REVIEW: Zeroville [2019]

Your head precedes you. An autistic architecture student at a seminary in Pennsylvania watches his first ever film (A Place in the Sun) and has an experience akin to hearing the voice of God. This new world is opened to Jerome “Vikar” Isaac and he decides he needs to be a part of it. So he travels to Hollywood with the model of a church he constructed under his arm, arriving in this wonderland of magic twenty years too late. The Hollywood of 1970 simply isn’t the same one that…

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REVIEW: The Bling Ring [2013]

“Let’s go shopping” After years of stuffy, standoffish dramas about excess and the psychological turmoil of the rich in hopes audiences will feel pity for their woe-is-me First World Problems, writer/director Sofia Coppola finally finds her way inside the joke with The Bling Ring. This tale of vanity, celebrity idolization, and the entitlement of today’s youth—based on the Vanity Fair article “The Suspect Wore Louboutins” by Nancy Jo Sales describing the infamous Hollywood Hills Burglaries from October 2008 to August 2009—finds the satirical bite necessary for its success. Because honestly,…

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REVIEW: This is 40 [2012]

“I control the radio on my birthday” It’s time to accept that the words “Directed by Judd Apatow” are synonymous with “sentimental familial dramedy littered by profanity”. I probably should have come to this realization years ago, but for some reason I still held out hope he’d once more match the entertainment value of The 40 Year Old Virgin. Everyone loves Knocked Up, I know, but to me it was a slow bore with few of those indelible moments his debut etched in my mind. Funny People was an improvement—at…

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REVIEW: The Dictator [2012]

“Where’s the trashcan?” After starring in three films and on television in two countries by engaging unwitting audiences in a guerilla-style ambush of often cruel and lewd comedy proving he hadn’t a shred of modesty, Sacha Baron Cohen‘s days of anonymity have officially ended. Utilizing many of the same collaborators behind the scenes as his last few creative endeavors, The Dictator exists inside a fully scripted world because the Englishman’s antics have become too widely documented. Gone are the days when a ‘supreme beard’ could hide his identity from an…

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TIFF11 REVIEW: Friends with Kids [2012]

“Death by shark or alligator?” This has been the year of romantic comedies doing their best to overcome the genre and crossover to succeed with men and women alike. An unintentional reunion for four members of the Bridesmaids cast, the world premiere of Friends with Kids at the Toronto International Film Festival tries to equal its success in those regards. As star Jennifer Westfeldt’s directorial debut, she gives us some R-rated vulgarity, doesn’t pull punches, and finds a way to tug at the heartstrings too. Built upon the idea that…

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REVIEW: Transformers: Dark of the Moon [2011]

“You all read ‘Humpty Dumpty’” When Transformers came out in 2007, it was all the rage. Nostalgia, explosions, over-the-top summer blockbuster laughs, and even a smidgeon of heart were thrown into Michael Bay’s ultimate orgasm of action, sex, and metal. It was fun despite its corniness and therefore left a desire for a sequel, one where we knew all the major players and could watch their continuing saga. But 2009 came and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen underwhelmed. I still maintain that if liking one means liking the other because…

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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: Jennifer’s Body [2009]

“I’m a kicker; it says so in my chart” I’ll admit to not being very excited to see Jennifer’s Body on first look. Coming as a fast-tracked script, hot on the heels of Diablo Cody’s successful debut Juno, it just looked rushed, abused, and left for dead. After the production house Fox Atomic folded and dissolved back into its parent, the future did not look bright. However, being a teen horror flick starring Megan Fox had to all but assure it a theatrical release of some sort. And here it…

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REVIEW: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen [2009]

“What if we leave and you’re wrong?” My screening of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen ended around 10:00pm. What do we see in the lobby as we exit the theatre? A line already forming for the midnight show less than two hours away, the premiere time slot to expose the world to the ancient Decepticon Fallen. Those kids were ready for a good time, hoping that the sequel lived up to the surprisingly effective first installment. If any of them had asked me as I walked by what I thought,…

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REVIEW: Transformers [2007]

“More than meets the eye” Michael Bay is by no means a director for whom I hold each new film with anticipation. The man doesn’t do subtlety and he doesn’t do intelligent storytelling either. However, you cannot say he doesn’t have both artistic vision and deft skill at shooting a film. Sure the guy likes to blow things up. But being able to consistently make work with the amount of preparation and choreography his necessitates deserves some credit. When the idea of a live action Transformers movie was being bandied…

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