Tag Archives: review

2014 Oscars – Ernest & Celestine

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In the absolutely charming universe of Ernest & Celestine, bears are the dominate species and live above ground. Meanwhile, mice dwell in elaborate underworld cities. Continue reading

2014 Oscars – Animated Shorts

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I might have mentioned this already, but I had a baby last year, my 4th. Yes, I’m insane. I know. This was right in the middle of all the big Oscar-type films being released. Now, I actually managed to keep up with seeing most the nominees, but where I fell behind was getting around to reviewing them. You may have noticed that’s a thing I try to do. I don’t have nearly enough time to  catch up with reviews, but I’m going to do what I can starting with all the shorts. Then I’ll have my top ten, followed by my awards posted real soon.

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Knowing Best – “Like Father, Like Son” Review

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The latest from writer/director Hirokazu Kore-eda is another triumph. On paper the Cannes Jury Prize winner sounds like a live-action Disney movie from the ’80s or maybe something starring Kirk Cameron or a show on ABC Family. Continue reading

Favorable Odds – “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” Review

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The rabid fans have been satiated but that doesn’t mean The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is without its problems. However, it is without question better than the first installment of the blockbuster franchise. Continue reading

Now They Know – “Frozen” Review

"FROZEN" (Pictured) ELSA. ©2013 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

After seeing Disney Animation’s latest offering, Frozen, the movie seemed almost too perfect. Of course it’s not, but it speaks to the film’s confidence and clear vision that such thoughts would even occur. So while there are a few chinks in the armor, Frozen stands as a grand piece of entertainment. Continue reading

High Profile – “Fruitvale Station” Review

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Fruitvale Station tells an important story. It’s good that this story is out there. It’s good that more people now know about the true life events it depicts. It’s very good that there’s a major film written by, directed by, and starring black filmmakers. It’s impressive that it won the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Too bad it’s not a better movie. Continue reading

Cost of Living – “Blue Jasmine” Review

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There should be no reason to tire of greatness, so there is no reason to tire of Woody Allen. When the legendary writer/director makes an excellent movie it shouldn’t come as a surprise, but that doesn’t mean it should go unnoticed either. Perhaps, releasing a new film more or less once a year spoils the audience. He makes high art with seemingly low effort. No matter the history or the work ethic, Blue Jasmine is worthy of your attention and then some. Continue reading

The Trouble with Quibbles: Pacific Rim

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After the false starts of At the Mountains of Madness and The Hobbit, director Guillermo del Toro finally returns to the big screen with Pacific Rim. It’s been a long summer with movies of epic epicness and very few rewards. So I found some time to talk with Adam Scott about whether Hollywood’s latest attraction is the blockbuster we’ve all been hoping for…or not. Continue reading

Gutshot – “The Hunt” Review

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Mads Mikkelsen won Best Actor at Cannes last year for his delicate performance in the riveting drama The Hunt. He plays Lucas, a recently divorced father working at the local kindergarten. Early on the film takes time to establish Lucas as a good and genial man. Things in his life aren’t perfect, but he’s kindhearted and well liked. Continue reading

New Testament – “Only God Forgives” Review

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Drive star Ryan Gosling and director Nicolas Winding Refn reteam for the punishing Only God Forgives. Their first collaboration benefited from having a genre structure to which Refn overlayed his various stylistics tics. This time around, Refn isn’t tethered to anything. Continue reading

The Trouble with Quibbles: Man of Steel

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Director Zack Snyder teamed up with Christopher Nolan to reboot another comic book property. As you’ll read, I’ve never been a big fan of the son of Krypton but I loved what Nolan did with Batman (the first two anyways), so I was hopeful. For this quibble, I brought in the biggest comic book nerd I know, Adam Rosko, to discuss Superman’s latest cinematic treatment. Rosko is also the Artistic Director of Atomic Arts where they’re preparing their final run of Trek in the Park. I have no scruples plugging the show because it’s worth driving to Portland to see. I know because I did. Please do check it out. Now back to Supes (SPOILERS): Continue reading

Tainted Love – “Sightseers” Review

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Tina (Alice Lowe), looking like a young Mary McDonnell, is a sheltered mama’s girl. She’s well past the acceptable age to still be living at home. Her mother is cruel. She casually refers to Tina as an accident. But Tina is about to go on holiday with her understanding new boyfriend Chris (Steve Oram). Chris and Tina set off on the world’s most mundane vacation imaginable. They’re taking a camper around to places like a pencil museum. It’s all so very dull until Chris begins murdering complete strangers. Continue reading

Seeds of Dissent – “At Any Price” Review

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If you like NASCAR and corn than boy do I have a film for you. Writer/Director Ramin Bahrani’s latest finds him moving away from small stories and non-actors to see what he can accomplish with big names like Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron and a bigger canvas. Continue reading

Artful Dodger – “Trance” Review

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The latest film from Danny Boyle is slick, but it never completely makes up its mind as to whether or not it wants to be sensational fun or aim for higher art. It’s like someone squished together Headhunters, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Inception but left out the shocks, the heart, and a sensible third act. It’s not a total waste. I don’t think any Boyle film is ever without some merit. It’s a disjointed film, which is appropriate considering the hypnosis plot device, but it never commits.

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Enter the Void – “Spring Breakers” Review

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You know how in Gladiator Russell Crowe is always having visions of his home? He’s wading through wheat and sees his wife and child. Or maybe you remember The Thin Red Line and the soldier dreaming of the love he left? She’s lit like an angel, a perfect vision. In both films, these are the characters’ idyllic ideas of paradise. Well in writer/director Harmony Korine’s new film Spring Breakers the main characters’ idea of heaven is a hedonistic spring break that never ends. The film is an exploration of this thesis writ large in a burst of neon day-glo, breasts, booze, and guns. It’s a movie that can be approached a number of ways, and is sure to be misappropriated left and right, and I think this only makes it more brilliant. Continue reading