TIFF19 REVIEW: The Lighthouse [2019]

Bad luck to kill a seabird. You can stop yourself from worrying about story the moment you sit down for Robert Eggers‘ The Lighthouse since there is none—at least none of value besides the simple premise of two men isolated on a foggy island with nothing but their wits (and nightmares) about them. Thomas Wake (Willem Dafoe) is the seasoned veteran and thus the man-in-charge of assigning tasks. That process is simple too: he gets to man the light from evening to morning while his latest compatriot Ephraim Winslow (Robert…

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REVIEW: High Life [2019]

What do you know about cruelty? Redemption can be an illusion to so many people. They try so hard to make up for past misdeeds that they often fall prey to even more along the way. That’s what happens when you give your quest a tangible goal—achieving it becomes paramount, the process a means to an ends. If you tell a murderer that they will be forgiven upon saving their victim’s family, who’s to say they wouldn’t simply kill another to do so? If you tell someone that saving humanity’s…

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Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2017

Below is my December 24th ballot for the 21st annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2017 calendar year. Each category is ordered according to my preferential rankings. Group winners are labeled in red. (We were only allowed to vote for one nominee per category this year, but I ranked them all like previous years anyway.)

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REVIEW: Good Time [2017]

“Cross the room if you’ve ever felt lonely” The first person we meet in Josh and Benny Safdie‘s Good Time isn’t its lead Connie Nikas (Robert Pattinson). Before he enters the picture to propel the film towards its kinetic search for ten grand, things begin much slower and much quieter with his brother Nick (played by Benny). He’s sitting opposite his psychiatrist (Peter Verby), engaged in a word association game to help diagnose whatever mental disability has afflicted him for too long without proper care. We catch a glimpse of…

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REVIEW: The Lost City of Z [2017]

“We are all made from the same clay” I should have known The Lost City of Z wasn’t to be your regular old adventure picture of men on an expedition since James Gray was at the helm. He’s always been one for character studies delving deeper than the situation at hand to hit upon the emotional and psychological duress exhibited within. So even though he left New York City’s small-scale locale behind (as if The Immigrant could ever be called small-scale with its gorgeous period detail), the jungles of Brazil…

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REVIEW: Maps to the Stars [2014]

“… Liberty” There are many versions of Hollywood I would never wish to live within—including the real one—but it appears those crafted by Bruce Wagner might be the most nightmarishly hedonistic, vile, and depressingly pathetic. A man who grew up in Los Angeles via Wisconsin and probably experienced many of the selfish acts of depravity he cynically puts to paper first hand, it says something about his artistic merits that he was able to write and direct two films (both based on what must be a sprawling novel I’m Losing…

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Posterized Propaganda June 2014: ‘Snowpiercer,’ ‘The Rover,’ ‘Venus in Fur’ & 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. It’s no surprise a month like June doesn’t possess the best posters for blockbuster releases. No one readying to visit a theater for summer popcorn carnage cares if the advertisement…

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REVIEW: Cosmopolis [2012]

“My prostate is asymmetrical” Thematically more like what David Cronenberg created before his last three films; I’m not quite sure what to think about Cosmopolis. Faithfully adapted from a novel by Don DeLillo, its look inside the day of billionaire magnate Eric Packer (Robert Pattinson) skews closest to the hellish descents behind the director’s eXistenZ and seminal work Videodrome through a filter of smugness a la Bret Easton Ellis‘ American Psycho. The characters speak in pronouns with a universal aloofness that makes their world appear a coldly detached fabrication of…

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REVIEW: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 [2012]

“Should I start calling you Dad?” **contains spoilers as far as its major difference from the book** I’m going to applaud The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 for two reasons. One, it signals what we can hope and pray will be the last adventure inside Stephenie Meyer‘s angst-ridden, melodramatic world of supernaturals—until the planned off-shoots/reboots being bandied about, of course. Two, it rather unsurprisingly proves to be the best of the series after three bloated, over-wrought filler films ruined the tiny bit of promise the original Twilight provided. But…

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Posterized Propaganda August 2012: A Summer Lull

“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. August isn’t fooling around with a ton of releases spanning both big budget and independent productions. I couldn’t even begin to talk about them all here—sorry Sparkle—but there sadly aren’t…

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REVIEW: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 [2011]

“Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies” Here’s a pitch for a new Trojan Condoms’ advertising campaign tie-in to The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1: Even Vampires Need Protection. Yes, the entire film could have been struck from the record if only Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) was a responsible hundreds-year old creeper when de-flowering his literally blushing bride. A complete waste of time with its first half being all about an eighteen-year old high school graduate losing her virginity on her wedding night—I guess it’s a good example these…

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