REVIEW: American Woman [2019]

We just want to find her and bring her home. If you want to get an idea about what to expect from Jake Scott‘s American Woman, look no further than a scene between Sienna Miller and Amy Madigan at the halfway mark. The former is Debra, a woman who must ultimately cope with the disappearance of the daughter (Sky Ferreira‘s Bridget) she gave birth to at sixteen while also refocusing her life to raise the grandson that’s been left behind. The latter plays her mother Peggy, a woman who cares…

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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: 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: Mississippi Grind [2015]

“It’s Machu Picchu time” Filmmaking duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck‘s latest Mississippi Grind is an interesting creature. It has no ulterior motives whatsoever and that’s a unique attribute for a movie about gambling. You can’t watch loudmouth storyteller Curtis (Ryan Reynolds) happen upon the same poker table as down on his luck sad sack Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) without knowing he’s in the midst of a con. We don’t know what he could want from a guy who is joining sixty-dollar buy-in tournaments to pray he’ll be able to pay-off…

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TIFF15 REVIEW: High-Rise [2016]

“I think he’s lost his focus” As soon as the voice of Tom Hiddleston‘s Dr. Robert Laing was heard speaking narration above his weathered and crazed visage manically moving from cluttered, dirty room to darkened feverish corner, my mind started racing. Terry Gilliam‘s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas popped into my consciousness and then his Brazil after a quick title card shoves us back in time to watch as Laing enters his new concrete behemoth of a housing structure oppressively standing above a vast and still parking lot. Add…

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REVIEW: American Sniper [2014]

“Dude, that’s evil like I’ve never seen before” It doesn’t matter if you’re Chris Kyle or any one of the countless war veterans readjusting to civilian life stateside, half the country will call you a hero and the other a killer. While the reality lies somewhere in between, it’s almost impossible to find a war film focused on a single soldier or specific group of soldiers that doesn’t skew towards jingoistic territory or lynch mob mentality respectively. It’s therefore a welcome sight to see Clint Eastwood‘s American Sniper—based on Kyle’s…

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REVIEW: G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra [2009]

“Duke wasn’t born, he was government issued” Growing up during the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles heyday meant some of the classic toys were neglected in my youth. I had Transformers—although I never watched the cartoon to think of them as anything more than cars turning into robots—and loved Voltron if only for the fact each of the five components fit together for more power. Minus hand-me-down Hot Wheels, their diminutive spawn Micro Machines, and the odd He-Man character, however, TMNT was my main outlet for plastic figurine faux violence. G.I.…

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