BIFF19 REVIEW: Crown Vic [2019]

The world was dark when I got here. The title of writer/director Joel Souza‘s Crown Vic is a stand-in for “old school.” It’s a connection to a past that guys with twenty-five years on the job like Ray Mandel (Thomas Jane) feels fading away. And they’re correct. As new technologies arrive, oversight increases and a beat cops’ freedom to maneuver disappears. Like most complicated examples of progress, however, this is neither wholly good nor bad. We can believe that hyper aggressive racial profilers are a rarity in police forces rather…

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BIFF19 REVIEW: Frances Ferguson [2019]

Was this breaking the law? We never meet the narrator (Nick Offerman) of Bob Byington‘s film Frances Ferguson. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing or uncommon, but I couldn’t shake the idea that we should. It’s because he isn’t some omnisciently objective voice telling us a story. He interjects opinions, giggles, and often meanders to the point where his subject (Kaley Wheless‘ Frances) must speak up to help him along. In one instance he mentions a “We” as though his (and another’s) entrance on-screen was imminent. It’s not. He means…

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REVIEW: Hail, Caesar! [2016]

“It’s all in the hips, the lips, the eyes, and the thighs” You don’t think much when you read the Coen Brothers have been bouncing Hail, Caesar! around since 2004. After all, they’re prolific auteurs that often write scripts for other directors, so a decade-long gestation period is nothing to scoff at. Only when you learn the idea was little more than an idea that you start wondering about the final product. Maybe they loved that initial pitch so much the words simply poured out over the last couple years.…

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REVIEW: Night at the Museum [2006]

“Keep a lid on it, Butterscotch” While based on a 1993 children’s book by Milan Trenc portraying a museum security guard discovering how he must protect the people outside from the dinosaur skeletons that come to life inside, Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon‘s cinematic adaptation of Night at the Museum bears more of a resemblance to another family friendly fantasy franchise ending its trilogy the same year as theirs began. I’m talking about The Santa Clause, an enjoyable holiday journey of the heart wherein a divorced dad hoping to…

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REVIEW: American Storage [2006]

“I maintain it myself” It’s good to have friends in high places, but it’s better to have the chops to warrant their help. This is the life of Andrew Jay Cohen and Brendan O’Brien, production assistants on Anchorman and The 40 Year Old Virgin respectively who used their relationship with Judd Apatow and his troupe of actors to film a short. Using all their money and a three-day shooting schedule, American Storage was born as a witty little comedy about a grown man so temperamental and anxious about the outside…

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REVIEW: 10 Things I Hate About You [1999]

“Heinous bitch is the term used most often” Although a somewhat recent encounter with Kiss Me Kate firmly placed the musical on the top of my The Taming of the Shrew adaptation list, I can’t deny the appeal—nostalgic or otherwise—of 10 Things I Hate About You. Directed by Gil Junger and written by Karen McCullah Lutz and Kirsten Smith with their fair share of nods to The Bard, this romantic comedy plays with clique culture to intertwine love’s many trysts inside the halls of Padua High. Possessing a fun streak…

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REVIEW: A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas [2011]

“They serve pancakes in hell” When your leads are a pair of co-eds who love pot and desire the delicious goodness of White Castle burgers to satisfy the inevitable munchies, throwing a litany of oddball situations and raunchy characters their way makes complete sense. It’s an asinine world populated by one-note figures somehow working within their contextual limitations to induce laughter from an audience’s need of immaturity’s release. As a result, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle was a brilliant stoner comedy with longevity, its surprising success birthing the…

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REVIEW: I Love You, Man [2009]

“You sound like a leprechaun” Hollywood comedy these days is just one giant extended family tree. Everyone—and I mean everyone—has a connection and brings their friends along wherever they go. The new film I Love You, Man is no exception. This is a very good thing, because if I were to go on writer Larry Levin’s previous work, (scripting the Dr. Dolittle remake saga), I would have stayed far, far away. But instead I saw the Apatow flair with Jason Segel and regular Paul Rudd mixed with a little NBC…

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REVIEW: Superbad [2007]

“Yeah, I learned about that in health class” The title says it all. This movie is superbad…ass. You know, in as far as movie standards go, Superbad is not a masterpiece, or even something to speak about with more than a chuckle. With that said, though, I had a great time with this flick. It is tough to be a hard-R without any nudity for a film of its kind these days. The shear abundance of cursing and innuendo make you feel dirty enough. How writers Seth Rogen and Evan…

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