REVIEW: Three Christs [2020]

I can attest. Two decades after publishing his study The Three Christs of Ypsilanti, Milton Rokeach came to the realization that his methods were both manipulative and unethical. He included an afterword in a re-release of the book to that effect—something surely helped by the supposed fact his research assistants questioned his morality while it was still being conducted. Rokeach’s goal was to cure three patients who independently believed themselves the one-and-only reincarnation of Jesus by placing them together in a controlled environment to confront the absurdity of their claims.…

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REVIEW: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs [2018]

Well don’t let my white duds and pleasant demeanor fool ya. You know the whole enterprise will be a bit cheeky just by directors’ Joel and Ethan Coen‘s statement of intent. While explaining that their love for anthology movies stems from the format’s ability to unite multiple directors with a common theme, they admit their hopes of doing the same with a sextet of Western tales written and adapted over the years. Instead of lamenting the fact they couldn’t make it happen before deciding to direct everything themselves, the duo…

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REVIEW: On the Basis of Sex [2018]

Hooray for Mommy. Even if we weren’t mired in the middle of the Trump Administration with a constant tidal wave of sexist and xenophobic rhetoric masquerading as national emergencies, the story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg defying the patriarchy where it came to archaic laws arbitrarily creating separate rights based on gender would be timely. Because while it’s fun to joke about giving the eighty-five year old Supreme Court justice a kidney so another GOP-sanctioned candidate doesn’t get shoved through without proper vetting, a line spoken by one of her husband…

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REVIEW: Hello, My Name Is Doris [2016]

“I’m possible” Welcome to the world Doris Miller (Sally Field). It’s been too long—forty years to be exact—since you were free to roam unencumbered by self-imposed responsibilities and familial guilt no one was willing to spend the time to help alleviate. Yes, Doris has been fridged from social interaction for four decades as she quietly took the ferry from Staten Island each day to work at a company that gradually got younger and younger until she was past out-of-touch and just plain lost. She did this because she devoted her…

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REVIEW: Trumbo [2015]

“The rich guy wins with the cunning of Satan” I will admit that my interest in the Dalton Trumbo biopic Trumbo was held in check for one reason: director Jay Roach. The guy behind the horrible Meet the Parents saga and uneven Austin Powers series was hired to helm a historical drama with huge political ramifications and a slice of Hollywood’s past many would like to forget? It’s my fault for forgetting that he also helped steward the HBO dramas Recount and Game Change—two other biographies with casts and aesthetics…

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REVIEW: Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story [2004]

“So what are you dying from that’s keeping you from the finals?” I’m usually the guy who watches the trailer for a stupid raunchy comedy and instantaneously declares it unworthy of my time. For some reason, however, Rawson Marshall Thurber‘s Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story hit every mark necessary to have me believing it could actually be entertaining. I was unfamiliar with much of the cast save the three main leads—it introduced me to both Justin Long and Alan Tudyk—but something about the sheer absurdity of a major league, cable…

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REVIEW: Just Friends [2005]

“Does this hat make me look fat?” The memory of All-4-One lives on in a laugh-out-loud lip-synched rendition from Ryan Reynolds in the romantic comedy Just Friends. A film suggested to me by many, their descriptions always began with an, “it’s stupid, but really, really funny.” They were not wrong as any substantial plot involving the leading ex-BFFs ten years later is ignored in order to showcase a rising Reynolds and his self-deprecating ability to make a fool of himself. Between wearing a fat suit, myriad of pratfalls, and constant…

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REVIEW: Red State [2011]

“Even the Nazis think this guy is nuckin’ futs” As if Kevin Smith wasn’t polarizing enough on his own, the venture making Cop Out for hire bought more ill-will and the risky endeavor of self-producing an original horror only allowed a new genre’s legion of fans to add to the backlash. It’s weird because I always thought Smith was pretty universally loved between his seminal debut Clerks and cult favorites Mallrats and Chasing Amy. My circle of friends would stop at nothing to see his latest work in the theatres…

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REVIEW: Cedar Rapids [2011]

“You’re what I like to call a Richard. A Richard Head.” On paper, Cedar Rapids seems an odd choice for a Sundance Selection. With a star in Ed Helms at the center, a man enjoying continued success on “The Office” and breaking out in The Hangover, you think overdone Hollywood vehicle to cash in on some timely exposure. Just look at that poster with his too wide grin and airplane pillow that doubles for a life preserver on quick glance next to the title. But then you go deeper and…

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TIFF10 REVIEW: The Conspirator [2010]

“Why did I fight for the Union if my rights aren’t assured?” The aftermath of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination hasn’t really been the subject of many films that I know of. Of course there is the whole Steven Spielberg Lincoln project that has been pushed back every year since its announcement, a starting date nowhere near close at hand, but while watching a depiction of his life should be interesting, the subject of his death is more so. Here was the first murder of a President, an event no one…

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REVIEW: The Men Who Stare at Goats [2009]

“It’s a man sitting in a chair” When looking in retrospect, it’s always nice to know that you made the right decision. While at the Toronto International Film festival this year, my friend and I had a conflict of movies with Up in the Air and The Men Who Stare at Goats. Both stared George Clooney, but only the one had any trailers and/or marketing push at the time. We picked the Reitman film in the end—and it was one of the best movies we saw at the fest—figuring to…

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