REVIEW: The Sunlit Night [2020]

Maybe it was never really that fragile. The usual rom-com formula is as follows: the lead breaks-up with their significant other, escapes to a far-flung place to pick up the pieces, and finds true love waiting. We’ve seen it countless times and always sigh when the fateful yet unlikely happily-ever-after proves itself to be another co-dependent Hollywood victory where romance trumps independence. So it’s hard to look past a film daring to travel beneath such fairy tale surfaces and get at the heart of what those types of escapes truly…

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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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TIFF11 REVIEW: Twixt [2012]

“Keeping track of time around here is pointless” After a stellar career directing some of cinema’s greats—The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, The Conversation—you can’t blame Francis Ford Coppola for deciding to film smaller passion projects in his twilight. After the self-financed Tetro and Youth Without Youth, he returns with a story from an unusual origin. With an alcohol-induced dream in Istanbul, a vivid conversation with Edgar Allen Poe while a murder mystery happens as a backdrop, the impetus behind Twixt was born. Awoken before its end, Coppola scribbled down what he…

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REVIEW: Drag Me To Hell [2009]

“I welcome the dead into my soul” When I heard that Sam Raimi was back onto the Spider-Man train, signed on for the fourth installment, I was a bit lost for words. We all know how the third film in the series was a pale shadow of the previous two and the rumors were swirling about a remake of the movie that made him a cult filmmaker, The Evil Dead, so why visit the land of superheroes again? At the moment, I can only think that he is looking for…

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REVIEW: Redbelt [2008]

“There’s always an escape” David Mamet is back with his new film Redbelt. After four years away from Hollywood, producing the television show “The Unit,” Mamet has followed up his solid thriller Spartan with a drama of intelligence that only he can capture. Complete with the trademark, metered language—every word timed and delivered with precision—this tale may be billed as a mixed martial arts actioner, but it is so much more. The sport itself lends heavily to the plot for sure, but rather than with its moves and choreography, it…

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REVIEW: Shakes the Clown [1991]

“Saddle up Chuck!” Quite the interesting film from the warped mind of Bobcat Goldthwait. Shakes the Clown is his debut as a writer/director and tells the story about an alcoholic clown who, while passed out drunk, is framed for the murder of his boss and mentor. From the catch phrase “Loved by children. Desired by woman. Adored by bartenders everywhere” I was expecting something a little more perverse and out there. Instead, we are given a pretty run of the mill, mediocre comedy where the bumbling hero and misfit friends…

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REVIEW: Ocean’s 13 [2007]

“Are you watching Oprah?” Many people I have heard from plain despised Ocean’s 12 when they saw it. They complained of its weak plot and unreal goofiness. However, I found it to be very entertaining despite all of that. What the first film had as far as intelligence and wit, the second had in cool and fun. Sure the story was far-fetched and convoluted, but I’d pay to see these guys having fun onscreen anytime. I don’t go to a film like this to be intellectually stimulated, I go to…

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