TIFF REVIEW: The Front Runner [2018]

A lot can happen in three weeks. And so it began—sentiments that prove true only until the next example replaces it. We’re just two years removed from Donald Trump’s victory for president of the United States and already the art seeking answers about what went wrong and what went right have arrived. Much of it stems from finding a turning point to mark when the mainstream media started including tabloid fodder under the header of journalism, when politics shifted from the good of constituents and country to that of party…

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REVIEW: Tully [2018]

You’re empty. After loving their first collaboration (Juno) and disliking their second (Young Adult), I didn’t know what to expect with director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody‘s third pairing behind the camera. The best I could do was enter the theater unprejudiced and hopeful for the best since I do like most of their work regardless of that mutual misstep. I can’t say Tully initially made it easy, though. Just because Marlo (Charlize Theron) and Drew (Ron Livingston) aren’t the generic rich, white, suburban couple able to afford a…

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Posterized Propaganda October 2014: ‘Gone Girl,’ ‘Nightcrawler,’ ‘Whiplash,’ and 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. Say goodbye to summer. Tent pole season is over and the critical darlings have begun to pop up on the Fandango queue. October is still a weird month, however, since…

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Wiig, Gyllenhaal, and Monster Love at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival

Friends and family think me crazy for driving up the QEW so I can sit in darkened theaters for around thirty of a total eighty-hours in Toronto, but I wouldn’t spend my early September days any other way. This is what the Toronto International Film Festival does—it makes you look sanity in the face, say no thanks, and go the exact opposite way towards a world-renowned cinematic spectacle those same people are jealous about once I tell them I saw Kristen Wiig tell a joke. It was a funny one too…

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Men, Women & Children [2014]

“I guess I was just scared” We are the pale blue dot. Earth? No. The intermittently blinking light on the end of an out-of-touch parent’s device for transparently spying on a daughter’s electronic path when he/she should be proud for having a smart and compassionate teen unlike the majority populating the local high school. Our world’s different from the one Carl Sagan represented by filling the Voyager spacecraft with records of music, languages, and calls of whales. Now in a post-9/11 America we fear strangers as well as friends, peers,…

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TIFF14 REVIEW: October Gale [2015]

“Sorry. I have to put my gum in your belly button for a second.” After enjoying Ruba Nadda‘s Inescapable and hearing a ton of praise for Cairo Time, I went into her latest effort October Gale with high expectations. Whether this fact tainted my experience or not, those hopes were not met. For whatever reason Nadda doesn’t seem quite certain about what she wants from her plot. Is it a Nicholas Sparks love triangle for the middle-aged between a still grieving widow (Patricia Clarkson‘s Helen), the memory of her husband…

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Toronto International Film Festival 2014 Preview

We may have two consistent film festivals here in town showcasing small releases and restored classics, but you might not realize how close we are to one of the biggest in the world. Most “in the know” will center on five events when thinking about the best of the best film festivals and while Venice, Cannes, and Berlin are an ocean away and Sundance is across the country, The Toronto International Film Festival is less than a two-hour drive via the QEW into Canada. Even better than proximity, though, is…

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Top 25 Films of 2013

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 220+ releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #25: Mud directed by Jeff Nichols #24: Pacific Rim directed by Guillermo del Toro #23: The Conjuring directed by James Wan #22: Satellite of Love directed by Will James Moore #21: Una noche [One Night] directed by Lucy Mulloy #20: The Great Gatsby directed by Baz Luhrmann #19: The Spectacular Now directed by James Ponsoldt #18: Blue Jasmine directed by Woody Allen…

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REVIEW: Paradise [2013]

“Why twitter with Satan when you can friend with God?” My first trip to the Toronto International Film Festival had me arriving at the box office with vouchers and no clue about what to see. Ready for anything, my friend and I took a chance on Juno based solely on our enjoying Thank You for Smoking and our intrigue in Ellen Page’s follow up to her fantastic turn in Hard Candy. It was a great choice: funny, fresh, contemporary, and accompanied by a Q&A with director Jason Reitman and first-time…

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TIFF13 REVIEW: Labor Day [2013]

“I understood who my real family was: her.” If anyone questioned whether or not Jason Reitman was truly a great director or merely someone with excellent luck at choosing projects—I remember thinking his Best Director nod for Juno was premature myself—Labor Day should set the record straight. And that’s despite his introduction before its third screening at the Toronto International Film Festival thanking his crew for making it seem he knew what he was doing. It’s very much a different beast than his previous works, pushing comedy to the side…

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Picking Winners at the 84th Annual Academy Awards

For the next week and a half, Spree contributor William C. Altreuter, our online film reviewer Jared Mobarak, and me will share our thoughts on who will take home the Oscars. Let’s kick things off with … Best Supporting Actress. —C. S. BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:Bérénice Bejo – The Artist as Peppy MillerJessica Chastain – The Help as Celia FooteMelissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids as Megan PriceJanet McTeer – Albert Nobbs as Hubert PageOctavia Spencer – The Help as Minny Jackson Christopher Schobert: Bill, it seems like every time you and I tackle…

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