REVIEW: Sicario: Day of the Soldado [2018]

Not ‘they’. There’s a reason for Emily Blunt‘s character Kate in Sicario. She’s the last vestige of law and order on the frontlines of a war that relinquished both long ago. Her FBI Agent believed in what she was doing and felt she could make a difference in the field to combat the drugs, bodies, and weapons spilling over the US/Mexican border courtesy of the cartels. So when two “DoD consultants” came calling to recruit her for a covert mission targeting someone of value at the top of the food…

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REVIEW: Incredibles 2 [2018]

Help me make supers legal again! Fourteen years is a long time to wait for a sequel—especially from a studio that embraced the concept of creatively expanding properties with them early on in its tenure. Letting a decade-plus pass guarantees your initial audience has grown out of the target demographic and therefore presumes their interest in returning to such characters has waned or disappeared. This is why the decision to have Incredibles 2 completely ignore its lengthy hiatus is so intriguing an idea. We’re not returning to this world long…

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REVIEW: Get Out [2017]

“Magic isn’t real” If you ever watched “Key & Peele” you’d know the line between comedy and horror is very fine. Their sketches would often devolve into a horrific situation that you’d have to cry about if you weren’t already laughing. I think of “Aerobics Meltdown” where there’s this hilarious conceit of Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele going over-the-top, 1980s-era Richard Simmons—it’s absurd, campy, and frivolous. But then they inject a sense of fear and helplessness through a stagehand explaining how one of their wives was in a terrible accident,…

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REVIEW: The Croods [2013]

“Never not be afraid” One credit has fascinated me since The Croods opened in theaters: story by John Cleese. That John Cleese? Surprisingly, yes. It’s a somewhat convoluted journey from his failed adaptation of Roald Dahl‘s The Twits with Kirk DeMicco catching the eye of Dreamworks and earning them the pick of the litter as far as in production pitches at the studio. They chose one about a stereotypical caveman and his “modern” counterpart running from the volcanic apocalypse plate tectonics wrought. It was set up at Aardman, left for…

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REVIEW: Enough Said [2013]

“I like your paddles” While many are quick to label it as James Gandolfini‘s final cinematic role, Nicole Holofcener‘s Enough Said shouldn’t be dismissed as mere eulogy. The writer/director’s first foray into the studio world—albeit with indie shingle Fox Searchlight—it retains the voice and sensibility her fans have enjoyed over the past two decades regardless of any compromises she may have needed to acquiesce. A tale of middle-age and the struggles it brings to married couples, divorced bachelorettes, fathers of college-aged daughters, and career-minded sophisticates, perception becomes a driving force…

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REVIEW: Captain Phillips [2013]

“A little air might do him some good” Despite my affinity for director Paul Greengrass‘ entries to the Bourne Saga, his cinéma vérité style will always in my opinion be better suited for gritty, true-life tales such as the contemporary classics Bloody Sunday and United 93. (We’ll just forget Green Zone ever squeezed its way into his oeuvre.) As a result, his attachment to Richard Phillips‘ harrowing tale of getting hijacked by Somali pirates and subsequently kidnapped as a hostage for ten million dollars was a perfect marriage from the…

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TIFF13 REVIEW: Begin Again [Can a Song Save Your Life?] [2014]

“Yeah. I just phased out my cassettes.” To answer the title’s question—Can a Song Save Your Life?—writer/director John Carney says, “Yes.” A song can save someone from jumping off a subway platform and someone else from the searing emotional pain of being scorned in love. Music in general is an art form that can move us to tears with one simple chord or touchingly real lyric. It alters us in a way that can’t be explained; the same song telling a person there is purpose while the guy standing a…

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TIFF12 REVIEW: A Late Quartet [2012]

“You just took a quality violin from a real musician” When the cellist of a world-renowned string quartet discovers early onset Parkinson’s is taking away the dexterity needed to continue playing, the will of the entire group is shaken. Conversations about a replacement, questions about continuing, and attempts to keep their friend’s desire to play alive unsurprisingly ensue while a comic series of sexual trysts add to the fun. This is Yaron Zilberman‘s A Late Quartet—a tale of the conflicts inherent in any collaboration spanning twenty-five years mixed with silly…

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Picking Winners at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards

Spree contributing writer William Altreuter, graphic designer Jared Mobarak, and I are going to share our thoughts on this week’s Oscar nominations. Let’s kick things off with a category whose victor—Colin “Mr. Darcy” Firth—seems to have already been agreed upon. — Christopher Schobert Best Actor:Javier Bardem: BiutifulJeff Bridges: True GritJesse Eisenberg: The Social NetworkColin Firth: The King’s SpeechJames Franco: 127 Hours William Altreuter: If the Academy had wanted to make a statement Jim Carrey‘s amazing turn in I Love You Phillip Morris would have found its way onto this list. Wouldn’t that…

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REVIEW: Cyrus [2010]

“Its like a crippled tree reaching for heaven” I’m not sure anyone makes awkward comedies quite like Jay and Mark Duplass. Even though their newly found mainstream status as filmmakers has caused an evolution from the old days of Mumblecore, it hasn’t knocked those off-kilter sensibilities away. Their latest endeavor, Cyrus, is a huge step forward in that it has enticed a reasonably seasoned cast of actors to lend the film a more professional feel, for lack of a better term. That’s not to say the previous collaborations weren’t, they…

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TIFF10: Day Three Recap

Day Three at TIFF was by far our craziest of the year—seeing five films back-to-back from 11AM to 2:30AM. The late start allowed for a bit of sleeping in for preparation, as well as a semi-lengthy breakfast at Timmy Ho’s, both of which probably kept us from falling asleep during the marathon sittings. And while the last two of the night finally saw a bit of humor infused into the otherwise heavy schedule of dramas that do take something out of you, the morning opened with what could have been…

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