REVIEW: The Laundromat [2019]

Bad is such a big word … for being such a small word. The first time writer Scott Z. Burns paired up with director Steven Soderbergh proved to be a rousing success. The Informant! had real life intrigue, absurd comedy, and an inspired cast to pull everything together in a way that simultaneously educated and entertained. After teaming for two thrillers in the years since, this cinematic duo has now returned to that lighter side of dark subject matter courtesy of The Laundromat—an adaptation of Jake Bernstein‘s book Secrecy World:…

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REVIEW: High Flying Bird [2019]

I love the Lord and all his Black people. A film like Steven Soderbergh‘s High Flying Bird is exactly what the Netflix model makes possible. You could even say the whole thing is a metaphor for the streaming service’s desire for a seat at the cinematic table. They’re a disruptor proving that what they offer is more valuable to the industry than the industry is to them. The theaters need content to stay in business, but the content makers no longer need theaters to screen to the public. The dynamic…

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REVIEW: Ocean’s 8 [2018]

“Hims are noticed. Hers are ignored.” The best way to reboot a franchise is via a sequel. It’s smart because of the connection whether it be setting or characters since familiarity allows us as viewers to settle in without having to relearn what the property intrinsically contains. Look at Creed—or to a lesser extent Star Wars: The Force Awakens—for the perfect example of how something like this works. Both are practically carbon copies of the original installments within their respective franchises and trade on nostalgia to place a new generation…

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REVIEW: Unsane [2018]

“Your life slips away from you, you know?” The tagline to Steven Soderbergh‘s Unsane reads as follows: “Is she or isn’t she?” Its context stems from Sawyer Valentini (Claire Foy) being presented as an unreliable narrator. She’s picked up her life and moved it from Boston to Pennsylvania to escape the troubles of her past—namely a stalker whose lack of boundaries instilled enough fear to make her see him in places he wasn’t. We understand this struggle is real due to a one-night stand ending with her scream after the…

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REVIEW: Logan Lucky [2017]

“Did you just say cauliflower to me?” The story is as follows: Steven Soderbergh—while on hiatus from feature films (previously known as retirement)—received a script from a mutual friend of his and screenwriter Rebecca Blunt (who might not be a real person). He fell in love with its stripped down Ocean’s 11 feel devoid of the posh financial backing robbing casinos needs and knew he’d regret handing it off to a recommended contemporary instead of helming it himself. Soderbergh therefore sat on this hillbilly heist gem until his show (“The…

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REVIEW: The Man from U.N.C.L.E. [2015]

“Inside every Kraut is an American trying to get out” Writer/director Guy Ritchie is like that band all my friends dismiss because they think every song in their discography sounds the same to which I reply, “But I like that song.” With the exception of Swept Away—because I’ve never seen any reason to actually watch it—I’ve enjoyed all of the high-octane, visually kinetic action comedies he’s brought forth into this world. Whether an original Cockney tale like his earlier work or a Hollywood property adapted to his sensibilities of late,…

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INTERVIEW: William Fichtner, actor and Cheektowaga, NY native

Even if the name William Fichtner hasn’t procured a place on your cinematic Rolodex, you definitely know his face. He had a successful run on hit TV series “Prison Break” as complicated FBI Agent Alex Mahone, recently starred opposite the latest incarnation of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and found himself standing in the way of Heath Ledger‘s Joker during The Dark Knight‘s opening heist. There’s also his Colonel Willie Sharp sternly uttering my father’s favorite Armageddon quote: “Get off the nuclear warhead … now.” He’s coming into focus now,…

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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: Side Effects [2013]

“I killed the wrong person” Some people will go to great lengths to get their lives back and Steven Soderbergh’s Side Effects shows how far. It’s a crime thriller written by frequent collaborator Scott Z. Burns about a young woman named Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) and the beginning of what should be a brand new chapter of her life that will hopefully mirror the one before her husband was imprisoned four years for insider trading. Finally released, Martin (Channing Tatum) promises to make up for lost time and ensure his…

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INTERVIEW: Timothy J. Cox, star of Simple Mind, Choosing Sides, and more

Becoming a working actor is hardly an easy career path chosen lightly. For character actor Timothy J. Cox the journey towards independent film began by accident in 8th grade yet became a calling it would seem he was born to follow. Still, it took him almost a decade of living in New York City before making the decision to focus his professional efforts onto the film set above the theatrical stage. Whether performing in student thesis projects, indie shorts, contests, or features, Cox has made a name for himself through…

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TIFF13 REVIEW: Visitors [2014]

I entered the Elgin Theatre excited at the prospect of this once in a lifetime opportunity. I was about to sit down and watch the world premiere of renowned experimental film director Godfrey Reggio’s newest introspective tome, Visitors. This would be completely new to me never having seen his Qatsi Trilogy or either of Koyaanisqatsi’s cinematographer/editor Ron Fricke’s features. I’ve witnessed my fair share of Avant Garde work before in a gallery setting, though, and knew to expect a meditative piece from its beautiful 4K black and white with Philip…

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