REVIEW: A Rainy Day in New York [2020]

Real life is fine for people who can’t do any better. There’s a scene in Mike Nichols‘ The Birdcage where Robin Williams’ character is helping Nathan Lane’s character be more “manly.” He has him mimicking different masculine figures including John Wayne to which Lane struts around only to catch Williams’ quizzical look and ask, “What? No good?” Williams’ response perfectly encapsulates how things we’ve been conditioned to believe are normal are actually absurd when taken out of context. He says, “Actually, it’s perfect. I just never realized John Wayne walked…

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REVIEW: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse [2018]

It’s just puberty. You have to hand it to Sony for thinking outside the box. Not long ago they had the number one cinematic superhero property with Tobey Maguire donning the Spidey-suit to take on the Osborns. They tried to strike gold twice with a new “Amazing” iteration starring Andrew Garfield, but the results simply couldn’t compete with the creative and financial gains Marvel proper had with their Disney-backed universe. So they buckled. They made the compromise they said they never would and allowed the Spider-Man character to become an…

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REVIEW: Isle of Dogs [2018]

You’ve heard the rumor, right? I feel like the twee sensibilities of writer/director Wes Anderson might be catching up to him. Moonrise Kingdom was a sort of rejuvenation proving both exactly like his oeuvre and wholly unique as its child’s perspective lent a fresh voice to his usual brand of artificial melodrama. But rather than propel him forward, it seems it may have pulled him back. The auteur’s follow-up was the hilarious The Grand Budapest—perhaps his funniest tale to-date despite ringing hollow in a way that turned endearing artifice into…

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REVIEW: Goon: Last of the Enforcers [2017]

“What a great lockout” The best part of hockey comedy Goon is its ability to never forget itself. Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg didn’t write it (based on Adam Frattasio and Douglas Smith‘s non-fiction book) like your usual sports film where winning or losing was the goal. They instead brought to life a soft-spoken, compassionate guy whose only talent isn’t laying guys out on the ice like his bloodthirsty fans believe. No, Doug Glatt’s (Seann William Scott) calling is as protector for his family, friends, and teammates. He joined the…

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REVIEW: Chuck [2017]

“That guy could take a punch” Who is Chuck Wepner? It’s a legitimate question. I didn’t know—not that I’ve ever followed pugilism in my life. So when his story received the cinematic treatment from director Philippe Falardeau with the title The Bleeder, I honestly assumed fiction. Here comes another boxing movie about what’s assumedly a not-so-good fighter who bleeds like a sieve. Maybe it’ll be funny. But that’s not what Chuck (it’s theatrical name) is at all. No, Chuck Wepner is a real guy and was a real fighter. At…

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REVIEW: Spotlight [2015]

“What arraignment?” If Thomas McCarthy’s maligned fairy tale The Cobbler provided any help in securing money to put his script Spotlight in front of cameras, it was worth every disparaging word thrown its way. Co-written with Josh Singer, this 2013 Blacklist alum proves an informative and accurate look at the investigative journalism process as well as an engrossing exposé that refuses to let go despite our knowing the story it exposed. Much like famed predecessor All the President’s Men, audiences arrive keenly aware of the Catholic Church scandal at its…

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REVIEW: Pawn Sacrifice [2015]

“I’m searching for the truth” I’ve always been fascinated by Bobby Fischer due to his vanishing rather than anything he accomplished at a chessboard. I’ve never been good at the game, yet I respect its complexity. The greats literally memorize past matches and maneuvers, so in-tune with the playing field that they can play out loud with nothing more than words. Fischer was a great—the youngest Grandmaster in history and the first American-born World Champion. Like most geniuses, however, the strain of intellect, pressure, and success brought with it a…

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REVIEW: Goon [2012]

“Probably giving some single mother herpes in the parking lot” Written by Jay Baruchel and Evan Goldberg, Goon is their generation’s Slap Shot with Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) serving as all three Hanson brothers in one. Bearing more in common than a full stomach of bloody fisticuffs, each work also finds itself born from the minor league annals of hockey’s checkered history. Nancy Dowd wrote her 1977 cult classic in part from the stories her brother Ned shared about his experiences in Johnstown, PA while these two Canadian alums…

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Posterized Propaganda March 2012: Gimmicks and Blurs

“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. We’ve come to March and still no posters to really write home about. The season of blockbuster tent poles and their litany of character posters begins, proving once more that…

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REVIEW: Salt [2010]

“Are you selling secrets for chemo?” The question is, who is Salt? Two years ago she was a falsely imprisoned utilities corporation worker being water-boarded by the North Koreans; an unspecified amount of time after she is a CIA operative who has been saved and traded back to the US, not by her bosses, but by the cover boyfriend who fell for her and started making waves in political circles; and, in the present day, she is accused of being a Russian covert plant—a part of the Soviet Union’s insane…

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REVIEW: Repo Men [2010]

“Ask me about my lips” I had been waiting for over a year to finally see Repo! The Genetic Opera and while I enjoyed it thoroughly, it wasn’t the masterpiece I had hoped it’d be. Very easily a cult classic in its eccentricity, I thought maybe Hollywood decided to piggyback the concept and make a more mainstream actioner out of the subject when the announcement of Repo Men came down the pike. In reality, however, the new film is based on a novel titled The Repossession Mambo by Eric Garcia,…

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