REVIEW: The Addams Family 2 [2021]

Up and Addams. When Grandma Addams (Bette Midler) says, “Time to make some money” upon waving goodbye to the family as they embark on a cross-country bonding vacation (despite the song lyric proclaiming they are “going global,” that doesn’t happen until the end credits), I laughed because it seemed like a thinly veiled joke on sequels to already rebooted IP generally being made to do exactly that. What I didn’t expect, however, was for there to be an actual advertisement about halfway through courtesy of a Progressive billboard. It’s not…

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REVIEW: The Addams Family [2019]

The day is becoming most wonderfully disruptive. What exactly the “old country” is in context with the latest iteration of Charles Addams‘ beloved The Addams Family is unknown. Are we to infer Transylvania? Maybe. Does the film itself pretty much just show Gomez (Oscar Isaac) and Morticia (Charlize Theron) driving until they hit a straight-jacketed inmate (Lurch) escaped from an abandoned asylum up on a hill? Yes. Does a patient escaping a building with no occupants seem strange? Sure, but that’s kind of par for the course. Asking questions about…

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TIFF20 REVIEW: Shadow in the Cloud [2021]

Be safe. Shape up. Stay on task. Try as they might, Max Landis‘ name is still there on the big screen when the opening titles to Roseanne Liang‘s Shadow in the Cloud begin to roll. They’ve scrubbed it from the press notes save a single mention in the full credit list, IMDB hasn’t added it to their page (yet), and star Chloë Grace Moretz has gone out of her way to ensure everyone knows Liang (who shares that screenwriting credit) rewrote the original draft multiple times. That Landis hasn’t been…

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REVIEW: Suspiria [2018]

Of what do you ask? I’m no big fan of Dario Argento‘s Suspiria. It’s a gorgeous film overflowing with mood and aesthetic that ultimately becomes the poster child for style over substance before gradually revealing more to offer upon subsequent viewings. In the end, however, it still doesn’t add up to much besides its place as a prototypical entry in the horror genre that’s inspired countless works in the four decades since release. So I got excited when a remake was announced. If ever a “classic” movie deserved a new…

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REVIEW: The Miseducation of Cameron Post [2018]

There’s no hiding from God. “Separation of church and state” has always fascinated me since the only consistency within is the ability to pick and choose when and how it’s enforced. We’re the “land of the free” and therefore shouldn’t impose certain laws and safeties upon religious communities trying to practice their faith. But when a political power finds utility in prejudice and animosity against one religion to turn its own into the very platform on which it runs, that’s okay. It’s funny too that these scenarios deal directly with…

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REVIEW: The Equalizer [2014]

“Change your world” It may be because I knew beforehand that Antoine Fuqua‘s The Equalizer was based on an old 80s TV show (from Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim), but it felt very episodic in a way that made it utterly boring. There’s that time Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) helps his coworker lose weight. That time he gives a troubled young prostitute a reason to smile. Don’t forget when he helps someone out of a jam with some corrupt cops. Or when he takes down a Russian mob syndicate single-handedly.…

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REVIEW: If I Stay [2014]

“True love’s a bitch” I am not a proponent of stories that hinge the possibility of undying live between teenagers on an unspeakable tragedy. This was my biggest issue with the overwrought sequels to Twilight and their brazen desire to show how star-crossed lovers would commit suicide before ever imagining a world outside the other’s arms. Cry all you want about how Romeo and Juliet did the same: Twilight is not Shakespeare. To that point, neither is Gayle Forman. Yes it’s a tough world and we all dream about a…

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Posterized Propaganda October 2013: The Faces of ‘Gravity,’ ’12 Years a Slave,’ ‘The Counselor’ & More

“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. Not too many movies open up in October—and only one studio horror flick at that, despite Halloween. What’s the best way to sell tickets then? Star power. Celebrity faces are…

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REVIEW: Kick-Ass 2 [2013]

“Act like a bitch, get slapped like a bitch” I know a lot of people who hate Kick-Ass—definitely more than don’t. It’s always fascinated me because I thought it was a brilliantly funny actioner with a darkly comic streak of what logistically could happen if normal citizens decided to become superheroes. I loved it when I saw it in theatres and found myself validating that sentiment yesterday when revisiting it in preparation for the sequel. Well, let’s just say that about halfway through Kick-Ass 2 I think I discovered what…

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REVIEW: Dark Shadows [2012]

“You’ll have to imagine us on a better day” At present, the Tim Burton discussion can be answered in two ways. One: I’ve become too old and jaded to ‘get’ the farcical nature of the auteur’s darkly comic worlds anymore. The satiric tongue-in-cheek tonality he so brilliantly cultivated in grotesque-lite universes either doesn’t have the same effect on me that it did in my youth or just isn’t as good. In that vein comes number Two: Burton has lost a step and now languishes in a perpetual self-parody desperately trying…

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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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