to reenacting that suffering—albeit with no relation whatsoever to the actual event—one can understand the trepidation in not wanting to exacerbate things by belittling the horror or appearing callous and uncaring. This is why I’m not surprised Warner Brothers held their…

Read More

Posterized Propaganda April 2012: Where Art and Commerce Meet

“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. There’s a good mix of work coming out in April and the posters do well to mirror such. I’m not quite sure how Chris Sparling could have his script for…

Read More

REVIEW: The Tree of Life [2011]

“Why should I be good if you aren’t?” The above quote is spoken with auteur Terrence Malick’s trademarked voiceover, as is most of The Tree of Life when words are deemed appropriate enough to enhance the image-driven composition played out with orchestral precision. These words are meant as an internal question, young Jack frustrated with the life he’s trapped in and the hypocrisy ruling it. Whether directed towards his father—Mr. O’Brien—or to God, the absolute seriousness with which he speaks only proves his dissatisfaction and his faltering faith in both…

Read More

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…

Read More

The Most Anticipated Films of 2011

While Jon Favreau may say that 2011 looks to have a bloodbath summer on its hands with blockbusters galore taking 3D screens from each other, I’ll say right now that those aren’t the movies most intriguing me. Next year sees a return for Jack Sparrow, Lightning McQueen, Holmes and Watson, the Witwickys, Ethan Hunt, and, of course, everyone’s favorite Ghostface. Superheroes are king once more with Avengers, Mutants, and a delayed and beleaguered Black Beauty coming as well as our once beloved comedian Adam Sandler not only starring in a…

Read More

REVIEW: Fair Game [2010]

“I’d rather kill my friends in error than allow my enemy to live” After an interesting career trajectory spanning a pretty spotless list of comedies (Go), actioners (The Bourne Identity), and a mix of the two (Mr. & Mrs. Smith), it’s interesting to see director Doug Liman take on a political thriller. Most akin to his debut (Swingers), despite completely disparate genres and subject matter, Fair Game relies entirely on the characters taking us through the war zone of lies concerning why our country went to Iraq in search of…

Read More

FILM MARATHON: Terrence Malick #3 – The Thin Red Line [1998]

“The only things that are permanent is dying and the Lord” Pure, unfiltered, raw emotion. That is what’s front and center in Terrence Malick’s adaptation of James Jones’s autobiographical novel The Thin Red Line. The term itself may describe a thinly spread line of defense holding position in war, but I think the metaphor towards a man’s tenuous grasp on humanity is also apt. It’s a battle for Guadalcanal during World War II, an island being used as an airstrip by the Japanese and a crucial piece of property for…

Read More

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…

Read More

The Most Anticipated Films of 2010

2010 looks to be a very intriguing year for the film world. A lot of big name directors are coming in with new work, hopefully continuing on their winning ways, while others are returning to perhaps erase some recent blunders and get back on track. There are two true sequels on the list, four depending on your definition, (and Harry Potter isn’t one since I’m not quite sure what to think, being only a Part I of a final chapter), a couple television shows getting big screen love, and a…

Read More