REVIEW: Late Night [2019]

You’re a little old and a little white. You can imagine how this film would have gone had a white male wrote it. The affirmative action jokes would play strictly for laughs rather than poignant introspection. The strong woman television host would use masculine tropes to service her goals rather than understand that a double standard can’t be weaponized in ways that end up affirming said double standard. And the idea that the fish-out-of-water newcomer entering the fray to shake the status quo could potentially date the “hot” co-worker would…

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TIFF REVIEW: Beautiful Boy [2018]

Everything. There’s an odd framing device within Felix Van Groeningen‘s Beautiful Boy that strangely frames the first half of the film for no reason. It’s a scene wherein David Sheff (Steve Carell) is conducting an interview with a Dr. Brown (Timothy Hutton). The latter assumes it’s for a story considering the former is a journalist, but this inquiry is in fact a personal issue. Sheff is worried about his son Nic (Timothée Chalamet), a crystal meth addict who’s disappeared. He wants to get a better handle on the physical destructiveness…

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REVIEW: Central Intelligence [2016]

“You can’t look a guy in the eye and say something like that” Writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber is finally back to the zany, off-the-wall, and over-the-top antics that made him a hot commodity back in 2004 after the release of Dodgeball. He took a genre (the underdog sports tale), brought it down from its lofty pedestal of true life historical pedigree and had fun lambasting the tropes in as juvenile a way possible while still retaining the smarts to remain satire. His last film, We’re the Millers, lacked that flair…

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REVIEW: Louder Than Bombs [2015]

“After this I’ll slow down. I promise.” Few depict love’s pain onscreen better than Norwegian writer/director Joachim Trier and co-writer Eskil Vogt. They’ve cultivated a distinct voice for character-driven dramas of friendship and romance that build and dissolve with an authentic rhythm of life’s unpredictability. Their characters ache inside and out as they deal with the struggle of human connection and their English-language debut Louder Than Bombs is no different. In it are three men traversing a world removed from the life they led with a matriarch no longer by…

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REVIEW: Win Win [2011]

“We have kids, Mike. I’m not taking chances with Eminem down there.” Just when I finally catch Thomas McCarthy’s debut film, The Station Agent, and deem it the touchtone all his other work will be compared towards, he one-ups himself with Sundance fave Win Win. Delving into the human psyche and second chances once more, his newest may be his most palatable. The cast is a bit more recognizable at its present, while still holding to indie stars, and even though the subject matter may be a fringe topic like…

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REVIEW: Jack Goes Boating [2010]

“Chicken, fish, or beef. Ya know?” Offbeat and uncomfortable in its characterizations of four New York City residents overcoming and succumbing to their secrets, Robert Glaudini’s Jack Goes Boating makes it to the big screen. Based on his Off-Broadway hit, star Philip Seymour Hoffman enlisted the playwright/actor to adapt the work into a screenplay and thus make his directorial debut. Three of the four principals partake in the transition—John Ortiz, Daphne Rubin-Vega, and Amy Ryan replacing Beth Cole to round out the quartet—and they deliver some amazing performances. Deeply entrenched…

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REVIEW: Green Zone [2010]

“Don’t be naïve” Yep, that line above pretty much sums up the film Green Zone to perfection. It is not only used once, sober and matter-of-fact, but a second time as a retort with dry sarcasm. America invaded Iraq with the sole purpose of giving Saddam Hussein the boot and entrenching themselves into the very infrastructure of the country, causing it to not only have a puppet leader, but pretty much put their hand up the backside of the entire nation. At least this is what screenwriter Brian Helgeland would…

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REVIEW: Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead [2007]

“May you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead” The often-used phrase about how it was too bad such great acting was wasted on an inferior film has always intrigued me. The last time I felt it was with The Last King of Scotland. There, however, its top-notch performances vaulted its above average story into a highly enjoyable experience. That is how these instances usually go for me. I don’t mind if the movie is on the simple side if the acting is worth the…

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REVIEW: Gone Baby Gone [2007]

“Be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove” Real life is not known for its happy endings. Author Dennis Lehane seems to understand this fact and is not afraid to tell his stories with that mentality. The last novel of his to be given the film treatment was Mystic River. A great movie from Clint Eastwood was the result, showing the deep bonds between family and friends in Boston amidst horrifying tragedy. While the story and acting were top-notch there, something about the recent adaptation of Gone Baby…

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