REVIEW: The Virgin Suicides [2000]

Obviously, Doctor, you’ve never been a 13-year-old girl. With all the accolades bestowed upon writer/director Sofia Coppola these past two decades, only an idiot would question her worth by saying she’s little more than her Hollywood royalty name. Those who said it back in 1999 as her debut feature The Virgin Suicides made the festival rounds were idiots too. If you’ve ever seen this film you should know the sum of its parts goes well beyond pedigree or accessibility. Whether her name allowed her the ability to collect the wonderful…

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Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2017

Below is my December 24th ballot for the 21st annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2017 calendar year. Group winners are highlighted in red. (We were only allowed to vote for one nominee per category this year, but I ranked them all like previous years anyway.) Best Picture #1 Dunkirk #2 Call Me By Your Name #3 Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri #4 Get Out #5 The Shape of Water #6 The Florida Project #7 mother! #8 Lady Bird ABSTAIN…

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REVIEW: The Beguiled [2017]

“I didn’t want you to be misled” There’s a lot to like about Don Siegel‘s 1971 adaptation of Thomas Cullinan‘s A Painted Devil. Unfortunately, there’s just as much left wanting. It built towards a tense finale of malicious intent, the kind that’s able to turn what was a simple wartime drama into a metaphorical representation of fear and paranoia pitting man against woman in a battle of physical strength opposite will. Where it goes wrong, however, is in the decision to draw its lead character as the unequivocal bad guy.…

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REVIEW: Mustang [2015]

“At least something will happen” While intriguing for France to select a film in Arabic as their sole Foreign Language Oscar hopeful, you cannot deny Mustang‘s quality. Academy rules center around financial stake rather than mother tongue, the stipulation being that dialogue only needs a non-English majority. A tale of five sisters conservatively raised in a small northern Turkish village definitely fits that bill as religion and culture gradually imprisons them onto a path none have willfully chosen. For an American to witness their struggle after a seemingly harmless romp…

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REVIEW: The Bling Ring [2013]

“Let’s go shopping” After years of stuffy, standoffish dramas about excess and the psychological turmoil of the rich in hopes audiences will feel pity for their woe-is-me First World Problems, writer/director Sofia Coppola finally finds her way inside the joke with The Bling Ring. This tale of vanity, celebrity idolization, and the entitlement of today’s youth—based on the Vanity Fair article “The Suspect Wore Louboutins” by Nancy Jo Sales describing the infamous Hollywood Hills Burglaries from October 2008 to August 2009—finds the satirical bite necessary for its success. Because honestly,…

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REVIEW: About Sunny [Think of Me] [2013]

“Think of something that makes you both happy” It’s intriguing to note how many buzzed about films depicting parents who don’t know how or simply can’t do the job were released on the festival circuit between 2010-2012. You don’t have to look far to see myriad examples of this concept right outside our doors as “babies are having babies” without the ability to stop being selfish so they can take on the responsibility. But while Sofia Coppola‘s Somewhere and So Yong Kim‘s For Ellen have at their core a character…

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REVIEW: CQ [2002]

“Dazzling! Fascinating!” While there are many cinematic examples of directors taking a behind the scenes look at the process of their craft, few are as sure-handed, personal, and entertaining as Roman Coppola‘s debut CQ. For someone who literally grew up in the movies with father Francis Ford Coppola and American Zoetrope reaching legendary status inside his house, inspiration was readily available through the memories and keepsakes acquired along the way. From the vanity of fame to the technological evolution of the industry to the almost forgotten practice of practical effects,…

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REVIEW: Somewhere [2010]

“Hey Johnny. You’re having a party.” Ever since her debut film—a favorite of mine—The Virgin Suicides, Sofia Coppola has spiraled into a mode of minimalist storytelling. Receiving raves from critics and a Best Screenplay Oscar for her sophomore effort Lost in Translation, I began to wonder what I was missing. It was a good film, but a transcendent piece of cinema introducing us to a new master of the medium? I didn’t even think it was her best film, let alone all that. Perhaps it is in the simplicity where…

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REVIEW: Marie Antoinette [2006]

“Let them eat cake” Sofia Coppola has risen in Hollywood to A-list status after her magnificent debut, The Virgin Suicides, and the over-long, funny at times, critical darling Lost in Translation. Due to the enormous success of Translation, she was able to rework the production, with a bigger budget, on her passion project Marie Antoinette. While trying to stick to historical accuracies when able, she crafted a loose interpretation of the young Queen’s life from leaving Austria for marriage until the fateful storming of the Bastille. Coppola’s father had success…

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Top 20 Films of 1999

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 71 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #20: Any Given Sunday directed by Oliver Stone #19: The Iron Giant directed by Brad Bird #18: Election directed by Alexander Payne #17: Being John Malkovich directed by Spike Jonze. #16: Stigmata directed byRupert Wainwright #15: Toy Story 2 directed by John Lasseter. #14: Three Kings directed byDavid O. Russell #13: eXistenZ directed byDavid Cronenberg #12: The Boondock Saints directed by Troy…

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