REVIEW: Far From Heaven [2002]

“Here’s to being the only one” While Todd Haynes‘ Far From Heaven wears its “inspired by All That Heaven Allows” on its sleeves from aesthetic to subject matter to blatant homage, it’s so much more. He takes what Douglas Sirk brought to life and injects it with a healthy dose of complexity and jeopardy wherein the melodrama can’t simply be defused by laughter as true love conquers a town of self-centered lemmings slaving to adhere to the homogeneity of wealthy comfort. It’s not about the guilt of one woman swaying…

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TIFF15 REVIEW: Truth [2015]

“Don’t forget to eat” There’s a real issue with the media and how they have monetized news content over the past couple decades. Robert Redford has a great monologue as Dan Rather in James Vanderbilt‘s Truth speaking on the subject of “being there” when the switch was flipped. The film’s unsurprisingly very much interested in exposing this fact—despite our already being keenly aware of it and a majority of Americans preferring the sensationalism bred in the aftermath to actual investigative journalism—in the background of an exposé detailing Rather and more…

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REVIEW: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra [2009]

“Duke wasn’t born, he was government issued” Growing up during the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles heyday meant some of the classic toys were neglected in my youth. I had Transformers—although I never watched the cartoon to think of them as anything more than cars turning into robots—and loved Voltron if only for the fact each of the five components fit together for more power. Minus hand-me-down Hot Wheels, their diminutive spawn Micro Machines, and the odd He-Man character, however, TMNT was my main outlet for plastic figurine faux violence. G.I.…

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REVIEW: Sparkle [2012]

“You snuck out of the house for less” I can’t wait for the Director’s Cut. No, not Criterion’s much ballyhooed 216-minute edit of Michael Cimino‘s Heaven’s Gate. I’m talking about Salim Akil‘s Sparkle. I need to try and piece together the gaps leading towards its imploded Motown trio’s back-up singer earning a sold out first ever solo show with full orchestra and gospel choir after barely receiving two minutes of unsolicited time from the record executive who already dropped her once. I don’t care if her voice is like listening…

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REVIEW: Footloose [2011]

“We cannot be missing from our children’s lives” Whether it takes place in 1984 or 2011, the Footloose’s premise will never be plausible. No matter how small the place, I can’t wrap my head around a town council banning the act of dancing and listening to loud rock ‘n’ roll for minors under the age of 18 in any era other than the 1950s. Maybe I’m giving ultra conservative America too much credit or am reading into the set-up for a dance movie too deeply, but Craig Brewer’s remake doesn’t…

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REVIEW: Soul Surfer [2011]

“Dad, please don’t cry” With ten different writer names credited—whether attached to the book, screen story, or screenplay—and a director in Sean McNamara, you can’t help but think Soul Surfer would have fit nicely alongside his previous Disney Channel fare. Not that it doesn’t work effectively as something more than a movie of the week, it’s just that the religion, search for hope, and drive to succeed against all odds makes it palatable for the types of audiences targeted by the cable station. I realize that might seem as though…

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REVIEW: Breaking Away [1979]

“Oh Dave, try not to become Catholic on us” It may be dated and it may be somewhat obvious—aren’t all sports feel-good films—but Breaking Away is a pretty great piece of cinema, melding coming-of-age dramedy with underdog athleticism. I’m not sure you could really pigeonhole it solely into one of those two categories; it’s definitely a symbiotic relationship. Centered on a foursome of childhood friends in Bloomington, Indiana, (where the entire movie was shot), director/producer Peter Yates and writer Steve Tesich shares a tale of finding one’s place and identity…

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REVIEW: Pandorum [2009]

“Where are the stars?” I’ve got to give it to director Christian Alvart and writer Travis Milloy for delivering the goods with their horror/thriller Pandorum. Admittedly, I’d go see anything with Ben Foster in the cast, but there was also something in the trailer that piqued my interest despite the very easy chance of the film ending up a failure. The aesthetic is dark and slimy, the atmosphere is claustrophobic, and there are creatures of some sort hiding beneath the industrial tubes and blast-proof glass panes. While hopes were high,…

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REVIEW: Vantage Point [2008]

“American arrogance” I love the correlation between the Arab’s comment of American arrogance making us think we are always one step ahead of the world and the fact that this film falls into the same exact trap. I understand the concept of multiple viewpoints on the proceedings, as well as the rewinding to show us those differences, however, if you are going to do it, only show us what we missed the first time. Not to spoil anything, the sequence of a character throwing a bomb underneath the presidential podium…

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