TIFF15 REVIEW: Into the Forest [2016]

“It reveals character” The farther we advance towards a world of complete convenience, the further we distance ourselves from self-sufficiency. Every new generation loses more skills and know-how of what humanity was capable of for millennia to survive. We choose careers in dance and the arts, leave books collecting dust when the internet is at our fingertips, and take comfort in the assumption we’re only minutes away from acquiring what we need so technology can continue sustaining us into the future. So what happens when the power goes out? What’s…

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REVIEW: Lawless [2012]

“You still have the price tag on your coat” After The Proposition‘s grit and The Road‘s nightmarish post-apocalyptic vision, watching the trailer for John Hillcoat‘s newest film Lawless left a little something to be desired. Looking like an action flick about bootleggers standing against the law in a blaze of glory, all nuance from its showcase of familial strength and honor was missing. Based on an historical novel written by its subject’s grandson Matt Bondurant—The Wettest County in the World—this is the heroic legend of three indestructible brothers refusing to…

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REVIEW: Stake Land [2011]

“And God smote the world asunder” While Hollywood continues to give us vampire flicks that are wrapped up tidily by their conclusion, independent cinema still lives to save us from contrivance and idyllic happy ends. Jim Mickle’s Stake Land is one such venture, combining the styles of 28 Days Later with The Road, his post-apocalyptic world populated by creatures of the night looking for blood. They can’t talk, think, or work together, but that doesn’t make them any less dangerous. Whereas most entries to the genre let a simple prick…

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Picking Winners at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards

Some Oscar nomination thoughts, the morning after: William Altreuter: Best Picture: The Hurt Locker. James Cameron backlash, plus Hollywood self-seriousness = victory! Best Actor: Jeff Bridges. Everybody loved Clooney, but he’s in something good every year. Supporting Actor: Stanley Tucci. Just a hunch. Best Actress: Sandra Bullock. Did you realize she’s forty-five years old? Not exactly the best argument against the proposition that there are no roles for women over twenty-four, since she plays at least ten years younger, but still. Plus the Streep movie wasn’t that good (even though she…

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Top 25 Films of 2009

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 153 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #25: An Education directed by Lone Scherfig #24: The Box directed by Richard Kelly #23: Sunshine Cleaning directed by Christine Jeffs #22: The Road directed by John Hillcoat #21: District 9 directed by Neill Blomkamp #20: Fantastic Mr. Fox directed by Wes Anderson #19: Lebanon directed by Samuel Maoz. #18: The Hurt Locker directed by Kathryn Bigelow. #17: Los abrazos rotos[Broken Embraces]…

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REVIEW: All the Pretty Horses [2000]

“I have no honor but my promise” I shied away from Billy Bob Thornton’s All the Pretty Horses because the Weinsteins had billed it as a romance and all I had read said it was terrible. Now, almost a decade since its release, and the addition of two stellar films based on Cormac McCarthy novels, I had to take a look back. Watching No Country for Old Men and The Road does not give you a feeling that anything written by the guy could be something other than dark and…

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TIFF09 RECAP: Connecting to Your World … and mine

Every year at the Toronto International Film Festival seems to get better and better. Is that due to the increase in films from six to eleven to fifteen? It very well might be. And I’ll just say now, watching fifteen films in less than four days may not be the healthiest thing in the world. Between the vendor sausage/chicken dogs/nitrates on a bun being easily accessible and a standard meal when going from one film to the next with barely enough time to catch your breath and the sheer fact…

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TIFF09 REVIEW: The Road [2009]

“I don’t want to just survive” Why do the Weinsteins continue to do it? They buy and finance great stuff, they have an eye for talent, and yet they squander it so many times. When I first heard that the Cormac McCarthy adapted, John Hillcoat directed The Road was being pushed back from last year’s Oscar contention—yes, last year—I just shook my head wondering how those two brothers could ruin it. Was it post-production that needed extra time to complete or did the volatile big men hate the cut and…

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TIFF09 PREVIEW: For the Love of Film indeed …

September 10th is the day that friend/co-worker Chris Schobert and I head back up north for our third year at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). We’ve done the middle three days (2007) and the last three days (2008), so we thought, “What the hell?”, let’s try our luck with the opening four. Rolling out of bed, speeding down the QEW, and landing at the box office hours before our first film wouldn’t quite be effective for this year’s journey, however. Being in TO for FaneXpo last weekend meant we…

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