REVIEW: Nancy [2018]

We have to appreciate what we have now. To look at Nancy Freeman (Andrea Riseborough) is to see a defeated woman. Her single moment of hope throughout the day is the chance of opening mail to check whether her latest writing submission was accepted for publication—a hope perpetually dashed by the fact her oppressive mother (Ann Dowd‘s Betty) already ripped the envelope seams to find rejection letters inside. Relegated to temp work since her hours must always revolve around Mom’s Parkinson’s needs, her life becomes forever isolated from friendship, joy,…

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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: American Animals [2018]

Like what? The more you hear about privileged white kids shooting-up schools because they’re under such “debilitating” pressure alienating them from the “cool” kids, turn “alt-right” with a projection of hatred that stems from a hatred in themselves courtesy of a false notion that they’re somehow “special,” and find themselves acting out of boredom in an attempt to cry for help, the more you have to look at the over-arching issues: community, upbringing, parentage. Too often we hear “He was such a good boy” from family, friends, and pillars of…

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REVIEW: Collateral Beauty [2016]

“If only we could be strangers again” There’s a moment in the trailer for Collateral Beauty where Helen Mirren‘s character of “Death” is talking to someone that we cannot quite see but definitely know isn’t Will Smith. This was an intriguing “a-ha” moment for me because the premise of Allan Loeb‘s script—which passed through Alfonso Gomez-Rejon‘s hands when Hugh Jackman was attached before landing in David Frankel‘s lap—states that only Smith’s grieving Howard Inlet can see her. She’s an abstract construct much like “Love” (Keira Knightley) and “Time” (Jacob Latimore),…

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REVIEW: Captain Fantastic [2016]

“Your mother is dead” When you look at the poster for Captain Fantastic—especially the bright red suit worn by Cash family patriarch Ben (Viggo Mortensen)—you can’t help conjure twee thoughts of Wes Anderson quirk and yet Matt Ross‘ sophomore feature is anything but. This film is instead rooted in a very strong sense of reality. Just because it may not be your reality doesn’t lessen the events occurring or decisions made. If anything they’re strengthened because you notice the choices your parents made and you’ve made as parents in this…

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REVIEW: Our Brand is Crisis [2015]

“There’s only one wrong: losing” It’s probably because I know little about politics and care even less that I find most film’s dealing with the subject matter enjoyable. George Clooney‘s The Ides of March is one—the actor taking on the director’s chair, a co-screenwriting credit, and co-lead in front of the lens. Highly political himself with the media, it’s no surprise he’d gravitate towards a play based on an actual campaign (“Farragut North”) or a documentary doing much the same. The latter is Rachel Boynton‘s film centered on the 2002…

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REVIEW: Garden State [2004]

“I’ll take a hug” Sometimes a movie comes along at the perfect time. Maybe it’s a story you can relate to, a work firing on all cylinders aesthetically, or something that pulls you into its emotionality and refuses to let go. Garden State was that film for twenty-two year old, college graduate me embracing my first job in the field I hoped to one day call my career. As a working graphic designer my palette for the arts was exponentially expanding through cinema and music in ways it never had…

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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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REVIEW: Compliance [2012]

“Let’s just get this over with” Films like Craig Zobel‘s Compliance make you question humanity. It’s easy to say, “How could so many people be so stupid?” but at the same time hard not to view those duped into becoming predators as victims too. What happened to Louise Ogborn on April 9, 2004 in a Kentucky McDonald’s is the tragic culmination of our American culture gradually dismantling its desire to possess a voice. Gone are the days of innocent until proven guilty when a universal trend towards self-preservation usurps the…

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