REVIEW: Shirley [2020]

I don’t smote. What if instead of one night, Nick and Honey were entrenched in hosts Martha and George’s toxic manipulations for six months? Edward Albee‘s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? would have progressed much differently if only because everyone would need to eventually sober up, confronting each other in the light of day with clear heads and accusatory eyes. Maybe there’d be regret and remorse or maybe things would pick up where they were left to expose how alcohol only helped to disseminate truths that were going to be…

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REVIEW: End of Sentence [2020]

Don’t let the past control you. To look at Frank (John Hawkes) and Sean Fogle (Logan Lerman) is to see two very different men. The former is a loving husband with a perpetual smile and the latter is his surly, incarcerated son. If not for the woman connecting them, they’d have gone their separate ways long ago without any room for reconciliation. Nothing will therefore be left once the Fogle matriarch (Andrea Irvine‘s Anna) succumbs to cancer. Frank will become a widower trying (and faltering) to survive on his own…

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REVIEW: Indignation [2016]

“You be greater than your feelings.” If I’ve seen a bleaker, more pessimistic film in the past ten years than Indignation I find myself absolutely stumped trying to think of it. Adapted from Philip Roth‘s 2008 novel by writer/director James Schamus, this look at a Korean War-era America full of fear, anxiety, sexual repression, and attempted solace through religion supplies a gut-punch at every turn in plot. There’s no hope to be found when the one possible glimmer of love that’s provided is riddled with constant missteps and tragic circumstances…

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Top Ten Films of 2014: A deluge of sci-fi doppelgängers and one-word titles

I don’t want to label 2014 as a good, bad, or average year. I want to call it inventive, original, and delightfully dark. Whether it’s doppelgänger paradoxes leading to murderous rage, the bleak carnage of war, prison violence, or psychologically debilitating struggles to be great, my favorite films had an edge that cut to the bone by credits’ end. The best thing I can say about 2014 is that my top ten (heck, maybe my top twenty-five) could be re-organized and re-listed without making me too angry about what is…

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Picking Winners at the 87th Annual Academy Awards

Things look pretty cut and dry where the Academy is concerned in 2015. The Oscars are always a somewhat watered-down look at what really mattered in the past year of cinema and this installment is no exception. In fact, it may be all water at this point. That doesn’t mean there can’t be some intriguing surprises in the second-tier categories like Best Animated Feature (I really hope How to Train Your Dragon 2 loses to one of the other much more aesthetically and conceptually unique nominees) or Short Film Animated…

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REVIEW: Fury [2014]

“Are you saved?” I can relate when people look at David Ayer‘s Fury and shake their heads saying, “We get it. War is brutal.” I can because I remember sitting down to watch The Reader in 2008 only to think how completely over Holocaust movies I was that year. I believe I saw four or five—each good, relevant, and powerful on its own terms if not overwhelming when put together. That’s kind of the point, though, isn’t it? At the end of the day the truth of the matter is…

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REVIEW: Noah [2014]

“Maybe we’ll learn to be kind” Religion likes to talk about mercy, forgiveness, and acceptance as though such grace was instilled in humanity before we decided to ignore it for carnal pleasure, bloodlust, and greed. This is why most films depicting Biblical stories go heavy on angels and enlightenment, giving pithy parables with “a-ha” lessons to take stock and deflect from the copious amounts of violence throughout its text. Yes there’s creation, salvation, good deeds unto others, and heroes to aspire towards, but don’t forget deception, cleansings, sin, and damnation.…

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REVIEW: Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters [2013]

“Dead camper walking” Much like he did on Harry Potter, director Chris Columbus ushered Rick Riordan‘s young adult world of demigods to film with sure-handed exposition and a fun flair for the fantastical—if not necessarily visual excitement. The Lightning Thief introduced its hero Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) just as he became aware of his true identity and the power at his disposal. A sprawling adventure followed with he and companions Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) and Annabeth (Alexandra Daddario) wherein a plethora of Greek myths got thrown our way in an…

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Top Ten Films of 2012: Ensembles upon ensembles

Many have been saying 2012 was a great year for movies. I’m not sure I fully agree. There were a ton of solid 7/10s and 8/10s, yes, but how does that compare with previous years when the amount of 10/10s were also drastically reduced? It took until September for me to give a film four stars and the two I did laud with such a distinction that month were the only ones. Rather than a showcase of masterpiece cinema, 2012 was instead a year of the performance. And I mean…

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REVIEW: The Perks of Being a Wallflower [2012]

“We are infinite” Adolescent tomes depicting the trials and tribulations of high school are many; the ones infused with psychological trauma and bouts of depression their majority. But while most find the need to talk down to audiences by over saturating themselves in comedic anecdotes rather than humanity, it’s the rare instance of authenticity that speaks to you. It’s not because you too were damaged and friendless, but merely because you understand. We’ve all coped with the struggle of starting fresh at a new school with a foreign curriculum, acquaintances…

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Posterized Propaganda September 2012: White Space Rules the Month

“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. When not distracted by the more offbeat, artistically inclined one-sheets for the amazing line-up gracing Toronto screens at TIFF this month, I was surprised to see a few good ones…

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