REVIEW: That Terrible Jazz [2014]

“I’m gonna kick up some dirt” A senior film student at the Art Institute of Philadelphia, Mike Falconi went noir for his thesis short That Terrible Jazz. The piece has an obvious affinity for past cinematic greats with hard-boiled dialogue, a stoic lead, and the missing persons mystery at its core, but his love for the genre inevitably becomes overshadowed by the resource limitations such a project inherently finds itself combating. It’s tough to critique acting when most of the performers are likely as green as their director, so I’ll…

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Posterized Propaganda January 2014: The Top 10 Movie Posters of 2013

“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. Despite being another year of blockbusters and animated fare begging for bland character sheets and Photoshop montages, 2013′s movie posters were surprisingly creative artistically. A bunch of the following images…

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REVIEW: Looper [2012]

“I gave you something that was yours” Like he did film noir (Brick) and the grift (The Brothers Bloom), writer/director Rian Johnson has infused his uniquely personal touch into the science fiction genre with Looper. Time travel as a concept isn’t new, but how it’s handled will provide varying degrees of success. Generally utilized by the rich or hubristic scientists stumbling upon it, the technology has become a fantasy tool for adventure, discovery, and the righting of personal wrongs. It’s this third form that Johnson tinkers with inside a 2042…

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Posterized Propaganda September 2012: White Space Rules the Month

“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. When not distracted by the more offbeat, artistically inclined one-sheets for the amazing line-up gracing Toronto screens at TIFF this month, I was surprised to see a few good ones…

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TIFF11 REVIEW: The Odds [2011]

“You wanna see a card trick?” The Toronto International Film Festival media blurb for Simon Davidson’s debut feature, The Odds, likens it to a combination of Rounders and Brick. While this statement is true to a point, the comparisons remain solely on the surface. Poker plays a very small role—as gambling in general looms large—and while the plot concerns teenagers who are way over their heads in adult matters and murder, the hyper-reality of Rian Johnson’s contemporary classic is nowhere to be seen. Such broad generalizations end up doing the…

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REVIEW: The Maltese Falcon [1941]

“You’re a good man, sister” Based on pure coincidence from a conversation that had nothing to do with John Huston’s classic debut The Maltese Falcon, watching Rian Johnson’s Brick later in the same night couldn’t have been more perfect. The latter a modern noir described as Dashiell Hammett in high school, the parallels were hitting me left and right without my realizing that the scribe who inspired it actually wrote the novel the former was based upon. Exchanges are mirrored in Brick—like the lead detectives confronting the law in a…

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Top 50 Films of the Decade (2000–2009)

As always, I have not seen every film made in the decade, so this list is only complete as of posting. There are those diamonds in the rough I’ve yet to witness that could render this entire list obsolete. The ‘Naughts’, I believe an appropriate term being used for the decade spanning from 2000–2009, the years we feared wouldn’t come thanks to Y2K, brought with them some amazing films. Technological advancements aside, this time period contained a number of singular auteurs both continuing on already stellar careers and others beginning…

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Top Ten Films of 2008: The Year of World War II

This list is accurate as of post-date. So many films and not enough time to see them all, the potential for future change is inevitable, but as of today here are the best … I don’t know what precipitated 2008 being the year of the World War II movie, but of the 100+ releases I saw, six of them concerned it in some regard. The year saw more than its share of war from all decades with Che, Stop-Loss, Waltz with Bashir, and even Tropic Thunder, however, the Holocaust spent…

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REVIEW: The Spirit [2008]

“I have a city as my weapon” There is a lot to like about Frank Miller’s debut as a solo director. The Spirit is shot with a similar style as his last film, Sin City, based upon his own graphic novels, and the imagery is quite stunning at times. I’m not familiar with Will Eisner’s series for which the film is based, but after viewing scenes in stark black and white, with the bright red tie and blindingly white sneaker soles, coupled with the end credits artwork, I have to…

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TIFF08 REVIEW: The Brothers Bloom [2008]

“An unwritten life” After seeing the masterpiece that is Rian Johnson’s debut film Brick, I could not wait to see what he had up his sleeve. When I heard his follow-up would be a con artist film featuring Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, and Rachel Weisz, I couldn’t hold in my excitement. Yet upon viewing the trailer, my expectations fizzled ever so slightly, the short clip showing me what looked to be a generic ho-hum story that lacked the originality his first film held in abundance. But let me tell you,…

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Top 25 Films of 2006

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 88 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #25: Déjà Vu directed by Tony Scott. #24: Lady in the Water directed byM. Night Shyamalan #23: Casino Royale directed by Martin Campbell. #22: Stranger Than Fiction directed by Marc Forster #21: The Science of Sleep directed by Michel Gondry #20: Half Nelson directed by Ryan Fleck #19: Clerks 2 directed by Kevin Smith #18: The Last King of Scotland directed by…

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