REVIEW: Live By Night [2016]

“We don’t get to pick our sins” A scene happens early on in Live by Night where Deputy Police Captain Thomas Coughlin (Brendan Gleeson) tells his criminal son Joe (Ben Affleck) that our actions always add up to a conclusion for which we can never predict. The idea is that Joe is a good man—a war veteran with a good heart—who’s simply been disillusioned. Thomas is willing to not crackdown on him despite being fully aware of how his boy makes a living as long as the evidence doesn’t force…

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REVIEW: War Dogs [2016]

“What would a bad man do?” Of course director Todd Phillips would gravitate towards a Rolling Stone article titled “The Stoner Arms Dealers.” If the man behind The Hangover trilogy was ever going to delve into more dramatic territory a la contemporary Adam McKay and last year’s The Big Short, Guy Lawson‘s piece on two twenty-somethings who landed huge military contracts with the US government before federal indictments was the perfect segue. It’s as though the characters from his Old School decided to make connections with black market arms organizations…

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INTERVIEW: David Gordon Green, director of Manglehorn

In the six years between Snow Angels and Prince Avalanche, writer/director David Gordon Green became a collaborator on a string of comedies of which he was not credited as a writer. In the two years since he’s utilized that process with drama Joe and now Manglehorn. He’s said in other interviews that it’s a way for him to have multiple projects going at once, passing ideas onto others to see what develops into something he wishes to pursue and what doesn’t. And as he tells us below, it also allows…

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REVIEW: 20,000 Days on Earth [2014]

“And if that doesn’t do it—you shoot the clown” I must have been nineteen or twenty when I was first introduced to Nick Cave‘s music. As a college kid trying to broaden my horizons cinematically with “classics” from foreign auteurs, I popped in Wim Wenders‘ Wings of Desire for reasons I no longer recall. While a brilliant film regardless, I could not shake the violence in Cave’s stage presence or the intensity of his songs against the romantic plot thrusting my ears into its wake. So even though I knew…

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REVIEW: Despicable Me 2 [2013]

“Do not do your business on the petunias” When we last saw super villain Gru (Steve Carell) in Despicable Me he had just returned the moon to its rightful place in the sky, retired from evil, and become a father to the three sweetest little girls ever: Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier), and Agnes (Elsie Kate Fisher). He had turned over a new leaf after youthful innocence thawed his heart a la how Cindy Lou helped the Grinch grow his in the classic Dr. Seuss tale. It’s the kind…

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REVIEW: Scarface [1932]

“It’s Poppy, boss. I got a name!” When you hear the title Scarface, I’m sure the first thing that comes to your head is Al Pacino’s horrid Cuban accent turning the phrase, “Say, ‘ello to my little friend.” And while Oliver Stone’s adaptation of Armitage Trail’s novel depicting Al Capone’s rise to criminal infamy is an entertaining, over-the-top gangster flick, it’s really Ben Hecht’s screenplay—adapted and filmed by director Howard Hawks while Capone was still alive—that truly depicts the era and this larger-than-life monster’s reign. The gangster even caught wind…

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REVIEW: Edge of Darkness [2010]

“What does it feel like?” It all begins with the surfacing of three dead bodies left in a river. A foreboding vision for the mystery thriller that is Edge of Darkness, these unknown people set the stage for the governmental corporate cover-up already started, now at Mel Gibson’s Thomas Craven’s doorstep. The trailers put out by Warner Bros. portray what looks like an action-packed revenger, pitting Gibson’s bereaved father against the people behind the murder of his daughter Emma (Bojana Novakovic). Don’t be misled, however, because the film is in…

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REVIEW: The Black Dahlia [2006]

“Fire and Ice” I will preface this review with the fact that I am a big Brian De Palma apologist. I have not seen a movie by him that I didn’t like. Whether mainstream hits like Scarface and The Untouchables, indie favs like Sisters and Femme Fatale, or even the surreal camp that is The Phantom of the Paradise, I love them all. Therefore I tried to disregard all the bad press surrounding The Black Dahlia’s release as I figured no matter how bad people thought it was I would…

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