REVIEW: An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn [2018]

That man ain’t dead. There’s an unforgettable scene from “Twin Peaks” season two that can be a make-it or break-it point for viewers due to how far David Lynch and company were willing to go with the cringe factor of their off-kilter comedic tone. It’s the one where Agent Cooper is lying on the floor of his hotel room after being shot by an unknown assailant. He’s bleeding out when the lovingly coined Señor Droolcup comes to the door with a glass of milk and obliviousness for the ages. Instead…

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TIFF18 REVIEW: Freaks [2018]

Go away ghost. It’s weird to think about a movie like Push today—an under-appreciated, much-maligned sci-fi that I’d argue is a lot better than the legacy it’s been given. The X-Men and Spider-Man trilogies had completed by the time it was released and Iron Man just hit theaters the year before to usher in what would become the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And yet here was a smaller-scale, original piece centering upon a group of mutants that could exist outside the realm of built-in fandoms. Perhaps that which made it special…

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REVIEW: The Autopsy of Jane Doe [2016]

“It looks like they were trying to break out” There’s no sign of forced entry. Two bodies are brutally murdered upstairs and a naked woman without a skin blemish is discovered half-buried in the basement. Sheriff Sheldon (Michael McElhatton) is at a loss. He can theorize the locals’ demise—even if it won’t quite fit perfectly—but he cannot spin the woman’s presence to the press. So unless he’s looking for a circus, her cause of death is paramount. Luckily county coroner Tommy Tilden (Brian Cox) works late. And if he’s working…

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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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REVIEW: Lone Survivor [2013]

“A lot of moving parts” If you’ve read Marcus Luttrell‘s memoir Lone Survivor (co-written by Patrick Robinson), you’d know it was primed for a cinematic adaptation. There’s Navy SEAL boot camp, the infamous “hell week”, the brotherly bond formed between team members, and the courage under fire each has been trained to cultivate and utilize in the field. It’s a tragic tale with a spoiler title that details the heroic deaths Marcus witnessed after a rules of engagement decision proved fatal as well as the unlikely saviors who helped ensure…

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REVIEW: The Girl Next Door [2004]

“I’ll always remember … “ A film not necessarily loved upon release—many actually reviled it for “glamorizing” the life of a porn star—Luke Greenfield‘s The Girl Next Door was and still is a hilarious coming of age story for a post-American Pie world. It’s about finding yourself on the cusp of high school graduation without a memory worth telling as hitting the books and being a consummate student leaves you wanting. Matthew Kidman (Emile Hirsch) did everything he was supposed to on his quest to Georgetown and only found a…

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Posterized Propaganda August 2013: ‘Elysium,’ ‘The World’s End,’ ‘Short Term 12′ & More

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. Summer is coming to a close with a five-Friday August jam-packing all the leftover big budget actioners that have been biding their time to distance themselves from the likes of…

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REVIEW: Killer Joe [2012]

“You hit her didn’t you?” I’ve been meaning to check out William Friedkin‘s Bug for a while now. Despite my enjoyment for The Exorcist and The French Connection, it’s not necessarily because of the director. I just don’t know enough of his filmography to faithfully keep tabs with high interest. No, the reason I’m fascinated by it besides the involvement of actor Michael Shannon is the dark aesthetic its imagery instills. I bring this up now because it seems that tonal quality may in fact be a product of screenwriter…

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TIFF12 REVIEW: Venuto al mondo [Twice Born] [2012]

“There’s no sea in Sarajevo” Adapted from the 2008 novel by Margaret Mazzantini of the same name, Venuto al mondo [Twice Born] isn’t quite what it seems. When an aged Italian woman named Gemma (Penélope Cruz) receives a phone call from her past, we infer certain facts via hers and her husband’s (director Sergio Castellitto‘s Giuliano) reactions. The mystery man in a photo on their fridge seems more important than a simple friend for who’s work is showing in Sarajevo. And as Gemma and son Pietro (Pietro Castellitto) exit the…

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REVIEW: Taking Woodstock [2009]

“Like ants making thunder” Truthfully, I believe that the thing so many detractors point to concerning Taking Woodstock is my favorite part of the whole endeavor. I thought that the trailers did a very good job of explaining that Ang Lee was telling a story about the behind the scenes construction of the festival, using Elliot Tiber’s story of saving his parents motel and putting their sleepy little town on the map. If you want to see the concert and the music and the artists, rent Woodstock the documentary. Even…

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REVIEW: Speed Racer [2008]

“See, this race is full of cheaters” I’m going to preface this review by saying I have no clue about anything “Speed Racer”. I’ve never seen the cartoon, I don’t know the ins and outs or plotlines, nor if the source material was tongue-in-cheek and campy. Truthfully, I am glad I went into the Wachowskis’ film adaptation Speed Racer this way. Perhaps the tone took me by surprise in how grating and annoying it could be at times, (I wanted to kill Spritle and Chim Chim from their first moment…

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