REVIEW: American Woman [2019]

We just want to find her and bring her home. If you want to get an idea about what to expect from Jake Scott‘s American Woman, look no further than a scene between Sienna Miller and Amy Madigan at the halfway mark. The former is Debra, a woman who must ultimately cope with the disappearance of the daughter (Sky Ferreira‘s Bridget) she gave birth to at sixteen while also refocusing her life to raise the grandson that’s been left behind. The latter plays her mother Peggy, a woman who cares…

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REVIEW: Toy Story 4 [2019]

She’ll be okay. It was said upon the release of Toy Story 3 that the franchise was done as far as Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear’s (Tim Allen) adventures were concerned. These sentiments made sense because it ended nicely on a logical breaking point wherein the boy whose name adorned their feet grew-up and gifted them to a new owner (Bonnie) who promised a warm future of happiness and play. Because simply retiring the characters would be dumb, Pixar decided to branch out into a trio of short comedic…

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REVIEW: Fist Fight [2017]

“Never trash talk an English teacher” It’s hard to believe that “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” has been on the air for twelve years now, but it’s still going strong. While the show opened doors for the entire quartet of relative unknowns, Charlie Day has been the one who’s leveraged his rising star into a pretty prolific film career, generally as the confused, manic comic relief. He fills that role on the show too, albeit at a level of imbecilic illiteracy that’s hard to fathom without watching yourself. But in…

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REVIEW: Dark Places [2015]

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” If Gillian Flynn wasn’t the “It” author after the phenomenon that was Gone Girl the book, she surely was once David Fincher adapted it into a huge moneymaking win. What’s interesting, though, is that Gone Girl wasn’t the first of her novels to head into production cinematically. That honor goes to her sophomore effort Dark Places, which began shooting one month sooner in August 2013. Scripted and directed by Frenchman Gilles Paquet-Brenner, who last helmed the critically acclaimed Sarah’s Key,…

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REVIEW: Lost River [2015]

“Here in my deep purple dream” You cannot watch Ryan Gosling‘s directorial debut Lost River without recalling the divisive surrealism of Only God Forgives. He’s the first to admit how much of an influence Nicolas Winding Refn was, pitting the Dane’s heightened realities against the emotive authenticity of another favorite collaborator in Derek Cianfrance. Gosling places himself somewhere in the middle of their two disparate sensibilities and while I get what he’s saying, the apple falls much closer to Refn’s tree. Unsurprisingly booed out of Cannes as it earned the…

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REVIEW: Leonie [2013]

“Don’t bore me by being ordinary” The saying goes as follows: “behind every great man stands a great woman”. No words are truer said for renowned sculptor/designer Isamu Noguchi if Hisako Matsui‘s film Leonie is any indication towards a mother’s stewardship into a life providing the freedom necessary to achieve one’s dreams. Written by the director and David Wiener from Masayo Duus‘ biography The Life of Isamu Noguchi: Journey Without Borders, the easy story of an artist’s genesis is pushed aside for the lesser-told journey of the courageous woman who…

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REVIEW: Done the Impossible: The Fans’ Tale of ‘Firefly’ and ‘Serenity’ [2006]

“And that makes us mighty” Never underestimate the Browncoats. A community of “Firefly” fans who filled the mold of their television shows’ iconic warriors Malcolm Reynolds and Zoë Washburne, their fervor and never-say-die attitude not only kept a canceled program alive in their hearts and on the internet, but also helped resurrect it to the big screen. Composed of regular people who found the time to watch and care as well as a contingent of cast and crew—themselves huge champions of the work created—Done the Impossible: The Fans’ Tale of…

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REVIEW: Life as We Know It [2010]

“Don’t let any fat grown-ups in when the kids are inside” Long-time television producer Greg Berlanti’s first directorial wide release, Life as We Know It, had two strikes against it before I even popped in the DVD. To begin with, the film was a romantic comedy in the vein of countless others—two people who hate each other are brought together by circumstances out of their control and slowly fall in love. And while the premise here is equal parts horrible in the fact someone thought it would be a good…

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