TIFF16 REVIEW: Kati Kati [2017]

“You’re here because you’re dead” Most of cinema’s best films are those that do rather than explain. These works are created by artists wielding airtight concepts insofar as attaining their goal of delivering a specific, emotion-fueled message. Kenyan creative Mbithi Masya‘s feature debut Kati Kati is a perfect example of what can be made when the right resources are supplied to the right people. Tom Tykwer, Marie Stenmann-Tykwer, and their One Fine Day shingle (originally formed to facilitate year-round artistic opportunities for children in Nairobi) helped with the former while…

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REVIEW: A Hologram for the King [2016]

“Look. They are sweeping sand in the desert.” If you’re doubling-down on the existential content of your film as soon as it begins, you can do worse than Talking Heads classic “Once in a Lifetime”. Not only does it perfectly encapsulate the fallout of a mid-life crisis wherein everything you believed made you who you are disappears (Poof!), but it accurately mirrors Alan Clay’s (Tom Hanks) life too. He’s a recently divorced father forced to travel to Saudi Arabia in hopes of landing a huge deal selling holographic technology to…

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Top Ten Films of 2012: Ensembles upon ensembles

Many have been saying 2012 was a great year for movies. I’m not sure I fully agree. There were a ton of solid 7/10s and 8/10s, yes, but how does that compare with previous years when the amount of 10/10s were also drastically reduced? It took until September for me to give a film four stars and the two I did laud with such a distinction that month were the only ones. Rather than a showcase of masterpiece cinema, 2012 was instead a year of the performance. And I mean…

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Top 25 Films of 2012

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching ~140 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #25: End of Watch directed by David Ayer #24: Amour directed by Michael Haneke #23: Moonrise Kingdom directed by Wes Anderson #22: How to Survive a Plague directed by David France. #21: Prometheus directed by Ridley Scott. #20: Antiviral directed byBrandon Cronenberg #19: Skyfall directed by Sam Mendes. #18: Wreck-It Ralph directed by Rich Moore. #17: The Best ExoticMarigold Hotel directed by…

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Picking Winners at the 85th Annual Academy Awards

Supporting Actress:Amy Adams: The MasterSally Field: LincolnAnne Hathaway: Les MisérablesHelen Hunt: The SessionsJacki Weaver: Silver Linings Playbook William Altreuter: It often seems to me that the Best Supporting categories are where the most interesting things are to be found in the Academy Award nominations, and this year is proving me right. What we often get—especially with Best Actress in a Supporting Role—are performances that really carry the movie, even though we tend not to notice. We also get actresses showing us what they can do against type, and that display of craft and professionalism is frequently rewarded. The…

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TIFF12 REVIEW: Cloud Atlas [2012]

“Our lives are not our own” In grand fashion comes an epic about freedom and the wrongs of humanity forever marring how we’re seen through the annals of time. Every misstep is repeated; every stand against oppression spawned from the voice of one strong enough to understand equality’s worth over the cowardice of blindly hiding behind religious or societal rhetoric. There will always be some faction of life deemed unworthy, dirty, incomplete—some species, race, invention for us to lord our superiority over. And it isn’t about stepping back to gain…

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REVIEW: The International [2009]

“Slaves to debt” Why do I keep questioning the work of Tom Tykwer? True, I didn’t know that The International was his film until way after the marketing onslaught, but even then I still held a little trepidation, although much less than when I first saw the trailers looking kind of mediocre. The guy most definitely has the goods and I’m glad English language producers are showing the confidence to start handing him big budget flicks. Much like a Marc Forster, known for small scale story-heavy movies getting a shot…

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REVIEW: Lola rennt [Run Lola Run] [1998]

“And then …” I am a big Tom Tykwer fan. Between his latest, Perfume, his short in Paris, je t’aime, and the wonderful directing of Heaven from the late Kieslowski’s script, I must say he is unafraid to use any technical ingenuity he can think of. This type of delving into mixed genres and cinematic senses needs to start somewhere though, and that start is Lola rennt [Run Lola Run]. This film is an adrenaline rush for the entire duration being driven by the pulsating techno/electronica beats behind all the…

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REVIEW: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer [2006]

“The sweet smell of innocence” Director Tom Tykwer has created a visually lush, unique piece of cinema again. From the highly original Lola rennt, to the visualization of the late Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Heaven (the first part to a planned trilogy, the second of which has been made by another director), Tykwer’s talents continue to make beautiful films built around emotion and characters. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is adapted from the novel of same name and, while I have not read the book, I can guess that the film…

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Top 25 Films of 2002

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 87 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #25: Spider directed by David Cronenberg #24: Scotland, P.A. directed by Billy Morrissette #23: Death to Smoochy directed by Danny DeVito #22: Catch Me If You Can directed by Steven Spielberg #21: The Good Thief directed by Neil Jordan #20: The Bourne Identity directed by Doug Liman #19: Narc directed by Joe Carnahan. #18: Equilibrium directed by Kurt Wimmer. #17: Confessions ofa…

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Top 20 Films of 1998

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 71 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #20: Very Bad Things directed by Peter Berg. #19: The Big Lebowski directed byJoel Coen & Ethan Coen #18: Following directed byChristopher Nolan #17: Shakespeare in Love directed by John Madden #16: Pi directed by Darren Aronofsky #15: Elizabeth directed by Shekhar Kapur #14: Rounders directed by John Dahl. #13: Fear and Loathingin Las Vegas directed by Terry Gilliam #12: Fallen directed…

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