REVIEW: Dolor y gloria [Pain & Glory] [2019]

Compassionate and controlled. A lot has been said about Pedro Almodóvar‘s latest film Dolor y gloria [Pain & Glory] being autofiction, but the director says it best himself when explaining that the character (Antonio Banderas‘ Salvador Mallo) “wasn’t me, but was inside me.” There’s power to that statement because it accepts the notion that everything an artist creates is born from within. So the comparisons are unavoidable as a rule regardless of whether or not you write your script to be about a director who then lives in a set…

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REVIEW: Loving Pablo [2018]

You tell me your secrets and I’ll tell you mine. The latest cinematic look at Pablo Escobar is titled Loving Pablo for a reason: it’s based on Colombian journalist Virginia Vallejo‘s book Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar. Fernando León de Aranoa makes a concerted effort to show as much in his opening by following Vallejo (Penélope Cruz) to an American hotel room over a decade after first meeting her long-time, not-so-secret boyfriend. We hear her voiceover explain how this journey’s circumstances are much different than earlier ones, laughing with her when…

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REVIEW: The Counselor [2013]

“You are a glory” If I were to compareThe Counselor to any other movie I’ve seen of late it would have to be Andrew Dominik‘s Killing Them Softly. Both possess a darkly violent subject matter tempered by a series of off-putting, somewhat out-of-place comedic sequences with a bunch of familiar faces seemingly happy to go along for the ride without worrying about how much screen time they’ve actually accrued. While they could be cousins in tone and overall head-scratching befuddlement where meaning is concerned, however, they are far from the…

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Posterized Propaganda June 2013: The Apocalypse is Nigh With ‘Man of Steel,’ ‘World War Z,’ ‘This is the End’ & 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. Summer continues chugging along with the America and/or Earth threatened by destruction at every turn. Whether comic book adaptations, zombie wars, terrorist assaults or a giant pit opening up to…

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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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TIFF12 REVIEW: Venuto al mondo [Twice Born] [2012]

“There’s no sea in Sarajevo” Adapted from the 2008 novel by Margaret Mazzantini of the same name, Venuto al mondo [Twice Born] isn’t quite what it seems. When an aged Italian woman named Gemma (Penélope Cruz) receives a phone call from her past, we infer certain facts via hers and her husband’s (director Sergio Castellitto‘s Giuliano) reactions. The mystery man in a photo on their fridge seems more important than a simple friend for who’s work is showing in Sarajevo. And as Gemma and son Pietro (Pietro Castellitto) exit the…

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The 84th Oscars recap through tweets …

@jaredmobarak • Shut up Ryan Seacrest … Like the studio isn’t going to reimburse you. Cry about it #Oscars12 And with a little Bisquick, the 84th Annual Academy Awards show began before the camera even entered the Kodak “Chapter 11” Theatre. The is he or isn’t he banned from the show star of The Dictator, Sacha Baron Cohen, did what he does best by getting interviewed in character and causing a scene. Ryan Seacrest appeared to be enjoying the joke of it all and remained quite amiable until the comedian…

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REVIEW: Sex and the City 2 [2010]

“Somewhere between wild sex and a baby” Remember your wild thought of what Liza Minnelli would look like jiving and grooving while singing Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)”? You know the dream that’s haunted you since Sasha Fierce’s hook took over the airwaves two short years ago—or was that a nightmare? Either way, boy did Sex and the City 2 burn the vision to my retinas just twenty or so minutes in. I’m not sure I ever really recovered from it. Sure there was tacky, ugly fabric…

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Top Ten Films of 2009: Foreign Films Reign Supreme

This list is accurate as of post-date. So many films and not enough time to see them all, the potential for future change is inevitable, but as of today here are the best … Another year gone, another 100+ releases down. 2009 was one that included a lot of good directors and some great ensemble pieces. Out of all the inclusions to my top ten, plus honorable mentions, only three really contained a central figure worthy of mention above the work itself; the others truly were complete packages consisting of…

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REVIEW: Nine [2009]

“Imagination is God’s garden” Being the film version of a Broadway musical based on the Fellini film 8 1/2, it interested me to find out what the title meant. The Italian director’s odd half integer was in regards to the fact that he made a few short films, so the work was its number in his oeuvre. But director Rob Marshall has only made two previous, non-television features, so that comparison is a dead-end. Maybe it has to do with the nine women in lead character Guido’s life? Nope again,…

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REVIEW: Los abrazos rotos [Broken Embraces] [2009]

“Living one life was not enough” There was only one thing on TV growing up that I thought was even more amateurish and unprofessional then soap operas and it was the Spanish variety. These actors played the parts so over-the-top that I had to wonder if it was all done intentionally. No way were these people breaking into the industry; they were horrible. The drama and the insanity was too much to be able to watch longer than a couple minutes, not to mention I was young and reading subtitles…

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