REVIEW: Bombshell [2019]

Praise all tangled up in an insult. The downfall of Roger Ailes is a captivating tale because it shows what can be done without glossing over the difficulty of achieving it. The women at Fox News who came forward to put his decades-long pattern of sexual harassment into the public forum had to weigh the truth and their duty to future generations forced into similar positions against the very real fact that doing so could mean career suicide. They had to search within and find the balance between what they…

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REVIEW: Pet Sematary [2019]

I just wanted to be a family again. Remakes are often thankless jobs because you’re stuck trying to live up to or best your predecessor while also creating something wholly different. Most attempts based on literary works are able to fall back on the clichéd notion of “returning to the source” as though the first adaptation was inexcusably unfaithful. But when you’re following a script written by the novel’s author, that excuse holds zero weight. So Jeff Buhler (Matt Greenberg‘s draft was apparently changed enough to downgrade his credit to…

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REVIEW: The Accountant [2016]

“You deserve wow” This is one of those cases where a film might have benefited from a smaller budget. Where you wish Warner Bros.’s independent shingle didn’t shutter in 2008. It’s not like $44 million is a huge sum of money—not by Hollywood standards anyway—but if you cut it in half, maybe lose the star power of Ben Affleck, and take things to a grittier, less-polished place, The Accountant could prove the kind of hit studios covet after John Wick took the box office by storm two years back. Bill…

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NoHoIFF16 REVIEW: Projections of America [2014]

“To introduce America to millions of people throughout the world” It doesn’t take long for optimism to change to naiveté—a lesson learned from watching Peter Miller‘s informative documentary Projections of America. The film focuses on a series of twenty-six shorts produced during World War II by Robert Riskin and the European branch of America’s Office of War Information. This “propaganda of truth” was meant to instill a sense of hope and freedom in those liberated from the Nazi’s Fascist regime. They didn’t show America’s military strength, but instead our humanity.…

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REVIEW: Best of Enemies [2015]

“The way to end the Vietnam War was to put it on ABC and it’d be canceled in thirteen weeks” It was the birth of punditry and epitome of television as theater: William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal head-to-head wherein they themselves respectively became Conservatism and Liberalism for the whole country to watch. Did they talk about the National Conventions as they were ultimately hired to do? Not really. Did they feed the “unconventional” nature of ABC’s hour-and-a-half-a-day coverage as opposed to the wall-to-wall talking heads of competitors NBC and…

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REVIEW: The Homesman [2014]

“God will strike you down” I didn’t necessarily love The Homesman, but it’s hard not to respect it. This is a dark story in the desolate Mid-West with outlaw justice and remorseless murder surrounding the charitably selfless journey of Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank) and the three crazed women she’s taking across the Missouri into Iowa so they can be cared for under reasonable conditions. It can’t have been an easy adaptation of Glendon Swarthout‘s novel for director Tommy Lee Jones and his co-writers Kieran Fitzgerald and Wesley A. Oliver…

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REVIEW: Rise of the Planet of the Apes [2011]

“These people invest in results. Not dreams.” How did the apes from Pierre Boulle‘s Planet of the Apes gain control of Earth? The 1968 film adaptation shows human/ape hybrids walking, talking, and living in civilizations—a great sci-fi conceit making us believe in a distant planet where evolution took a different turn than what happened here. But as anyone who saw that movie or Tim Burton‘s much-maligned remake knows, a twist arrives to show the existence of these creatures was something else all together. We discover we were watching a tale…

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REVIEW: This is 40 [2012]

“I control the radio on my birthday” It’s time to accept that the words “Directed by Judd Apatow” are synonymous with “sentimental familial dramedy littered by profanity”. I probably should have come to this realization years ago, but for some reason I still held out hope he’d once more match the entertainment value of The 40 Year Old Virgin. Everyone loves Knocked Up, I know, but to me it was a slow bore with few of those indelible moments his debut etched in my mind. Funny People was an improvement—at…

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REVIEW: Santa Claus [1985]

“If you give bigger kisses you get better hugs” Nostalgia is a funny thing. Films you remember watching so often in your youth begin to possess a certain aura of quality they can never come close to achieving otherwise. It happens most with holiday movies—Christmas especially. Memories of sitting around the television on Christmas Eve waiting for a night of sleigh-brought treasures with the family cultivate feelings of joy, happiness, and laughter. So when you start to equate those same feelings with the program you were watching at the time,…

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REVIEW: New Year’s Eve [2011]

“Did he just snap me in a maternity ward?” So many questions I never knew I had were answered last night during a packed house screening of New Year’s Eve. A spiritual sequel to last year’s Valentine’s Day, director Garry Marshall, writer Katherine Fugate, and at least three actors playing different characters return. Besides learning the general masses savor broad-stroked comedy when it’s spoon-fed to them, I also discovered trite generic love to be their fantasy dream-come-true of choice. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised since this film received…

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REVIEW: Footloose [2011]

“We cannot be missing from our children’s lives” Whether it takes place in 1984 or 2011, the Footloose’s premise will never be plausible. No matter how small the place, I can’t wrap my head around a town council banning the act of dancing and listening to loud rock ‘n’ roll for minors under the age of 18 in any era other than the 1950s. Maybe I’m giving ultra conservative America too much credit or am reading into the set-up for a dance movie too deeply, but Craig Brewer’s remake doesn’t…

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