REVIEW: The Party [2017]

“Another announcement. Good God.” I admire what Sally Potter is trying to do with her black comedy The Party as experiment. She’s placed a group of friends with different political, economic, and romantic views into a single room, hanging a secret(s) over their heads with the potential to destroy their individual and communal identities. They’re provided the opportunity to come clean and be true to who they are despite what it might do to those around them, each embracing a desire to let their consistently over-inflated egos decide. Unfortunately that…

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Picking Winners at the 87th Annual Academy Awards

Things look pretty cut and dry where the Academy is concerned in 2015. The Oscars are always a somewhat watered-down look at what really mattered in the past year of cinema and this installment is no exception. In fact, it may be all water at this point. That doesn’t mean there can’t be some intriguing surprises in the second-tier categories like Best Animated Feature (I really hope How to Train Your Dragon 2 loses to one of the other much more aesthetically and conceptually unique nominees) or Short Film Animated…

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REVIEW: Mr. Turner [2014]

“Nothing comes from nothing, Madam” I was not aware of J.M.W. Turner (Timothy Spall) before hearing about Mike Leigh‘s latest film depicting the final quarter century of his life, Mr. Turner. I’ve tried recalling glimpses of his paintings during college, but find myself blank each time. As it appears he’s presently considered a master, perhaps we simply didn’t learn much about the British Romantics? It’s therefore surprising to discover in researching his early works how realistic each shipwreck and squall was in comparison to the later canvases of unbridled color…

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REVIEW: Room on the Broom [2013]

“And WHOOSH …” Just like with The Gruffalo back in 2011, Max Lang has found his second adaption (this time co-directed by Jan Lachauer) of UK children’s author Julia Donaldson‘s work garnering an Oscar nomination as well. It’s 2002’s book Room on the Broom, a cute tale about making new friends and selflessly banding together to save each other from the clutches of a fat, evil dragon. Axel Scheffler‘s cartoony illustrations have been given dimension with computer animation rendered to look like Claymation while Simon Pegg lends his voice to…

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REVIEW: The Damned United [2009]

“Better go make meself known” More biography than sports drama, Tom Hooper’s The Damned United becomes so much more than just a chronicle of English soccer in the 1970s. Peter Morgan has made a pretty good career of late by screenwriting true stories to be handled with effectiveness onscreen. This story is no different, even throwing in a unique timeline aspect, showing the audience where Brian Clough has ended up before the many memories that got him there. An overly-ambitious man, Clough generally was able to put his money where…

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REVIEW: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street [2007]

“May I have your attention, puh-lease!” Stephen Sondheim’s musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is not your run-of-the-mill Broadway spectacle. This thing is dark, gory, and bleak to the end with little in the way of joy and hope seeping through. I had seen the staged production featuring George Hearn and Angela Lansbury a couple years back, so I was familiar with the story before sitting down to experience Tim Burton’s vision. I guess by knowing Sondheim’s other musical Into the Woods, he is accustomed to darker,…

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