REVIEW: Hyde Park on Hudson [2012]

“I’ll have another!” Franklin Delano Roosevelt was much more than the President of the United States to Margaret “Daisy” Suckley—she was also his sixth cousin. The two knew each other in brief snapshots from family gatherings in upstate New York where the wheelchair-bound leader of America found his old home a refuge from the political chaos of Washington, DC. If he could run the country from Hyde Park on Hudson, he would. The land gave him peace of mind through long drives along winding roads and atop fields of tall…

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TIFF12 REVIEW: Anna Karenina [2012]

“If you’re a good man you’ll forget everything” When TIFF director and CEO Piers Handling introduced the newest adaptation of Leo Tolstoy‘s Anna Karenina by saying director Joe Wright appropriately played up the theatricality of the novel, I wasn’t quite prepared for the blatant transparency where his stylistic approach’s artifice was concerned. As the camera lingers on a darkened stage covered by a place card to set the scene, I was blown away by the rising curtain uncovering a brilliantly conceived introduction to this TARDIS-like world much bigger on the…

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REVIEW: Hanna [2011]

“I found her, she can’t speak English. She’s Sri Lankan.” Written on spec by Seth Lochhead in 2006, the Black List alum Hanna finally reaches screens with help from co-screenwriter David Farr and director Joe Wright. If you thought Wright’s last film, The Soloist, seemed a bit out of his comfort zone, having previously completed two period pieces, I can relate to the confusion and excitement you’d have hearing his next would be an action thriller starring a young, brutally violent female killer. But just as he stunned me by…

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Picking Winners at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards

Spree contributing writer William Altreuter, graphic designer Jared Mobarak, and I are going to share our thoughts on this week’s Oscar nominations. Let’s kick things off with a category whose victor—Colin “Mr. Darcy” Firth—seems to have already been agreed upon. — Christopher Schobert Best Actor:Javier Bardem: BiutifulJeff Bridges: True GritJesse Eisenberg: The Social NetworkColin Firth: The King’s SpeechJames Franco: 127 Hours William Altreuter: If the Academy had wanted to make a statement Jim Carrey‘s amazing turn in I Love You Phillip Morris would have found its way onto this list. Wouldn’t that…

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REVIEW: The Ghost Writer [2010]

“It’s in the beginnings” I remember being so perplexed during the 2008 Oscars because Michael Clayton was up for Best Picture of 2007. To me it was a solid thriller and just didn’t seem to deserve the vaunted status or the company it was keeping. That all changed minutes after the completion of Roman Polanski’s newest The Ghost Writer, however. Through the entire thing I kept recalling how taut Tony Gilroy’s movie was—lean, mean, and edge of your seat thrills in the dangerous world of political intrigue. With all the…

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TIFF09 REVIEW: An Education [2009]

“They’re making themselves a friend” When I think Nick Hornby, films such as High Fidelity and About a Boy come to mind. It’s obvious of course, being that he wrote the novels for which both were based, but I mention it because I really didn’t know what to expect from An Education, scripted by he and directed by Lone Scherfig. The subject matter seemed so much darker and serious than his previous work; until finding out it was based on a memoir during the opening credits, I really was perplexed.…

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