REVIEW: 12 Mighty Orphans [2021]

Optimism. Sports-writer Jim Dent had the best of both worlds when deciding to write the book Twelve Mighty Orphans: The Inspiring True Story of the Mighty Mites Who Ruled Texas Football. He had a ragtag bunch of kids languishing in a Texas orphanage that was able to find the self-respect and courage necessary to overcome the stigma the label “orphan” possessed on and off the field in 1927 as well as a leader in Coach Rusty Russell who would end up revolutionizing football with the advent of the spread offense.…

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REVIEW: Judas and the Black Messiah [2021]

Anywhere there’s people, there’s power. Despite top billing and the majority of media focus, Daniel Kaluuya is not the star of Judas and the Black Messiah. As the title of Shaka King‘s film alludes, his Messiah in the form of Fred Hampton is secondary as the angel on Bill O’Neal’s (LaKeith Stanfield) shoulder. It’s his Judas that holds our attention, caught between preserving his people and preserving himself while participating in the civil rights movement after the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. Ask him before he…

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REVIEW: The Devil Has a Name [2020]

We’ll always have Paris. Big Oil has been wrecking the environment for decades with spills, fires, and wastewater ponds amongst other atrocities to Mother Nature that place their bottom line above morality. They have the money to do it and the power to avoid any consequences—at least those that ultimately cost more than the price of overhauling the industry in a way that would make them compliant where Earth’s sustainability is concerned. It’s called “net present value.” As long as you make more profit doing bad than the net loss…

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REVIEW: Rules Don’t Apply [2016]

“You’re an exception” Eighteen years after Bulworth and fifteen after Town & Country (his last time directing and acting for a feature film respectively), Warren Beatty returns to the big screen with a fictionalized biography of Howard Hughes forty years in the making. It’s a passion project and vanity project: two endeavors worthy of an auspicious return to the spotlight even if the latter isn’t always the best decision for retaining a renowned legacy. Will Rules Don’t Apply taint peoples’ image of him? No. It’s not going to mark any…

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REVIEW: Trash [2014]

“Never trust a policeman” It’s not every day that a three-time Oscar nominee for directing decides on a foreign language film to be his next project, but that’s exactly what Stephen Daldry of Billy Elliot, The Hours, and The Reader fame has done. Following in the footsteps of fellow Brit Danny Boyle—whose journey to India for Slumdog Millionaire earned his sole nomination and subsequently an Oscar win—Daldry takes on the novel Trash written by Andy Mulligan about three impoverished boys working as garbage pickers who find something in their nameless…

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REVIEW: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World [2012]

“You were the love of my life” It’s easy to conjure images of post-apocalyptic wastelands, cryptic symbolism, and philosophical ruminations when one thinks about the end of the world. Hollywood uses this fascination to create science fiction actioners and depression-laden dramas each decade even though the layperson would never fall into such over-the-top cliché. Most John Q. Publics would let loose, create some sort of last minute bucket list, and live without consequence after years of cautious sacrifice and regret. Despite inevitable riots, chaos, and crime, one shouldn’t ignore the…

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REVIEW: The Amazing Spider-Man [2012]

“Up your what, Dad?” Ten years after Sam Raimi‘s Spider-Man joined Bryan Singer‘s X-Men in proving the superhero genre could be taken seriously in the annals of cinematic history, the reset button has been pressed for a fresh new look. Between Marvel taking the initiative to pool their collective, solely-owned properties into one giant universe of quasi sequels with 2008’s Iron Man and DC Comics lucking into Christopher Nolan‘s vision of Batman as more than a surreally cartoonish romp in the darkness, what was one of the most legitimate comic…

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Picking Winners at the 84th Annual Academy Awards

For the next week and a half, Spree contributor William C. Altreuter, our online film reviewer Jared Mobarak, and me will share our thoughts on who will take home the Oscars. Let’s kick things off with … Best Supporting Actress. —C. S. BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:Bérénice Bejo – The Artist as Peppy MillerJessica Chastain – The Help as Celia FooteMelissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids as Megan PriceJanet McTeer – Albert Nobbs as Hubert PageOctavia Spencer – The Help as Minny Jackson Christopher Schobert: Bill, it seems like every time you and I tackle…

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INTERVIEW: Emilio Estevez, writer/director of The Way

I walked into the Elgin Theatre a year and a half ago for the Toronto International Film Festival’s screening of Emilio Estevez‘s The Way without knowing exactly what I was in for. I loved his Bobby a few years earlier, but after reading the glossy sheet of information pertaining to the film handed out to all in attendance I knew this was going to be a completely different beast. Spiritual, personal, and a testament between father and son, this new work is an inspirational journey of finding oneself at a…

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REVIEW: Wall Street [1987]

“I just bagged the elephant” We Some films are carried by a once in a lifetime performance that takes you along for a ride greater than itself. Oliver Stone’s Wall Street is one of them. Written with Stanley Weiser, Stone, fresh off a huge Oscar run with Platoon the previous year, wanted to get right back to work, avoiding the inertia he said ruins many award-winners basking in their own glory. It’s an attitude hewing closely to the themes of the film and its blue collar versus white collar factions—young…

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TIFF10 RECAP: The Festival In Photos, Tweets & Reviews

Another year done at the Toronto International Film Festival. It was a pretty uneventful trip into the city—besides a rogue Customs official’s 5 minute power trip before we reached the border—that saw a smooth two hour drive both to and from, a far cry from the parking lot car jams of a few short weeks earlier to hand in film picks for the advance lottery. 2010 saw its fair share of rain, the umbrella while waiting in line for Andrew Lau‘s screening of Jing mo fung wan: Chen Zhen [Legend…

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