REVIEW: St. Vincent [2014]

“It is what it is” The Toronto International Film Festival appears to be embracing the quasi-family friendly odd couple comedy with R-rated color after last year’s Bad Words and this year’s St. Vincent, written and directed by Theodore Melfi and currently receiving theatrical release a month after its debut. Whereas the former went all-in with f-words and curry-holes, however, the latter is intent on retaining a strong sense of sentimentality. This isn’t necessarily bad—it simply forces the film into a sort of limbo existence. Because despite its PG-13 rating, the…

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REVIEW: Take Me to the River [2014]

“Everything we touched turned to gold and they couldn’t figure out how” While it could have easily become a simple behind the scenes feature for an album of three generations of Memphis soul musicians coming together to recut some hits, Take Me to the River finds room to be more. Stewarded by director Martin Shore and composer Cody Dickinson, the simple act of getting these legends in the same room catalyzes the opportunity for stories to be told beyond lyrics. We hear them all individually outside the studio too in…

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REVIEW: Lee Daniel’s The Butler [2013]

“To serving our country” I’d like to say it’s surprising how an Oscar nominated director like Lee Daniels can find trouble financing a film with the type of sprawling depiction of the civil rights movement The Butler (sorry Warner Bros., I’m ignoring your lawsuit) possesses, but one doesn’t have to look past the fact everything he’s done besides Precious was panned to understand why. The unfortunate death of original producer Laura Ziskin didn’t help matters either, but an innocuous tale that does history justice while not ruffling many feathers should…

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REVIEW: Prisoners [2013]

“Pretty soon all that stands between you and being dead is you” The question is simple: How far would you go to save your child? The dynamics, however, are more complex when the man reconciling his soul to those ends is one who’s held God’s love as a beckon of security close to his heart. Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners opens with Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) saying an “Our Father” as his son Ralph (Dylan Minnette) readies to kill his first deer. The words have a calming effect, one that’s helped this…

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TIFF12 REVIEW: The Company You Keep [2013]

“We made mistakes, but we were right” In Robert Redford and Lem Dobbs‘ adaptation of Neil Gordon‘s novel The Company You Keep, the personal futures fought for by the militant Weather Underground during the Vietnam War risk being destroyed as the last surviving members of a Bank of Michigan robbery find their past catching up to them after thirty years. Hidden with new identities and normal, domestic lives far from the bombings and murders of a previous era, they’ve begun to take stock and find the guilt of what they…

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The Most Anticipated Films of 2010

2010 looks to be a very intriguing year for the film world. A lot of big name directors are coming in with new work, hopefully continuing on their winning ways, while others are returning to perhaps erase some recent blunders and get back on track. There are two true sequels on the list, four depending on your definition, (and Harry Potter isn’t one since I’m not quite sure what to think, being only a Part I of a final chapter), a couple television shows getting big screen love, and a…

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REVIEW: The Princess and the Frog [2009]

“Freedom takes green” Two-dimensional animation is back in the Mouse House, but for how long? The Princess and the Frog is the first hand drawn feature length to be released theatrically since a string of failures at the hands of Disney studios, before they bought Pixar and began distributing Studio Ghibli work. I have no problem saying that it is a return to form and hopefully a sign of things to come, showing that creativity still resides in the cell by cell creations. However, despite praise and opening weekend success,…

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REVIEW: Iron Man [2008]

“Don’t waste it” There was a big question mark looming over the theatrical adaptation of Marvel’s Iron Man property. It was in the guise of director Jon Favreau. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the Favs, but when I heard he was helming a big budget comic book flick … let’s just say I was a little worried. Once his cast was set and the fanboys started humming across the internet I started to ease into the decision with high anticipation. Thankfully, after finally seeing the finished product, I…

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REVIEW: Street Kings [2008]

“I’m already packed” What I love about David Ayer’s work is that he is unpredictable and unafraid to tell a story in all its brutality. From his penned script Training Day to his directorial debut in Harsh Times, we are treated with bad men and worse men, doing what they need to survive and not worrying about the consequences. When I saw the trailer for his new film Street Kings, I thought I’d be in for a three-peat, but I should have looked at the writing credits. Don’t get me…

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REVIEW: August Rush [2007]

“The music is all around us; all you have to do is listen” I don’t know if August Rush shows the makings of success like her father Jim, but Kirsten Sheridan has crafted something beautiful. Credit the writers for sure, however, Sheridan has put it all together into a very nice package. This is a fairytale above anything else and one should overlook any eccentricities or impossibilities of real life, this is not meant to show truth. Instead we are shown a romantic tale of conquering all odds in order…

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REVIEW: The Brave One [2007]

“It’s not cream, it’s vanilla” It appears all the critical response I read was true when it came to Neil Jordan’s The Brave One. Derivative, predictable, repetitive, and slow are all words that can be used to describe it. I remember hearing that Jordan himself was never too enthused about the movie either, pretty much saying that it wasn’t his, he was just a hired hand to get it all on screen. Well, it sure felt that way as there is no originality or flair at all, just a very…

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