TIFF14 REVIEW: Men, Women & Children [2014]

“I guess I was just scared” We are the pale blue dot. Earth? No. The intermittently blinking light on the end of an out-of-touch parent’s device for transparently spying on a daughter’s electronic path when he/she should be proud for having a smart and compassionate teen unlike the majority populating the local high school. Our world’s different from the one Carl Sagan represented by filling the Voyager spacecraft with records of music, languages, and calls of whales. Now in a post-9/11 America we fear strangers as well as friends, peers,…

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REVIEW: Paradise [2013]

“Why twitter with Satan when you can friend with God?” My first trip to the Toronto International Film Festival had me arriving at the box office with vouchers and no clue about what to see. Ready for anything, my friend and I took a chance on Juno based solely on our enjoying Thank You for Smoking and our intrigue in Ellen Page’s follow up to her fantastic turn in Hard Candy. It was a great choice: funny, fresh, contemporary, and accompanied by a Q&A with director Jason Reitman and first-time…

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REVIEW: Just Friends [2005]

“Does this hat make me look fat?” The memory of All-4-One lives on in a laugh-out-loud lip-synched rendition from Ryan Reynolds in the romantic comedy Just Friends. A film suggested to me by many, their descriptions always began with an, “it’s stupid, but really, really funny.” They were not wrong as any substantial plot involving the leading ex-BFFs ten years later is ignored in order to showcase a rising Reynolds and his self-deprecating ability to make a fool of himself. Between wearing a fat suit, myriad of pratfalls, and constant…

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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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REVIEW: Young Adult [2011]

“Mad Love, Buddy” And the award for movie with the worst message for young adults is Young Adult. Bravo Diablo Cody for what appears to be a cathartic foray into justifying arrogance, shallowness, and alcoholism as signs of great artistic talent rather than portraying them as glaring issues needing work, help, and maturity. Kudos for hiding a dark cesspool of angry depressive horrors beneath the sheen of a light-hearted coming home to romance the now married ex-boyfriend comedy and for allowing horrible monsters to become more horrible. Thanks for at…

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Posterized Propaganda December 2011: Numbers and Faces

“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. December is here and the posters are many. With studio releases being pumped through NY and LA during the holidays for award consideration, the number of films coming out this…

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