REVIEW: Blaze [2018]

Never stand in the way of true love. You have to respect the way Ethan Hawke approached his latest film Blaze and its central character Blaze Foley. He’d never heard the artist’s name or music until being stopped in his tracks upon listening to John Prine cover “Clay Pigeons.” That sparked an interest for research and eventually a door to Foley’s tumultuous life was opened. As luck would have it, Hawke’s friend Louis Black knew both Blaze and Townes Van Zandt (an important figure in this tragic country blues singer’s…

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REVIEW: Lean on Pete [2018]

I’d rather them never see me again than see me like this. Loneliness is a tough concept to cope with as a child, especially when it begins to seem as though you’re to blame. That’s hardly the case, though, since people who leave do so out of selfishness rather than “just cause.” You may think yourself cursed as a way to cope via laughter and many adults retain this mindset to turn jaded as a means of self-defense. But before that transition can occur, you’re another tragic adolescent left with…

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REVIEW: War for the Planet of the Apes [2017]

“We are the beginning and the end” I’ve never seen the original Planet of the Apes films, but the little I know has always presented the titular apes as antagonists. You don’t cast Charlton Heston as your lead circa 1968 unless you want him to be the central figure with which to align. He’s a man trapped on a foreign world ruled by a species his scientists long held as inferior—prototypes for his own advanced existence. How it ends is hardly a spoiler anymore, its subversion of the entire premise…

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REVIEW: Captain Fantastic [2016]

“Your mother is dead” When you look at the poster for Captain Fantastic—especially the bright red suit worn by Cash family patriarch Ben (Viggo Mortensen)—you can’t help conjure twee thoughts of Wes Anderson quirk and yet Matt Ross‘ sophomore feature is anything but. This film is instead rooted in a very strong sense of reality. Just because it may not be your reality doesn’t lessen the events occurring or decisions made. If anything they’re strengthened because you notice the choices your parents made and you’ve made as parents in this…

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REVIEW: The Good Dinosaur [2015]

“Look who got relevated” You constantly hear about movies needing reshoots, but The Good Dinosaur‘s troubles went beyond cosmetic enhancements into full-blown emergency room triage. I’m talking two years of development before a release date announcement, two more before that date and original director Bob Peterson (who came up with the story alongside his directorial replacement Peter Sohn) were scrapped, and another two wherein the plot got completely retooled until the final film would bare little resemblance to the germ of an idea on which it began. Pixar’s cancelled Newt…

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BNFF12 REVIEW: The Pact [2011]

“You officially have a stalker—ME!” It’s the kind of gentlemen’s agreement you can see yourself making in the heat of a drunken bout with self-pity: swear off the opposite sex for a year in order to cleanse your soul of the one who left. For brothers Grant (Neil Brookshire) and Ancel Fox (Aaron Toronto) it’s a blood pact to reclaim their manhood and find success through independence. Well, maybe just for Grant—earning a promotion at work and meeting girls to have fun with as friends without constantly wonder about the…

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Sunshine Cleaning … Entrepreneurship as catharsis

Written as a guest post for my friend Leah MacVie’s blog, the original post is located here. The 2008 Sundance favorite Sunshine Cleaning, written by Megan Holley and directed by Christine Jeffs, is a phenomenal look into the emotional fragility of two young women trying to find their way in life. Rose and Norah Lorkowski are at the age where adulthood should be in full force, dependent lifestyles at home with school grades a top priority long gone. But these two haven’t had the most idyllic childhood; in fact, some…

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REVIEW: A Perfect Getaway [2009]

“Dude was a Silver Age Marvel freak” I’m not quite sure why I hold director David Twohy in such high esteem. I see his name attached to a picture and think that it could be pretty good when in fact I haven’t seen very much of his work. Below is a very underrated thriller he worked on with Darren Aronofsky and The Chronicles of Riddick is a fun adventure flick, (and I say that not seeing the director’s cut yet). But seriously, that is it. I know Pitch Black is…

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REVIEW: Sunshine Cleaning [2009]

“I recommend the pecan pie” Sometimes it takes a while for a film to be shown to the masses, no matter how much praise is lauded on it. After being buzzed at Sundance in 2008, it took a complete year before Sunshine Cleaning got out to the public. Thankfully it finally got its shot because this film is a definite gem. The title begs comparison to another Sundance favorite, Little Miss Sunshine, and the trailer even attempts to ride that to financial success, but don’t be misled. While that film…

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REVIEW: Rescue Dawn [2007]

“Little Dieter needs to fly” Werner Herzog is a legend in the film world. Having made around 50 films, whether fiction or documentary, he is known for grueling shoots and a take no prisoners attitude. One of his early films actually had a group of people carry a ship up a mountain; the guy gets what he wants and as a result usually has some great stories or even a film about the making of his epics after their completion. Supposedly his new narrative tale, Rescue Dawn, is no exception.…

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REVIEW: SubUrbia [1996]

“I don’t need a limousine to know who I am. At least I know I don’t know” Always having been a fan of Richard Linklater’s work, it confounded me that his film after indie darlings Dazed and Confused and Before Sunrise has never been released on dvd. SubUrbia is the kind of movie you hear that fans of his work love, but never found a place in cinema history. Flipping through the movie channels on tv, I happened across the film and could not stop watching until it was over.…

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