REVIEW: Children Without Parents [2013]

“Who even said you were my kid?” The tagline for Casey Puccini‘s autobiographical fiction Children Without Parents is a disturbing proposition in context with its subject matter. As a film dealing with a quartet of siblings coming together at the house of their father days after his suicide, the words “this film will be a true story” have serious gravity to them. I get the meaning is more aligned with explaining how real life reactions to this death will be similar to what’s depicted and not an anticipation of his…

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REVIEW: Beside Still Waters [2014]

“Nothing, buddy. You keep on … sulking.” When a feature length debut bows at only 76-minutes you think two things. One: it barely contains a short film worth of content and has been pumped full of fat. Or Two: it’s a shallow piece that goes nowhere and inevitably feels incomplete. It’s a horrible thing that these became the only two options I could see in front of me when sitting down to Chris Lowell‘s (Piz for all you “Veronica Mars” fans) Beside Still Waters. I was actually excited to check…

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REVIEW: This is Where I Leave You [2014]

“Secrets are cancer to a family” Get ready because I’m going to throw some hyperbole your way. Here it is: This Is Where I Leave You is Franny and Zooey meets The Big Chill. Now hold on a second and let me explain. Jonathan Tropper is not J.D. Salinger and Shawn Levy isn’t Lawrence Kasdan. I know this because I’m not completely delusional. However, the comparison is still sound if you’re willing to take it with a grain of salt. The former work popped into my head straight away through…

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REVIEW: Socks and Cakes [2010]

“I thought we were going to be six for dinner?” Writer/director Antonio Padovan‘s short film Socks and Cakes plays like an intriguing treatment for a piece much grander in scope. Shades of early Woody Allen come through from the stark white on black opening credits and Greenwich Village setting while the loquacious dinner settings of The Big Chill mix in with similar character breakdowns waxing on about their first world problems through quasi-pithy insight. There is past history and unavoidable neuroses existing between them all with varying degrees of like…

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Posterized Propaganda April 2012: Where Art and Commerce Meet

“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. There’s a good mix of work coming out in April and the posters do well to mirror such. I’m not quite sure how Chris Sparling could have his script for…

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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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BNFF10 REVIEW: A Touch of Grey [2010]

“I felt like a pedophile Suzy Homemaker” When first contacted by writer/director Sandra Feldman about her film A Touch of Grey screening at the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival, I was somewhat taken aback by her being a family physician. To me, it was an interesting career change from the medical field to filmmaker, but after seeing a few credits to her name as a stunt double and the film’s own message about crossroads and picking a direction, I fully understand the decision. She said how the film has been described…

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REVIEW: L’heure d’été [Summer Hours] [2008]

“It’s nicely displayed” What is the true value of something? Whether it a house, paintings, heirlooms, or photos, do objects hold more worth monetarily or sentimentally? Just the fact that the deceased is taxed upon death shows how important the money is to the whole system of life, rendering one’s childhood memories into commodity. Olivier Assayas’s film L’heure d’été [Summer Hours] delves into this very topic, showing a generational gap as well as a societal one when it comes to a trio of siblings’ mother’s estate. Two of them have…

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REVIEW: Terms of Endearment [1983]

“Medium esteem” I’m not quite sure what I think about James L. Brooks’ Terms of Endearment. Here is a film that won best picture at the 1984 Oscars, beating out a favorite of mine, The Big Chill. Everyone I talk to says they love it and here I am feeling a tad lukewarm on the whole spectacle. At first glance, I can’t really comprehend what I saw exactly. Truthfully, the whole thing seems as though it was a device to get us to the end, the one sequence of time…

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