TIFF17 REVIEW: Stronger [2017]

“I’m a hero for standing there and getting my legs blown off?” Peter Berg‘s take on unsung heroes Patriots Day is barely a year old and here we are with another Boston Marathon bombing film in David Gordon Green‘s Stronger. Rather than focus on the event itself, however, John Pollono‘s script turns focus squarely onto the shoulders of Jeff Bauman—the terrorist attack’s most recognizable victim. But while he could have easily minimized this man’s struggle into a generic fluff piece of Hollywood inspirational perseverance, he admirably highlights the darkness those…

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REVIEW: Our Brand is Crisis [2015]

“There’s only one wrong: losing” It’s probably because I know little about politics and care even less that I find most film’s dealing with the subject matter enjoyable. George Clooney‘s The Ides of March is one—the actor taking on the director’s chair, a co-screenwriting credit, and co-lead in front of the lens. Highly political himself with the media, it’s no surprise he’d gravitate towards a play based on an actual campaign (“Farragut North”) or a documentary doing much the same. The latter is Rachel Boynton‘s film centered on the 2002…

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INTERVIEW: David Gordon Green, director of Manglehorn

In the six years between Snow Angels and Prince Avalanche, writer/director David Gordon Green became a collaborator on a string of comedies of which he was not credited as a writer. In the two years since he’s utilized that process with drama Joe and now Manglehorn. He’s said in other interviews that it’s a way for him to have multiple projects going at once, passing ideas onto others to see what develops into something he wishes to pursue and what doesn’t. And as he tells us below, it also allows…

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REVIEW: Manglehorn [2015]

“I’m losing hope in tomorrow” Upon being asked whether he knows he’s a son-of-a-bitch or not, A.J. Manglehorn (Al Pacino) replies matter-of-factly with, “Yes. Maybe a little. Aren’t we all?” It’s a seemingly innocuous line within an intriguing film positing how each one of us can always see something of ourselves in characters onscreen. We can relate to the son-of-a-bitches and the kindhearted optimists, recalling moments in our lives mirroring what’s seen—probably not closely, but enough to send us back. The people surrounding this solitary curmudgeon of a man who…

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Picking Winners at the 87th Annual Academy Awards

Things look pretty cut and dry where the Academy is concerned in 2015. The Oscars are always a somewhat watered-down look at what really mattered in the past year of cinema and this installment is no exception. In fact, it may be all water at this point. That doesn’t mean there can’t be some intriguing surprises in the second-tier categories like Best Animated Feature (I really hope How to Train Your Dragon 2 loses to one of the other much more aesthetically and conceptually unique nominees) or Short Film Animated…

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Toronto International Film Festival 2014 Preview

We may have two consistent film festivals here in town showcasing small releases and restored classics, but you might not realize how close we are to one of the biggest in the world. Most “in the know” will center on five events when thinking about the best of the best film festivals and while Venice, Cannes, and Berlin are an ocean away and Sundance is across the country, The Toronto International Film Festival is less than a two-hour drive via the QEW into Canada. Even better than proximity, though, is…

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REVIEW: Prince Avalanche [2013]

“Sometimes I feel like I’m digging in my own ashes” The film Prince Avalanche proves to be the perfect segue for writer/director David Gordon Green to circle back to the independent scene after three studio comedies with varying degrees of success took him on a polar opposite route. I was glad to see his trademark dramatic edge remained intact while watching his latest Joe at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, but rediscovering it post-Your Highness and The Sitter couldn’t have been an easy transition despite taking a year off…

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TIFF13 REVIEW: Joe [2014]

“Tell me something. You like funny faces?” Welcome back David Gordon Green. While it’s easy for me to say such a statement because I know his pedigree on paper, truth be told I’ve only ever seen one film of his before he dove into Hollywood comedies. It was his last before that period of his oeuvre began—Snow Angels—and it was a glorious drama with top-notch performances and weighty drama. I won’t lie and say I didn’t love Pineapple Express because it is a great flick. Your Highness and The Sitter…

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REVIEW: Shotgun Stories [2008]

“That’s the last time you ever stay out of a fight” Watching the end credits of Shotgun Stories brought with it the realization that David Gordon Green was a producer. This shouldn’t be a surprise for those familiar with the writer/director’s early, best work, but in light of the low brow comedies Your Highness and The Sitter one might wonder if the indie darling will ever return to the dramatic subject matter he once mastered. His is a cautionary tale—I know it’s selfish of me to say this considering Green…

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REVIEW: Your Highness [2011]

“I want you to be gay with me and father” I knew Your Highness was going to be bad, but I never anticipated just how much. I thought that no matter how horrible the trailers were, Danny McBride and James Franco re-teaming would make things tolerable. They helped support Seth Rogen’s stoner action flick, Pineapple Express, Franco’s complete absurdity and McBride’s acquired taste enhancing the writer’s formula we have come to love. While Rogen and partner Evan Goldberg have discovered mainstream appeal, though, McBride and co-scribe Ben Best are still…

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REVIEW: The Sweet Hereafter [1997]

“Wiggle your noses and have fun” **spoilers** How much money is your child worth? Is that a question you could ever fathom yourself asking? Atom Egoyan’s The Sweet Hereafter broaches the subject with devastating results, showing the many ways in which one could lose their offspring and the pain and suffering it causes. But can that pain be tempered by a monetary settlement or a name being punished with a slap on the wrist? No, of course not. Vengeance will only feed your lust for blood; it will only make…

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