REVIEW: Calvary [2014]

“I’ve always found forgiveness to be underrated” I’m not a religious man—hell, I’m barely agnostic. I’m also not sure if that truth helps my finding John Michael McDonagh‘s Calvary as powerful as I believe it to be or simply evidence of it’s universality for both churchgoers and not. A reflection on faith, God, and ourselves caught within a present where destruction is immensely more prevalent than salvation, this story cannot help but touch you on the basest level of humanity to ask whether or not you can be better. It’s…

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REVIEW: White Material [2010]

“Because of people like you, this country is filthy” There is definitely something about director Claire Denis, something great. I can’t say I’m a professional, having only experienced my first Denis work last year with 35 Rhums, but after seeing White Material, there is no doubt she’s a force. The pacing, the sumptuous and mesmerizing score, the lingering camera on expressive faces, the frame bobbing up and down with a sense of being in the action—and yet the action itself is subtle, deliberate. There are definite stylistic comparisons and I’d…

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Top Ten Films of 2009: Foreign Films Reign Supreme

This list is accurate as of post-date. So many films and not enough time to see them all, the potential for future change is inevitable, but as of today here are the best … Another year gone, another 100+ releases down. 2009 was one that included a lot of good directors and some great ensemble pieces. Out of all the inclusions to my top ten, plus honorable mentions, only three really contained a central figure worthy of mention above the work itself; the others truly were complete packages consisting of…

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REVIEW: The Limits of Control [2009]

“Two espressos in separate cups” What do you get when you pair a minimalist such as Jim Jarmusch with a genius cinematographer in Christopher Doyle? The answer is a stunning work of art, starkly beautiful in its compositions and intelligently obtuse in its storytelling. Much like the director’s other films for which I’ve had the pleasure of seeing, The Limits of Control is about one man’s spiritual journey. Sometimes his movies have a more straightforward focus in plot, (Ghost Dog or Broken Flowers), but other instances are more metaphysical and…

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REVIEW: Casino Royale [2006]

“Shaken or stirred?” I am not a very big action movie fan. Explosions, violence, and sex don’t make a good movie unless there is some semblance of a story involved. Therefore, I’ve never really had an interest in watching the twenty or so James Bond films. Hearing about the gadgets and the suave hitman persona told me it wouldn’t be too intellectually fulfilling and if I didn’t want to be challenged at the movies I’d see a comedy not a film pretending to be sophisticated. My fears were made true…

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REVIEW: Miami Vice [2006]

“Drugs, Money, and Speed” I had heard a rumor going around that writer/director Michael Mann was having a real tough time cutting his feature adaptation of his own 80’s television drama “Miami Vice.” Supposedly he wasn’t finding a balance in the material he shot that would support his vision of the update. Whether this is true or not, I believe he was finally able to come to terms with the brutal look at underground police justice he had filmed. The movie has an edge to it that works well with…

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