REVIEW: While We’re Young [2015]

“She is a mess. And an ugly eater.” I hated While We’re Young—a fact that actually increases my already healthy dose of respect for writer/director Noah Baumbach. He’s a filmmaker with the type of style, tone, and air of not quite tongue-in-cheek pretension you could pick out from across the room as his and his alone. Sometimes it’s good (Greenberg) or downright perfection (The Squid and the Whale and Frances Ha). Other times it makes me so mad I could scream (Margot at the Wedding). Here’s the thing, though: they…

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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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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: 잘 알지도 못하면서 [Like You Know It All] [2009]

“Everything’s important” I had begun to start thinking that either my friend and I haven’t picked films outside our comfort zone at the Toronto International Film Festival or that the fest just didn’t let in bad movies. Truthfully, after two straight years, and a day, we had never experienced a film that we just both could not stand … even the boring and mean Margot at the Wedding had redeeming qualities of technical skill. Well all hypotheses on why were thrown out the window after screening the Korean film 잘…

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REVIEW: Rachel Getting Married [2008]

“Through thick and thin” Anne Hathaway was all the buzz this year at the Toronto Film Festival. I will admit to being skeptical, never really seeing her as much more than a pretty face. People would say how brave and fearless she was in Havoc and Brokeback Mountain, but does taking your clothes off constitute a good actress? If you ask Marisa Tomei right now, she may say yes, but for me, I need some emotively wrought performances to put on my stamp of approval. However, it was not just…

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REVIEW: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day [2008]

“Money or love?” Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day indeed. And quite the day it was. Here is the “governess of last resort,” a daughter of a vicar, raised in a sheltered world of modesty. After butting heads with her previous employers due to their lack of courtesy, manners, and morals, Miss Pettigrew finds herself hungry, penniless, and very desperate. In a moment of need, she steals the address of a prospective client and pops over to pose as the woman sent for the job. Expecting a young boy to…

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TIFF07 REVIEW: Margot at the Wedding [2007]

“I think we should do an audit” Noah Baumbach’s follow-up to his critically acclaimed film The Squid and the Whale falls way short of living up to the expectations laid before it. There were numerous moments in Margot at the Wedding’s predecessor that skirted the line of acceptance, but they never crossed it. With this entry, however, Baumbach crosses the line early and soon finds that he can’t find his way back. No character here is really likeable at all. Everyone is a bit off mentally and unfortunately acknowledge that…

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