REVIEW: The Peanut Butter Falcon [2019]

Two bandits on the run. Neither Tyler (Shia LaBeouf) nor Zak (Zack Gottsagen) is where he wants to be—each haunted by memories of their loss. The former suffers from demons of his own making after his brother Mark’s (Jon Bernthal) death while the latter contends with his family abandoning him into the guardianship of a state ill-equipped to care. They’re trapped in ways that only render an escape possible through criminal means. Tyler’s arson gives him an excuse to run by ensuring Duncan (John Hawkes) and Ratboy’s (Yelawolf) desperate fishermen…

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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: Bad Times at the El Royale [2018]

Why even have a bell? Writer/director Drew Goddard‘s affinity for voyeuristic set-ups continues with Bad Times at the El Royale‘s “pervert hotel” aesthetic. His first feature-length screenplay (Cloverfield) was found footage, his directorial debut (The Cabin in the Woods) had a two-way mirror as well as a science fiction surveillance conceit, and now we get a hidden corridor of nefarious delights on the border of California and Nevada with windows spying upon every guest who so chooses the titular accommodations to rest his/her head. You can’t blame him for returning…

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REVIEW: Fifty Shades Darker [2017]

“Nothing lasts” Considering the Fifty Shades of Grey series is Twilight fan-fiction barely polished from its sordid internet origins, it shouldn’t be surprising that a villain besides dominant millionaire Christian Grey’s (Jamie Dornan) sadist side would arrive. Child molester Elena Lincoln (Kim Basinger) was alluded to in the first film, but not seen. So we anticipated this older woman who taught a fourteen year-old Christian about sex (propelling him onto the path he struggles to battle today) would receive a bigger role once Grey and naïve “I’m not a submissive!”…

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REVIEW: A Bigger Splash [2015]

“Try not to frighten the horses” More than loosely based upon Alain Page‘s 1969 French script La Piscine, Luca Guadagnino finally follows up his magnificent I Am Love with A Bigger Splash, his first narrative fiction since. It tells the story of a rockstar legend (Tilda Swinton‘s Marianne Lane channeling Ziggy Stardust) and her long-term documentarian boyfriend (Matthias Schoenaerts‘ Paul De Smedt) as they vacation on a secluded Italian island for much needed recovery—she post-vocal surgery and he not so far removed from a violent suicide attempt spurred by alcoholism.…

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REVIEW: Black Mass [2015]

“If nobody sees it, it didn’t happen” The story of Southie crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp) is perfectly suited for a sprawling, character-driven cinematic adaptation because of the corruption level involved. Based on the book by Boston Globe reporters Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill, Black Mass screenwriters Mark Mallouk and Jez Butterworth take us through an in-depth look at a local gangster making good on his promise to watch out for South Boston just as he helps ruin it with drugs and murder before ultimately transforming into an…

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REVIEW: Fifty Shades of Grey [2015]

“I enjoy various physical pursuits” Author E.L. James should be ecstatic that the crazy fervor surrounding her trilogy of BD/SM propelled it towards a movie deal because now artists more qualified to bring her kinkiness to life can get their hands on it. I’m not saying she’s a bad writer—I’ll let the myriad commenters on the interwebs too haughty to accept someone who turned a pornographic Twilight fan-fiction into a worldwide bestseller do that. I’m also not saying she’s good—I haven’t read her novel, but have been exposed to the…

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REVIEW: The Five-Year Engagement [2012]

“The Taxman waits for no one” Writer/actor Jason Segel and writer/director Nicholas Stoller have been working with each other for years now, both cementing their membership in Judd Apatow‘s comedic entourage on “Undeclared”. It was their first cinematic collaboration—Forgetting Sarah Marshall—however, that put them on the map as a creative team worth keeping in the recesses of your mind for light bulbs of clarity to illuminate when hearing their names in trailers. The film was a perfect mix of charm, hilarity, and crude behavior that was sadly unmatched with Stoller’s…

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