TIFF19 REVIEW: Knives Out [2019]

The cow and the shotgun. No stranger to a good mystery—noir (Brick) or comedy (The Brothers Bloom)—Knives Out sees Rian Johnson getting back to a wholly original property before returning to the world of Star Wars. From the stellar cast to its Clue-esque estate (even he couldn’t resist that joke), this whodunit has looked impeccably positioned to deliver exactly what the genre demands while also dissecting and subverting it for good measure. That the final result might go even further than that only makes it more intriguing. Why? Well the…

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REVIEW: Velvet Buzzsaw [2019]

All art is dangerous. The underlying idea of Dan Gilroy‘s art world horror Velvet Buzzsaw is an intriguing one because it forces us to realize how extensive the profiteering branch patterns of one single canvased tree of paint are. There’s the artist seeking notoriety, the gallery owner providing it, the consumers catching a glimpse at exhibits, the pocketbooks of buyers, the curators banking on ticket sales after hopping onto the bandwagon, and the critics supplying exposure in return for clicks. And that’s just the main offshoots which themselves possess more…

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Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2018

Below is my December 27th ballot for the 22nd annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2018 calendar year. Group winners are highlighted in red. (No option to abstain was supplied this year.) Best Picture #1 If Beale Street Could Talk #2 You Were Never Really Here #3 Hereditary #4 Eighth Grade #5 BlacKkKlansman #6 The Favourite #7 Annihilation #8 Roma #9 A Star Is Born #10 First Reformed #11 Suspiria Best Animated Film #1 Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse #2 Mirai…

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REVIEW: Hearts Beat Loud [2018]

Whoopie pies and Spotify. It’s often at extreme times of upheaval that we find ourselves taking stock of our life, ambitions, and loves. While working hard to be successful enough to support our families, we have a tendency of leaving our dreams by the wayside and/or compartmentalizing our identities to serve the unavoidable pressures of the present rather than hopes for the future. And on the flipside we can also youthfully avoid our basic human desire for compassion and interaction in order to maintain focus on career paths we’ve yet…

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REVIEW: Hereditary [2018]

Why are you afraid of me? If anyone has the ability to dive into the deepest, darkest secrets of an otherwise normal looking suburban family, it’s the writer/director of The Strange Thing About the Johnsons. It’s been seven years since Ari Aster‘s viral short film about incest and sexual abuse came out and yet his first feature is just hitting theaters. Whether due to a lack of funding or need for time to hone his script, Aster spent the period in-between by crafting more shorts to cut his teeth and…

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REVIEW: Imperium [2016]

“Just because you’re not looking at something doesn’t mean it’s not there” People forget that before 9/11 our idea of a terrorist was a lone wolf type: domestic white Neo Nazis with agendas that warped their intellect into working towards creating chaos to spark a cleansing. It’s therefore interesting to look at the constituency of Donald Trump, a candidate running on a ticket that not only incites race wars but also ensures white Catholics’ safety becomes synonymous with the “nation’s safety.” I guess the idea posed in The Turner Diaries…

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REVIEW: Velvet Goldmine [1998]

“It’s funny how beautiful people look when they’re walking out the door” What if Citizen Kane wasn’t about Charlie’s Foster Kane but instead the interviewer tasked with speaking to those in Kane’s life, mining for the meaning of “Rosebud”? This is sort of where director Todd Haynes (co-written with James Lyons) begins his fictional account of Brit glam rocker Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys Meyers). Velvet Goldmine deals with this enigma of a star and his tumultuous life before fading completely out of the public consciousness following a misguided stunt. (Or…

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REVIEW: Tammy [2014]

“You wanna go ride a cow?” I like Melissa McCarthy and her trademarked hard-edged, scumbag persona in films. She’s often the best part of things that don’t work—Identity Thief—and those that do—Bridesmaids. So I’d love to blame someone else for how tired and frankly unfunny her latest Tammy is despite knowing I can’t. She co-wrote the road trip comedy with her husband Ben Falcone while he also directed. Maybe there was some interference courtesy of Adam McKay and Will Ferrell lending their shingle to the production, but I’d be surprised…

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REVIEW: Enough Said [2013]

“I like your paddles” While many are quick to label it as James Gandolfini‘s final cinematic role, Nicole Holofcener‘s Enough Said shouldn’t be dismissed as mere eulogy. The writer/director’s first foray into the studio world—albeit with indie shingle Fox Searchlight—it retains the voice and sensibility her fans have enjoyed over the past two decades regardless of any compromises she may have needed to acquiesce. A tale of middle-age and the struggles it brings to married couples, divorced bachelorettes, fathers of college-aged daughters, and career-minded sophisticates, perception becomes a driving force…

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REVIEW: The Way Way Back [2013]

“You just surprised me” Fresh off their Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for The Descendants, writing duo Jim Rash and Nat Faxon return with a wholly original work to serve as their directorial debut. Well, original in the sense they created it without any previous material to jump off from besides a century plus worth of cinematic coming-of-age tales. The honest truth: The Way, Way Back will seem very, very familiar. But this is a fact that helps audiences realize how good it is. Like what Greg Mottola‘s Adventureland did for…

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Posterized Propaganda November 2012: Marketing Goes Artsy With ‘Killing Them Softly,’ Lincoln,’ ‘Skyfall’ & More

“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. I have to credit the Alamo Drafthouse and Mondotees for slowly turning the industry around to the appeal of limited edition prints and excessive series. You’re spending an insane amount…

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