REVIEW: The French Connection [1971]

“And I’m going to nail you for picking your feet in Poughkeepsie” You watch William Friedkin‘s The French Connection today and literally start thinking about the forty-four years of police-based action thrillers owing it a huge debt. The genre just doesn’t have the type of cultural or artistic clout these days to win the hardware it did back then: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Editing, and Best Actor. (I don’t count The Departed because it was a blockbuster film with an all-star cast that went beyond cat…

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REVIEW: The Gambler [2014]

“I think you’re the kind of guy who likes to lose” I was very surprised to see James Toback‘s name as Executive Producer on The Gambler remake after reading a 2011 editorial explaining how he found out about the project secondhand after it was already announced that William Monahan was adapting his original script for Martin Scorsese. While this shouldn’t be too much of a surprise in a Hollywood where studios give EP credits to anyone they feel a need to appease and have no remorse retooling properties without caring…

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REVIEW: The Wolf of Wall Street [2013]

“Into the donuts, my boy?” This is the story of an American antihero: a guy born in the Bronx to working class parents who set off for Wall Street to make a name for himself as a stockbroker and rule the world. Jordan Belfort got a good five years or so of the limelight as a result, learning the tricks from Mark Hanna before discovering penny trades cashing out at fifty percent commission could be applied to the whales big firms were targeting for blue chip stocks. He built brokerage…

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REVIEW: Brødre [Brothers] [2004]

“He had a little boy” I really don’t mind Hollywood remaking films, honestly. If a filmmaker really enjoyed something made overseas, I can’t blame him for wanting to expose America to what resonated so well personally to him. However, shouldn’t he then go the route of Tarantino or Scorsese and bring the actual movie over, helping audiences experience the original? Or have we become so self-righteous and elitist that subtitles cannot be bothered with? Are we really that lazy? To be fair, I haven’t seen the new remake Brothers, so…

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REVIEW: I Heart Huckabees [2004]

“How am I not myself?” My favorite film of 2004, I Heart Huckabees, is one that cannot be easily classified. From the heady philosophy, to the comic genius, to the absurd surrealism, director David O. Russell has gone astray from the mainstream and crafted something that must be autobiographical as well as a passion project. Sure, as of late, there is all the talk about Lily Tomlin and he butting heads (the internet videos are fantastic, but my favorite is Paul Rudd and Michael Showalter doing their own version) and…

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REVIEW: Blood Diamond [2006]

“Bling, Bang” Here we have Hollywood’s newest addition to the agenda driven film, trying to get people’s attention to the plight of Africa. The trailers had me intrigued, but the press stemmed much of that anticipation as most I heard talked about how preachy the movie was, with its only concern being to show Americans the death and destruction that went into their precious engagement ring. I am a big fan of the three principal actors, however, and I tried to leave all the critic’s words home when going out…

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REVIEW: 無間道 [Infernal Affairs] vs. The Departed [2002 & 2006]

“I can’t finish the novel, I don’t know whether he’s good or bad” This is a question posed to Andy Lau’s character, by his live-in girlfriend, in the brilliant Cantonese film 無間道 [Infernal Affairs]. She is a writer plodding through the plot of her new novel, which eerily mirrors the double life lived by her significant other. A small detail like this helped create characters that live and breathe with a history behind them. Unfortunately, while adding almost an hour of length, Martin Scorsese’s new remake, The Departed, fails to…

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