REVIEW: Divergent [2014]

“Faction before blood” Like it or not, the twenty-first century has brought cultural alterations. For instance, the conversation about futuristic dystopias and/or social upheaval no longer includes 1984, Brave New World, or Fahrenheit 451. Our contemporary equivalents are now The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, and Divergent. They may not be at the same reading level, target the same demographic, or prove as smart and prophetic as the former trio, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t relevant or effective. All except for one thing impossible to ignore: their delivery method.…

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REVIEW: The Mechanic [2011]

“You want me to kill him, not rape him, right?” Say what you will about the caliber of flicks CBS Films has thus far churned out, but do not deny the fact they are unafraid to show graphic violence and almost seek the hard-R rating when others balk at the prospect. Faster started the action trend and The Mechanic continues it with an even darker tone. Enlisted to helm the remake is director Simon West, a man relegated to mostly television fare since his fun debut—a favorite of my family—Con…

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TIFF10: Day Two Recap

Day Two at TIFF may have started with two junket screenings, meaning there was no chance of seeing any filmmakers/actors, but it also began with what could be my number one film of the year—Never Let Me Go. Amidst the small contingent of press glomming down free danishes and coffee courtesy of Fox Searchlight was a work of art that will devastate even the most cynical of souls. It’s tough to go into detail of the plot, though, without ruining the nuance of the parallel universe world, one where disease…

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TIFF10 REVIEW: Conviction [2010]

“She’s the other old lady in my class” After steady television work and three forgettable romantic features, actor-turned-director Tony Goldwyn has taken a giant leap forward in his progression as the man behind the scenes. Delving into the true-life story of Betty Anne Waters, via a script by Pamela Gray—who also wrote his debut—Conviction premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival with some Oscar buzz behind it. With a plotline concerning a woman’s drive to free her brother—in jail on a life sentence for murder—by going to college and eventually…

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TIFF10 PREVIEW: 4 Days, 16 Films, 200 Miles …

September is once more synonymous with four words: Toronto International Film Festival. Fellow Spree’er Christopher Schobert and I will again travel north for a weekend of what could be the top candidates for Oscar gold come next winter. Of course, they could also be films that may hit theater screens within the next two to three years depending on distribution deals. It’s another jam-packed schedule of sixteen films in less than four days. Daunting for sure, but a challenge we rise toward with excitement. Sadly, the most coveted title of…

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FILM MARATHON: Julia Roberts #3 – The Pelican Brief [1993]

“It’s rally around the leader time” It’s only fitting that the director behind one the of the great films of the 70s, All the President’s Men, Alan J. Pakula would be tasked with bringing John Grisham’s own look into political espionage and White House scandal, The Pelican Brief, to the screen. Admittedly I am not a fan of Grisham’s stories as they generally become convoluted and way to convenient, pandering to the audience at every turn, pretending to be suspenseful and unique. But I think perhaps this, along with The…

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REVIEW: The Last House on the Left [2009]

“Always go for the gold” I don’t usually get disgusted or squeamish when it comes to horror and gore, but after viewing The Last House on the Left remake, one of the many old Wes Craven films getting reworked, I have to admit, it was pretty harrowing. Does making me tense up and await some scenes’ conclusions make it an effective suspense/thriller? I’m not so sure. The plotline is thin, the result obvious, so as far as what will happen, there is very little question or anticipation. That being said,…

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