REVIEW: Tully [2018]

You’re empty. After loving their first collaboration (Juno) and disliking their second (Young Adult), I didn’t know what to expect with director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody‘s third pairing behind the camera. The best I could do was enter the theater unprejudiced and hopeful for the best since I do like most of their work regardless of that mutual misstep. I can’t say Tully initially made it easy, though. Just because Marlo (Charlize Theron) and Drew (Ron Livingston) aren’t the generic rich, white, suburban couple able to afford a…

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REVIEW: Table 19 [2017]

“Good luck with your future endeavors” I’d be very interested in reading the original script for Table 19 as drafted by Jay and Mark Duplass. If you don’t know, this 2017 release was optioned way back in 2009 with the brothers attached to direct as their fourth feature (it was competing with Cyrus as far as what would be next). Two years went by and it was still unmade, the studio hiring Jeffrey Blitz to come in and take over the helm. More than just directorial duties, however, Blitz took…

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REVIEW: Blue Jay [2016]

“You leaving room for Jesus?” While we wait the requisite nine years hoping for another installment in Richard Linklater‘s seminal Before saga, Mark Duplass is here to fill the void early with his own intimate, two person reunion of past love and current strife entitled Blue Jay. Many will scoff at this declaration and say there are at best surface comparisons between the works with this one falling short on the emotional gravitas, but I’d disagree. Perhaps it’s the fact that I relate to two former high school sweethearts fatefully…

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FANTASIA14 REVIEW: The One I Love [2014]

“It’ll give you a chance to reset the reset button” My plan is to not share any huge spoilers where The One I Love is concerned, but just saying that pretty much provides one by admitting there are spoilers to be had. So, like I said with another sci-fi gem this year entitled Coherence, don’t read anything at all if you want an unblemished experience. Honestly, that should be the way you enter all art—at least the ones worth watching due to their having substance above empty theatrics spoon-feeding audiences…

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Posterized Propaganda August 2014: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ ‘Sin City,’ ‘Starred Up,’ and More

“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. 2014 soldiers on and the poster selection just gets worse. Luckily the films themselves haven’t been as uninspired. Or maybe they have. After all, this summer is down almost 19%…

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REVIEW: Tammy [2014]

“You wanna go ride a cow?” I like Melissa McCarthy and her trademarked hard-edged, scumbag persona in films. She’s often the best part of things that don’t work—Identity Thief—and those that do—Bridesmaids. So I’d love to blame someone else for how tired and frankly unfunny her latest Tammy is despite knowing I can’t. She co-wrote the road trip comedy with her husband Ben Falcone while he also directed. Maybe there was some interference courtesy of Adam McKay and Will Ferrell lending their shingle to the production, but I’d be surprised…

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REVIEW: Drinking Buddies [2013]

“I am a bourgeois pig” I really liked Drinking Buddies and I’ll admit I wasn’t sure that would be the case. The Mumblecore movement has always been one that has eluded me—well, the early stuff at least since I have found myself enjoying what the Duplass Brothers have done post success—and the prolific Joe Swanberg comes off as a “love him or hate him” kind of auteur. But how could this thing go wrong with a cast of Olivia Wilde (Kate), Jake Johnson (Luke), Anna Kendrick (Jill), and Ron Livingston…

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TIFF13 REVIEW: Parkland [2013]

“It’s my story too” We all know the story of President John F Kennedy’s assassination. It’s an event that has been ingrained into our culture, spawned a myriad of conspiracy theories, and remains a hotly contested moment in time that changed the fabric of an entire nation. But what about the people this tragedy affected on a personal level beyond victim and perpetrator? What about the trauma surgeons and nurses who watched as the president’s heartbeat flat-lined? What about the giddy business owner excitedly filming the motorcade on his lunch…

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REVIEW: Zero Dark Thirty [2012]

“Some hummus, tabouli—I don’t know what that is—some figs” I have a very clear recollection of the day Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan because I was having dinner in India when a friend Facebook messaged me from America with the news. With no fanfare or announcement, Hindi reporters on TV were my only point of confirmation before bed. Naively (stupidly) while waiting to leave Jaipur for Ahmedabad as lobby televisions played soaps instead of breaking news the next morning, I allowed a local paper to interview me about…

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REVIEW: Jeff, Who Lives at Home [2012]

“The Porsche is normal size. You’re a Sasquatch.” It’s good to see Mark Duplass hasn’t stopped making small-scale, heartfelt indies with his brother Jay despite success on the acting front with the likes of “The League” and Safety Not Guaranteed. While I’m not sure you could still call them mumblecore with increasingly prominent casts—although their second film of 2012, The Do-Deca Pentathlon might—they haven’t lost the quirkily authentic appeal that originally endeared the duo to audiences. Jeff, Who Lives at Home contains some questionable choices with constant zoom pulls recalling…

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REVIEW: Safety Not Guaranteed [2012]

“My calibrations are flipping pinpoint, okay?” Sweetly cute, subtly intelligent, and simply life affirming in the best possible way, Safety Not Guaranteed is the epitome of indie darling. Reminiscent to Chronicle from earlier this year, director Colin Trevorrow and writer Derek Connolly have really taken care to use genre clichés in a way that somehow makes them appear fresh. We’ve seen the reporter lying for a story only to end up falling for her subject. We’ve seen the misunderstood weirdo toe the line between insanity and the impossible to give…

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