REVIEW: Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter [2015]

“Solitude? Just fancy loneliness.” It’s easy to assume Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter will be a humorous adventure of cultural dissonance upon reading its synopsis. The conceit is ripe for comedy and David and Nathan Zellner do mine that arena throughout their drama when it suits the story, but it’s a nuanced tragedy that’s ultimately delivered. How could the tale of a twenty-nine year old Japanese office worker stumbling upon a hidden VHS copy of Fargo, thinking it a treasure map to a suitcase full of cash, be tragic? Quite easily—even…

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Picking Winners at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards

Spree contributing writer William Altreuter, graphic designer Jared Mobarak, and I are going to share our thoughts on this week’s Oscar nominations. Let’s kick things off with a category whose victor—Colin “Mr. Darcy” Firth—seems to have already been agreed upon. — Christopher Schobert Best Actor:Javier Bardem: BiutifulJeff Bridges: True GritJesse Eisenberg: The Social NetworkColin Firth: The King’s SpeechJames Franco: 127 Hours William Altreuter: If the Academy had wanted to make a statement Jim Carrey‘s amazing turn in I Love You Phillip Morris would have found its way onto this list. Wouldn’t that…

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REVIEW: Blood Simple. [1984]

“I ain’t done nothin’ funny” It took Fargo—thirteen years later—for the Coen Brothers to finally get recognition at the Oscars with three nominations culminating in a win for Best Screenplay. Then it was another eleven before their first Best Picture win. And if you look at that victory with No Country for Old Men alongside their more recently acclaimed A Serious Man, you should force yourself to go all the way back to 1984 for a glimpse at their genetic originator. You can’t help but see the dark noir atmosphere…

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REVIEW: A Serious Man [2009]

“Did he tell you about the Goy’s teeth?” Despite the prevalent use of Hebrew without translation and, I’m sure, many instances of Jewish culture that I am unfamiliar with, I really enjoyed the new Coen Brothers film A Serious Man. The film, while a bit odd and seemingly schizophrenic in tone, is vintage Coen, harkening to the days of Barton Fink with its dark subtlety. Following up an all-out comedy in Burn After Reading, the new movie would seem out of place for viewers unfamiliar with the directors’ work, however,…

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REVIEW: Burn After Reading [2008]

“His optometrist has a sense of humor” Last year’s No Country for Old Men showed the world that the Coen Brothers could make a great film. After a pair of not-so-good flicks, no one really cared about them, two creative geniuses that crafted some of cinema’s best black comedies of the 80s and 90s. Then came the Oscar winner, showing an attention to detail and precision pacing worthy of the accolades if not, in my opinion, the best film of the year. But it was so serious and unlike anything…

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REVIEW: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day [2008]

“Money or love?” Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day indeed. And quite the day it was. Here is the “governess of last resort,” a daughter of a vicar, raised in a sheltered world of modesty. After butting heads with her previous employers due to their lack of courtesy, manners, and morals, Miss Pettigrew finds herself hungry, penniless, and very desperate. In a moment of need, she steals the address of a prospective client and pops over to pose as the woman sent for the job. Expecting a young boy to…

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REVIEW: No Country for Old Men [2007]

“Got some hard bark on that one” The Coen Brothers are most definitely back in form. While No Country for Old Men is not a perfect film, it is masterfully crafted and orchestrated to brilliant effect. Miller’s Crossing remains the one and only masterpiece from them, in my opinion, but this new one ranks right below it with Barton Fink and Fargo. The Coens always did better when there was a little darkness lurking behind the dry wit and deadpan deliveries. I have not seen Intolerable Cruelty, but, along with…

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Top 15 Films of 1996

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 44 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #15: Jerry Maguire directed by Cameron Crowe #14: The Birdcage directed by Mike Nichols #13: Primal Fear directed by Gregory Hoblit #12: Sling Blade directed byBilly Bob Thornton #11: Shine directed by Scott Hicks. #10: Basquiat directed by Julian Schnabel. #09: Bottle Rocket directed by Wes Anderson #08: From Dusk Till Dawn directed by Robert Rodriguez #07: Trainspotting directed by Danny Boyle…

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