REVIEW: Плем’я [Plemya] [The Tribe] [2014]

Dismissing Miroslav Slaboshpitsky‘s Cannes award-winning drama Плем’я [Plemya] [The Tribe] as mere gimmick is easy and most especially lazy. I’d let you do so to Oscar-winning The Artist before I would this dialogue-free look at teenage rage and criminal exploitation because rendering that one silent was a purely aesthetic choice. It most certainly is here too, but don’t think the quiet isn’t also necessary to the story. Just because I—along with most people watching—cannot understand what’s being said doesn’t mean words aren’t spoken. Dismissing the film as an exercise in…

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INTERVIEW: Olivier Nakache, cowriter/codirector of Samba

Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano‘s (shown above at middle and right with Omar Sy) Intouchables was France’s Oscar hopeful in 2012 and did make the January shortlist. An infectious crowd-pleaser based on a true story, it vaulted Sy into stardom with a César win over The Artist‘s Jean Dujardin and ultimately co-staring roles in Hollywood blockbusters X-Men: Days of Future Past and Jurassic World. It most likely also opened a floodgate of offers for the duo at the helm, but these Frenchmen aren’t interested in bringing someone else’s vision to…

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REVIEW: La French [The Connection] [2014]

“The true force of an untouchable is the silence he imposes on others” While everything out there talking about Cédric Jimenez’s La French [The Connection] takes special care to mention William Friedkin‘s classic The French Connection, the comparisons end at that titular focal point. I’m not talking about quality, though, as this unofficial companion is a very good piece of cinema. It’s just not an action thriller like the American rendition made in the thick of heroin’s 1970s heyday. Instead Jimenez and co-writer Audrey Diwan have crafted a straight mob…

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REVIEW: A Knight’s Tale [2001]

“We walk in the garden of his turbulence” There was always one reason I didn’t watch A Knight’s Tale: Heath Ledger. I eventually turned around on him as an actor after The Brothers Grimm and of course his Oscar nominated role in Brokeback Mountain, but in 2001 he was just that heartthrob all the girls loved who probably couldn’t act. Yes, I say probably because I’ll admit to never really giving the man a chance despite my enjoying him in Monster’s Ball, The Patriot, and guilty pleasure 10 Things I…

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REVIEW: Blancanieves [2012]

“Never take your eyes off the bull” It appears Pablo Berger‘s silent, black and white interpretation of the Brothers’ Grimm‘s Snow White has become a casualty of its subject’s overexposure outside its home country of Spain. Nowhere more than America was Blancanieves pushed to the fringes after a 2012 Toronto International Film Festival debut and subsequent failure to win a spot in this year’s Oscars. One might have seen its parallels to The Artist as a glimpse of future success and yet here it is finally getting released after the…

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The 84th Oscars recap through tweets …

@jaredmobarak • Shut up Ryan Seacrest … Like the studio isn’t going to reimburse you. Cry about it #Oscars12 And with a little Bisquick, the 84th Annual Academy Awards show began before the camera even entered the Kodak “Chapter 11” Theatre. The is he or isn’t he banned from the show star of The Dictator, Sacha Baron Cohen, did what he does best by getting interviewed in character and causing a scene. Ryan Seacrest appeared to be enjoying the joke of it all and remained quite amiable until the comedian…

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Top Ten Films of 2011: Melancholy with a slice of hope

If anyone tells you 2011 was a bad year for cinema, stop in your tracks, turn around and walk away without ever looking back. They have no idea what they’re talking about. With a wealth of quality films from bonafide auteurs devoid of source material, the sheer amount of original work is astonishing. The trend for remakes will most likely never end, but it’s good to know artists in and out of the Hollywood system are fearlessly treading their own path to make movies exciting again. And by exciting I…

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Top 25 Films of 2011

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 150 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #25: Win Win directed by Thomas McCarthy #24: The Adjustment Bureau directed by George Nolfi #23: Super 8 directed by J.J. Abrams #22: Source Code directed by Duncan Jones #21: Weekend directed by Andrew Haigh #20: The Interrupters directed by Steve James #19: Contagion directed by Steven Soderbergh. #18: Senna directed by Asif Kapadia. #17: Santiago 73, post mortem[Post Mortem] directed by…

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Picking Winners at the 84th Annual Academy Awards

For the next week and a half, Spree contributor William C. Altreuter, our online film reviewer Jared Mobarak, and me will share our thoughts on who will take home the Oscars. Let’s kick things off with … Best Supporting Actress. —C. S. BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:Bérénice Bejo – The Artist as Peppy MillerJessica Chastain – The Help as Celia FooteMelissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids as Megan PriceJanet McTeer – Albert Nobbs as Hubert PageOctavia Spencer – The Help as Minny Jackson Christopher Schobert: Bill, it seems like every time you and I tackle…

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REVIEW: The Artist [2011]

“Farewell Norma. I never loved you.” It all starts with a kiss for the cameras and the dot of an eyeliner pen. From there a star is born in the form of Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) while her accidental impetus to become an actress ends up an industry dinosaur of a bygone era overnight. Silent Hollywood’s finest actor from Kinograph Pictures, George Valetin (Jean Dujardin), wakes one day to find himself at a crossroads of cinematic history with the transition to Talkies forcing him into the background where once only…

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Posterized Propaganda January 2012: The Top 10 Movie Posters of 2011

“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. With January 2012 poster selection leaving a lot to be desired—dump month movies don’t appear to get the same marketing budget as critical darlings—we’ve decided to better spend our monthly…

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