REVIEW: Birdland [2018]

“Crime is nature” Some filmmakers keep their endings ambiguous so the art lingers with the viewer in order to interpret the piece rather than merely consume it. Writer/director Peter Lynch looks to go one step further with his noir Birdland (co-written by Lee Gowan) by rendering the whole a mystery wherein beginnings and ends are both fluid as far as linear coherency is concerned and meticulously structured to amplify the emotional machinations of his lead Sheila Hood (Kathleen Munroe). Lynch intentionally disorients so that mood overshadows action. He focuses on…

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REVIEW: mother! [2017]

“His words are yours” Paramount has taken pains to ensure you know as little about Darren Aronofsky‘s mother! as possible. I know this because they’ve made it very difficult to find any images with which to populate this review. Their press site has no entry. The Toronto International Film Festival site contains no stills. And my local publicist made it very clear that press wasn’t allowed to bring a plus one to the screening. I’m surprised the studio let it play TIFF and Venice at all since that only means…

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REVIEW: Secretary [2002]

“I like dull work” I had read that Secretary the film was very different from its source material (a short story in Mary Gaitskill’s book Bad Behavior). Even so, I wasn’t prepared for the difference being tone rather than content. Besides a drastically altered ending, everything that happens in text is included almost verbatim. But director Steven Shainberg and screenwriter Erin Cressida Wilson (both credited with “adaptation by” since the result is drastic) deliver it with an absurdist air instead of dramatic severity. Theirs exists in a parallel dimension of…

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REVIEW: Born to Be Blue [2016]

“Hello fear. Hello death.” I’m not a jazz guy. I’ll listen, enjoy, and promptly forget it straight away. It all kind of sounds the same to me, but to each his own. If you can differentiate Miles Davis‘ sound from Chet Baker‘s you’re a better music fan than me. So to hear Robert Budreau‘s biopic of the latter wasn’t actually a biopic was to think it could be the greatest thing to happen to his story—not that Baker’s legendary life of West Coast Swing and heroin addiction didn’t provide ample…

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REVIEW: Eddie [Eddie: the Sleepwalking Cannibal] [2012]

“Something about that deer you don’t particularly like, son?” The horror genre has become pretty crowded the last few years with way too many remakes and sequels that never live up to the originality of vision or socio-political commentary that made revisiting such properties appealing in the first place. But while studios try to ratchet up the gore to fill the seats by duping audiences into believing blood equals scares, there do exist filmmakers outside the system trying to carve their own path into the genre with inventive premises and…

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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…

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REVIEW: 2012 [2009]

“We are taking the Bentley” Go figure, Roland Emmerich actually didn’t bore me to death with his latest disaster porn flick, ominously titled 2012. Oh he tried, padding this beast to over two and a half hours, that’s for sure, but for some reason—I can’t believe I’m saying this—it wasn’t horrible. Please don’t expect any critical acclaim or awards coming in, no, I didn’t say it was good, however, if you saw the trailer and thought it would be a successful choice to sit back and stuff your face with…

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REVIEW: Maurice Richard [The Rocket] [2007]

“9 pounds?” The DVD box has a quote calling The Rocket, “the Gladiator of Hockey Movies.” I’m not sure I can agree with this, but that is not a bad thing. I’ll admit to not being blown away by Gladiator like most people are. Instead, if I were to compare this film, about French Canadian superstar Maurice “Rocket” Richard, to anything, I’d say it is the Cinderella Man of hockey movies. There are many comparisons that could be made between Braddock and Richard as far as uniting a nation against…

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