REVIEW: kid 90 [2021]

What happens once I unlock it? My mindset entering Soleil Moon Frye‘s autobiographical documentary kid 90 anticipated a fun, nostalgic, low stakes look at kid celebrities. That’s what the slew of happy photos depicting teenaged Stephen Dorff, Brian Austin Green, and Balthazar Getty smiling sells: their childhood adventures as inseparable friends and peers removed from the otherwise tumultuous Hollywood machine. Frye only adds to that image when starting things off by saying, “this is an account of what it meant to be a child in the 1990s.” Expectations are therefore…

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REVIEW: Embattled [2020]

More than myself. You’re either a sucker for films like director Nick Sarkisov and screenwriter David McKenna‘s Embattled or you’re not. I’m the former—a fact that’s proven especially true when the filmmakers are willing to use the fighting drama genre as a means to provide something more than just an adversarial winner takes all ambition. So I was hooked pretty much from the first scene as Cash Boykin (Stephen Dorff) runs his mouth on the way to the Octagon, pumping himself up with the crowd as his son Jett (Darren…

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REVIEW: The Iceman [2013]

“I don’t believe in bad luck” Arrested in 1986 after three decades of murdering an estimated one hundred men, it’s hard to believe another thirty years were necessary before the story of serial killer turned hitman Richie Kuklinski reached the big screen. Based on Anthony Bruno‘s book The Iceman: The True Story of a Cold-Blooded Killer, Ariel Vroman‘s film brings us up close and personal to the family man’s myriad demons. Possessed by a temper so volatile he would send men to hell for simply rubbing him the wrong way,…

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REVIEW: Tomorrow You’re Gone [2013]

“He needs to get killed” Directing his first film since 2005’s Down in the Valley, David Jacobson finds himself in very similar tonal territory with Tomorrow You’re Gone. Written by Matthew F. Jones from his own novel Boot Tracks, the story picks up with introspective, tormented criminal Charlie Rankin (Stephen Dorff) upon his release from a four-year stint in prison. Deciphering a contracted hit in a coded letter sent by The Buddha (Willem Dafoe)—his wealthy friend and mentor long since freed—Charlie finds himself holing up inside a seedy bar/motel to…

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REVIEW: Immortals [2011]

“Witness hell!” With the most recent forays into mythology coming in the form of a boring Troy and misguided Clash of the Titans, seeing the name Tarsem Singh attached to Immortals brought a smile to my face. Originally titled Dawn of War and War of the Gods before settling on its current name, the director sought to deliver a bloody epic in the style of a Renaissance painting—the flowing light of the Gods’ capes and fluid motion of action a real treat. And if you’ve seen his previous work The…

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REVIEW: Somewhere [2010]

“Hey Johnny. You’re having a party.” Ever since her debut film—a favorite of mine—The Virgin Suicides, Sofia Coppola has spiraled into a mode of minimalist storytelling. Receiving raves from critics and a Best Screenplay Oscar for her sophomore effort Lost in Translation, I began to wonder what I was missing. It was a good film, but a transcendent piece of cinema introducing us to a new master of the medium? I didn’t even think it was her best film, let alone all that. Perhaps it is in the simplicity where…

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The Most Anticipated Films of 2011

While Jon Favreau may say that 2011 looks to have a bloodbath summer on its hands with blockbusters galore taking 3D screens from each other, I’ll say right now that those aren’t the movies most intriguing me. Next year sees a return for Jack Sparrow, Lightning McQueen, Holmes and Watson, the Witwickys, Ethan Hunt, and, of course, everyone’s favorite Ghostface. Superheroes are king once more with Avengers, Mutants, and a delayed and beleaguered Black Beauty coming as well as our once beloved comedian Adam Sandler not only starring in a…

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REVIEW: Public Enemies [2009]

“Bye-bye blackbird” There’s this thing called clout that allows certain Hollywood types to be able to get people like Shawn Hatosy and Leelee Sobieski in their films for five-minute throwaway roles. It also gets them the ability to have carte blanche on a script that others may not. I think Michael Mann is one of the good ones; even subpar fare like Miami Vice still seemed to contain what could have been a good film, hidden inside, just a few more edits away. So, when trailers for Public Enemies started…

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