REVIEW: The Ninth Configuration [1980]

“You have to say, ‘Simon Says.’ Then we’ll do it.” The history behind William Peter Blatty‘s The Ninth Configuration adds a ton of insight into its ambitious yet lacking film adaptation. His original intent, for instance, was to create a comic novel. Blatty has even been quoted as saying he prefers the first version he wrote in 1966 entitled Twinkle, Twinkle, “Killer” Kane! It was only after working alongside William Friedkin on the set of The Exorcist that he chose to go back and do a rewrite. This retro-fitted evolution…

Read More

REVIEW: Sam [2016]

“I kinda like being the only guy in New York with a gynecologist” Even though Nicholas Brooks is about thirty years too late for his gender-swapping, chauvinistic rom-com Sam, he does end up successfully subverting expectations. Don’t get me wrong: it’s not a good movie. There are enough fades to black to make me drowsy and unaware of whether or not my eyelids were closing, the physical comedy feels like amateurs on stage at dinner theater, and the sexism—while intentionally broad for Brooks’ thesis—is so blatant that you have to…

Read More

TIFF15 REVIEW: Truth [2015]

“Don’t forget to eat” There’s a real issue with the media and how they have monetized news content over the past couple decades. Robert Redford has a great monologue as Dan Rather in James Vanderbilt‘s Truth speaking on the subject of “being there” when the switch was flipped. The film’s unsurprisingly very much interested in exposing this fact—despite our already being keenly aware of it and a majority of Americans preferring the sensationalism bred in the aftermath to actual investigative journalism—in the background of an exposé detailing Rather and more…

Read More

REVIEW: If I Stay [2014]

“True love’s a bitch” I am not a proponent of stories that hinge the possibility of undying live between teenagers on an unspeakable tragedy. This was my biggest issue with the overwrought sequels to Twilight and their brazen desire to show how star-crossed lovers would commit suicide before ever imagining a world outside the other’s arms. Cry all you want about how Romeo and Juliet did the same: Twilight is not Shakespeare. To that point, neither is Gayle Forman. Yes it’s a tough world and we all dream about a…

Read More

REVIEW: Nebraska [2013]

“Two goddamn days … from Billings?” I didn’t like About Schmidt. I remember very little about why or the film itself, but I do remember that. It should therefore be no surprise I didn’t necessarily love director Alexander Payne‘s latest Nebraska either since in my estimation they’re very similar works. He was actually approached with Bob Nelson‘s screenplay while filming the Jack Nicholson starrer, agreeing to helm it as long as he could put distance behind his next obligation—Sideways—so as not to make two road movies in a row. Nine…

Read More

REVIEW: Planes [2013]

“I fly for truth” What should be an auspicious occasion for DisneyToons Studios earning its first theatrical release since 2005’s Pooh’s Heffalump Movie, the Cars spin-off Planes sadly does little to affirm the decision. Actually, the fact Disney supposedly decided to upgrade its status because of how impressive early scenes looked only makes things appear more like a cash grab to milk the universe for extra box office dollars. A second read-through of Jeffrey M. Howard‘s script—he of home video Tinker Bell fame—shouldn’t have been necessary as it’s pun-heavy dialogue…

Read More

REVIEW: The Bourne Legacy [2012]

“We are morally indefensible and absolutely necessary” There was bound to be fallout after Jason Bourne ran amok avenging his girlfriend’s death and shutting down the government agencies that turned him into a cold-blooded killer. With his amnesia-induced morality’s push towards righteousness and its ability to turn executives like Pam Landy (Joan Allen) sympathetic to his plight, fixers behind the scenes of this CIA blunder realized public knowledge of Operations Treadstone and Blackbriar could risk exposing the myriad other similar programs being performed by high-level security officials doing their best…

Read More

REVIEW: Honeydripper [2007]

“Like a soul being carried away from this life” Would you rather be beholden to a God who asks you to forsake all sinners and those holding you back from salvation or one who forgives and sees the good in humanity, striving hard to make up for mistakes of the past? And what constitutes a sin large enough to need repentance or bad enough to be left for the devil once the reckoning begins? Is vagrancy enough? How about a sheriff rounding up young black men to sell their sentencing…

Read More