REVIEW: Focus [2015]

“Nice jacket” You know that moment in a con movie where you’re shown an elaborate sequence full of subtle background action without knowing exactly what’s happening until the mastermind explains it all to a colleague—and us—who’s unaware? It’s my favorite trope of the genre because it either provides a sense of awe in the trick’s success or allows me to pat myself on the back for noticing the ruse. Sadly, Glenn Ficarra and John Requa forget the first part and keep us in complete darkness assuming their revelation will prove…

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REVIEW: Bad Santa [2003]

“Fraggle-stick car?” I tried to put a decade behind it and me, but not even that could turn my opinion on Bad Santa around. It’s just a mean-spirited, way-too-random account of a stereotypical alcoholic populated with other characters as ruthless as him or worse. The only role with a modicum of humanity is a borderline retarded kid who asks a ton of questions through a naïvely childish view on a perpetually cruel world. There’s a problem when the film’s biggest laugh comes courtesy of this boy running down the stairs…

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REVIEW: Crazy, Stupid, Love. [2011]

“Be better than the Gap” Love can make you do stupid things. Love can drive you crazy. It can break your heart, make you better than you ever thought you could be, or be used as a reason to cling on when there is nothing left to hold. We seek it out, question whether it’s true, hope he or she feels the same, and pray that it’s enough. Even when we do something that should sever all bonds for eternity, somehow there is always a tiny miniscule thread with the…

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REVIEW: I Love You Phillip Morris [2010]

“I tend to do that … hide things” There is a reason Glenn Ficarra and John Requa’s film, based on the writings of Steve McVicker, is called I Love You Phillip Morris. Lead character, and real-life con man, Steven Jay Russell is at his core a pronoun who loved. Without a real identity to call his own—Russell was adopted when he was born, became a cop only to find his biological mother, married and had a daughter despite having gay affairs, and reinvented himself as any number of professionals, lawyer…

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