REVIEW: Greed [2020]

Nod your head and shake my hand. What’s that Greek word? Hubris. The question is asked and answered by people who know all too well what drives Sir Richard McCreadie (Steve Coogan) because they’ve had the unfortunate pleasure of being the target of his ire whenever they’ve done something that might damage his international reputation in the slightest (even if they acted on his command). Do they really care, though? Do they care that being berated by “Greedy” McCreadie is a daily certainty rather than possibility? Not when he’s paying…

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REVIEW: Stan & Ollie [2018]

Do we really need that trunk? As someone completely unversed in the Laurel and Hardy oeuvre, I’m not sure there could have been a better introduction to the comedic duo than through their last year together. With Jon S. Baird and screenwriter Jeff Pope‘s Stan & Ollie (inspired by A.J. Marriot’s book Laurel and Hardy: The British Tours enough to warrant a mention in the credits if not a credit itself) comes a tale that’s more than simply about their success. No, this film is a glimpse behind the curtain…

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REVIEW: Rules Don’t Apply [2016]

“You’re an exception” Eighteen years after Bulworth and fifteen after Town & Country (his last time directing and acting for a feature film respectively), Warren Beatty returns to the big screen with a fictionalized biography of Howard Hughes forty years in the making. It’s a passion project and vanity project: two endeavors worthy of an auspicious return to the spotlight even if the latter isn’t always the best decision for retaining a renowned legacy. Will Rules Don’t Apply taint peoples’ image of him? No. It’s not going to mark any…

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REVIEW: The Secret Life of Pets [2016]

“Liberated forever, domesticated never” Illumination Entertainment’s latest film The Secret Life of Pets has an amazing hook: what do our pets do while we’re gone? We could obviously pay Comcast Xfinity to supply cameras and discover the answer to that question—why use product placement when you can show a commercial before the film that uses its characters as shills—but it’s more fun to imagine the possibilities ourselves. If you’ve seen any of the trailers you’ll know this is precisely what Ken Daurio, Brian Lynch, and Cinco Paul have decided. Their…

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INTERVIEW: Stephen Frears, director of The Program

It’s proving to be a couple of busy months for legendary director Stephen Frears, fresh off his delightful true-life story Philomena making an Oscar run in 2013. Not only does he have his Lance Armstrong biopic The Program opening US theaters this Friday (March 18th), but his newest Florence Foster Jenkins also hits UK screens May 6th. It appears the filmmaker has embraced telling the tales of real people whether of empathetic note or infamy. This hectic schedule made cementing an interview very difficult, regardless, we were still able to…

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REVIEW: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb [2014]

“They’ll burn up like tiny scarabs in Sinai” It appears director Shawn Levy and new screenwriters David Guion and Michael Handelman have thrown the jokey nature of Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant‘s Battle of the Smithsonian away to bring the Night at the Museum series back to what first made it a success. Secret of the Tomb reminded me a lot of the original installment with a thinly veiled metaphor once again providing the dramatic arc for Larry Daley’s (Ben Stiller) adventure, this time showing a need to say…

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REVIEW: Night at the Museum [2006]

“Keep a lid on it, Butterscotch” While based on a 1993 children’s book by Milan Trenc portraying a museum security guard discovering how he must protect the people outside from the dinosaur skeletons that come to life inside, Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon‘s cinematic adaptation of Night at the Museum bears more of a resemblance to another family friendly fantasy franchise ending its trilogy the same year as theirs began. I’m talking about The Santa Clause, an enjoyable holiday journey of the heart wherein a divorced dad hoping to…

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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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REVIEW: Philomena [2013]

“No one’s interested in Russian bloody history” The dreaded ‘human interest story’—a tale about naively ignorant folk read by naively ignorant folk. I paraphrase what wrongly disgraced journalist Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) dryly quips when first told about the aging woman’s plight he would soon use to rejuvenate his career (at least where the film’s concerned considering he published The Lost Child of Philomena Lee eight years after his being ‘resigned’ from the BBC), but you get the point. Why would anyone who covered political scandals and wars want to…

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Posterized Propaganda November 2013: ‘Ender’s Game,’ ‘Nebraska,’ ‘Frozen,’ ‘Oldboy’ & 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 is here! Well, at least the summer we hoped to have when the sun was still shining out my window. Yes, the requisite Oscar bait arrives with a few…

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REVIEW: What Maisie Knew [2013]

“I’ve done my mid-life crisis. You should get on with yours.” Stories like What Maisie Knew are tough pills to swallow because of their authentic depiction of human selfishness. It’s easy to label the subject matter overwrought and hyperbolic due to the actions of its adults until we realize how prevalent such attitudes are in today’s society. With the safety of the titular grade-schooler’s world crumbling around her, we witness those morally and ethically responsible for her not being so while those who shouldn’t be burdened are. Amidst an ugly…

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