REVIEW: Triple 9 [2016]

“Better him than me” No matter how exciting it is to see a film with the cast John Hillcoat assembled on Triple 9, the old adage “less is more” still stands. The issue with having so many “main characters” is that they all end up becoming periphery players. And if one does rise above the rest, you wonder why so much happens that doesn’t concern him/her. This is where Matt Cook‘s 2010 Blacklist script falls into trouble: Casey Affleck‘s Chris Allen is our lead and yet he’s basically a pawn…

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REVIEW: Lawless [2012]

“You still have the price tag on your coat” After The Proposition‘s grit and The Road‘s nightmarish post-apocalyptic vision, watching the trailer for John Hillcoat‘s newest film Lawless left a little something to be desired. Looking like an action flick about bootleggers standing against the law in a blaze of glory, all nuance from its showcase of familial strength and honor was missing. Based on an historical novel written by its subject’s grandson Matt Bondurant—The Wettest County in the World—this is the heroic legend of three indestructible brothers refusing to…

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Top 25 Films of 2009

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 153 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #25: An Education directed by Lone Scherfig #24: The Box directed by Richard Kelly #23: Sunshine Cleaning directed by Christine Jeffs #22: The Road directed by John Hillcoat #21: District 9 directed by Neill Blomkamp #20: Fantastic Mr. Fox directed by Wes Anderson #19: Lebanon directed by Samuel Maoz. #18: The Hurt Locker directed by Kathryn Bigelow. #17: Los abrazos rotos[Broken Embraces]…

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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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TIFF09 RECAP: Connecting to Your World … and mine

Every year at the Toronto International Film Festival seems to get better and better. Is that due to the increase in films from six to eleven to fifteen? It very well might be. And I’ll just say now, watching fifteen films in less than four days may not be the healthiest thing in the world. Between the vendor sausage/chicken dogs/nitrates on a bun being easily accessible and a standard meal when going from one film to the next with barely enough time to catch your breath and the sheer fact…

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TIFF09 REVIEW: The Road [2009]

“I don’t want to just survive” Why do the Weinsteins continue to do it? They buy and finance great stuff, they have an eye for talent, and yet they squander it so many times. When I first heard that the Cormac McCarthy adapted, John Hillcoat directed The Road was being pushed back from last year’s Oscar contention—yes, last year—I just shook my head wondering how those two brothers could ruin it. Was it post-production that needed extra time to complete or did the volatile big men hate the cut and…

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TIFF09 PREVIEW: For the Love of Film indeed …

September 10th is the day that friend/co-worker Chris Schobert and I head back up north for our third year at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). We’ve done the middle three days (2007) and the last three days (2008), so we thought, “What the hell?”, let’s try our luck with the opening four. Rolling out of bed, speeding down the QEW, and landing at the box office hours before our first film wouldn’t quite be effective for this year’s journey, however. Being in TO for FaneXpo last weekend meant we…

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REVIEW: Vicky Cristina Barcelona [2008]

“Counter-intuitive love” I really love the poster for this film. I had to get that out there. The composition and motion are just stunning. Artistry orchestrated for just the right emotion and aesthetic, something you could say about the movie itself. Vicky Cristina Barcelona is a gorgeous piece to view. Not to disregard Woody Allen at all, but I have to credit this look to cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe. The man acted as DP on some of my favorite Spanish films—Hable con ella and Mar adentro—and now has me anticipating John…

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Top 25 Films of 2006

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 88 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #25: Déjà Vu directed by Tony Scott. #24: Lady in the Water directed byM. Night Shyamalan #23: Casino Royale directed by Martin Campbell. #22: Stranger Than Fiction directed by Marc Forster #21: The Science of Sleep directed by Michel Gondry #20: Half Nelson directed by Ryan Fleck #19: Clerks 2 directed by Kevin Smith #18: The Last King of Scotland directed by…

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REVIEW: The Proposition [2006]

“Australia … what fresh hell is this?” Late nineteenth century Australia seems to have been quite a hellish place indeed if we are to believe what Nick Cave and John Hillcoat have given us here. From the unflinching, seeming authenticity, the weight of conflicting emotion on the part of each and every human being portrayed, and the sheer beauty of it—pain, suffering, and all—I won’t be the one to dispute it. I must admit that I have never seen a western before. None of the classics—John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Sergio…

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