REVIEW: Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes [Aguirre, Wrath of God] [1972]

“Meat is floating by” Talk about the heart of darkness. It’s completely unsurprising that Francis Ford Coppola would admit to using Werner Herzog‘s Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes [Aguirre, the Wrath of God] as inspiration for his Apocalypse Now because they epitomize the stark moral depravity of warped conquering “heroes”. The quiet rage underlying every action as greed overtakes loyalty and hubris replaces strategy are all too real against the serene jungle settings hiding hidden antagonistic forces to complement the ones waging war inside these soldiers’ minds. For Conquistador Don Lope…

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REVIEW: Rushmore [1998]

“I saved Latin. What did you ever do?” Writer/director Wes Anderson‘s style was officially born on his sophomore effort Rushmore. That’s not to say his debut was devoid of the trademarks we associate him with today, it was simply set in a world possessed by more authentic rules. He’s since made a career out of skewed storybooks of selfish characters wandering a landscape they misguidedly feel power over as they take their missteps in stride with over-the-top reactions steeped in a heightened state of the absurd. His stories take upper…

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TIFF11 REVIEW: Twixt [2012]

“Keeping track of time around here is pointless” After a stellar career directing some of cinema’s greats—The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, The Conversation—you can’t blame Francis Ford Coppola for deciding to film smaller passion projects in his twilight. After the self-financed Tetro and Youth Without Youth, he returns with a story from an unusual origin. With an alcohol-induced dream in Istanbul, a vivid conversation with Edgar Allen Poe while a murder mystery happens as a backdrop, the impetus behind Twixt was born. Awoken before its end, Coppola scribbled down what he…

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NYAFF11 REVIEW: Machete Maidens Unleashed! [2010]

“Human life was cheap, film was cheap—it was a great place to make a picture” As the most telling quote of Machete Maidens Unleashed! exclaims, “The stories are 10 times better than the actual films”. The anecdotes and memories of those involved in the Filipino exploitation genre of cinema are an amazing account of a period never to be repeated. Screening at the New York Asian Film Festival, Mark Hartley’s documentary opens our eyes to what went on in order to make some of the infamous cult schlock from the…

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REVIEW: Tetro [2009]

“You can’t look into the light” I had heard that Francis Ford Coppola’s first film in a decade, 2007’s Youth Without Youth, skewed more toward the arthouse, experimental spectrum of cinema. After his early masterpieces, including the bloated budget of Apocalypse Now, his career went the way of minor Hollywood-fare, like Jack and The Rainmaker. One might have assumed he’d retired from the director’s chair until the success of his daughter, and son, (come on Roman, stop being assistant to your family members and make that sophomore film), showed what…

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REVIEW: Tropic Thunder [2008]

“Welcome to the goodie room” Despite my somewhat indifference, bordering on dislike, of Ben Stiller and most of what he does, Tropic Thunder has been on my much-anticipated list for some time now. The audacity of what he was attempting, spoofing the industry that was giving him the money to do so, blatantly and lovingly, was too great to ignore. And then there is the cast of stars with cameo after cameo of surprise faces joining in on the fun, not to mention the intense marketing strategy pushing it along.…

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REVIEW: The Descent [2005]

“Love every day” I am not a big fan of the horror genre. Many of them are just too campy or schlocky to be terrifying, too derivative of each other, or too slow and drawn out while trying to be suspenseful. Besides the first two masterpieces of the Hellraiser series and the original, read only good, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I could do without the genre completely. I don’t mention Hostel here, because as I’ve said in my review for that film, it isn’t as much a horror as a thriller…

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