LOCARNO16 REVIEW: Where Is Rocky II? [2016]

“You can Hollywood anything” It was around the time Pierre Bismuth won his Oscar as an original story creator on Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind that he stumbled upon an unknown work by Edward Ruscha via a BBC documentary. This tape captured the artist as he created a fake rock dubbed “Rocky II,” a fiberglass/resin creation that ultimately replaced “Rocky I” once it was proven unsuitable for longevity in the desert (having been manufactured from wheat paste). It’s a fascinating discovery—a piece by a renowned figure that nobody’s seen…

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REVIEW: Anomalisa [2015]

“Nah. That’s British Airways.” Leave it to Charlie Kaufman to write a play about human connection and have it be just three actors who don’t physically interact—two playing single characters and the third everyone else with no discernable attempt to differentiate his voice. Then leave it to Dino Stamatopoulos and Dan Harmon of “Community” and “Moral Orel” fame to think it would make a great stopmotion animated film co-directed by Duke Johnson wherein Tom Noonan‘s stable of characters could literally all have the same face. This is Anomalisa: an adaptation…

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REVIEW: Ruby Sparks [2012]

“I will never write about her again” The debut screenplay from actress Zoe Kazan includes moments ringing absolutely true and others completely false. I can’t stop thinking about Harry Weir-Fields (Chris Messina) giving his brother Calvin (Paul Dano)—the film’s lead—notes on his new, very rough manuscript. Asking without a shred of patronization who the target reader is, he doesn’t believe the women inclined to read romances will care about a quirky, damaged girl with little going for her besides being the object of a man’s affections. It’s obvious to Harry…

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BNFF11 REVIEW: Der Sandmann [The Sandman] [2011]

“Ears need air at night” What would you do if you woke up one morning to find sand in your bed? You haven’t gone to the beach and you didn’t do anything at night besides dream a very realistic dream with sun and sights. Your boss at a local stamp collecting shop made mention of seeing granules around the front desk—saying he’d like to kick the knee of whomever is bringing in such dirt—your doctor gives you a clean bill of health, and your shrink thinks you’re sharing a nicely…

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Top 50 Films of the Decade (2000–2009)

As always, I have not seen every film made in the decade, so this list is only complete as of posting. There are those diamonds in the rough I’ve yet to witness that could render this entire list obsolete. The ‘Naughts’, I believe an appropriate term being used for the decade spanning from 2000–2009, the years we feared wouldn’t come thanks to Y2K, brought with them some amazing films. Technological advancements aside, this time period contained a number of singular auteurs both continuing on already stellar careers and others beginning…

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REVIEW: Synecdoche, New York [2008]

“The end is built into the beginning” We all go about our lives creating a world around us. To us, we are the stars of a film; our surroundings are the set; and the people touching our lives supporting players and/or extras. Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Caden Cotard watches as the plays he directs onstage succeed and garner praise while the life he lives with wife and daughter falls apart around him. As a God, crafting the activities and molding the characterizations of a cast, his own humanity is lost and…

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REVIEW: The Science of Sleep [2006]

“Will you marry me when you’re seventy and have nothing to lose?” Michel Gondry’s first foray into that of solo writer/director has finally been released outside the festival circuit. The Science of Sleep was created without the help of writing collaborator Charlie Kaufmann whose scripts for Human Nature and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind were brought to the screen by the visual prowess of Gondry. There is a void apparent as the story is not as tight and coherent, (if you can call a Kaufmann script either), as his…

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Top 25 Films of 2004

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 130 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #25: Million Dollar Baby directed by Clint Eastwood. #24: The Dreamers directed byBernardo Bertolucci #23: The Brown Bunny directed by Vincent Gallo. #22: Hotel Rwanda directed by Terry George #21: Friday Night Lights directed by Peter Berg #20: Down to the Bone directed by Debra Granik #19: Sideways directed by Alexander Payne #18: Mysterious Skin directed by Gregg Araki #17: The Incredibles…

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