Tribeca Review: Chef (Jon Favreau directs)

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While Chef may have had a relatively light premise its star studded cast was still enough to lend it some legitimacy. What keeps you engaged with the relatively shaky premise of this film is its heavy use of of technology and social media along with a number of geographic culture shocks that provide occasional laughs, […]

Steve Hofstetter Interview

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Recently, I was able to sit down with comedian and YouTube star Steve Hofstetter before he did a stand-up show at the Hard Rock Cafe in Philadelphia.  We had a great conversation while he ate his dinner and prepped for the show.  It was a lot of fun, and the show was terrific.  Steve’s set […]

Tribeca Review: Below Dreams

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An uncommonly loose portrait of life in New Orleans, Garret Bradley’s debut feature film uses a documentary-like cinema verite style to create a movie that values tone over narrative. Weaving together *but just barely) the lives of three very different people, only connected by the city they share, Below Dreams’ naturalistic approach to scene structure […]

Tribeca Review: In Order of Disappearance

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Stellan Skarsgård has a unique set of skills in Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland’s In Order of Disappearance, and among them is operating a snow blower. Set against the sparse, snow-soaked landscapes of Norwegian, Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland’s In Order of Disappearance casts Skarsgård in the old-guy-after-revenge role that’s been popularized by Liam Neeson […]

Review: Joe

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There comes a point in David Gordon Green’s Joe where main character Joe (an excellent Nicholas Cage) starts to act as if he might be insane. Hardly restrained up to this point, the film proceeds to take two steps forward and one step backward in terms of finesse. Green, whose sharp-focused observations ultimately fail to […]

Review: Draft Day

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Its blaring print advertisement quote compares Draft Day to Bull Durham and Field of Dreams. If you go in looking for a shred of either film, you’ll feel as cheated as this film’s Cleveland Browns fans feel after a pre-draft day trade. Brown’s GM Sonny Weaver Jr. (Kevin Costner) gives up three future first round […]

Review: Dom Hemingway

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There hasn’t been an actor playing this “against type” since Bill Murray as FDR. In Dom Hemingway Jude Law stars as a blustery Cockney smart-ass safe-cracker with bad teeth and a few extra pounds on his gut. Law, usually solidly cerebral (the excellent Side Effects, Anna Karenina), here is big on balls and small on […]

Review: The Unknown Known

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Although it’s disappointing politically that the bedeviling Donald Rumsfeld fails to emulate Robert McNamara in Errol Morris’ documentary, The Fog of War, it makes for compelling cinema in Morris’ new film The Unknown Known. Whereas McNamara gave plenty of mea culpa heft to his turn in the spotlight, Rumsfeld is instead intent on making sure […]

Review: Nymphomaniac: Part Two

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Ever the tricky jokester, Lars Von Trier mixes it up in his two-part opus, Nymphomaniac. The grandiloquent literary and fly fishing allusions of Nymphomaniac Part One and its hand-in-hand farcical shadings yield in Part Two to a much more somber tone. Sadomasochism rises to the fore as soon as you can say 50 Shades of […]

Jason Talks Movies and Riots with his Venezuelan Friend

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  Recently, there has been a lot of news coverage on the country of Venezuela and the riots taking place within its borders.  I was interested in seeing how the insurmountable violence and widespread fear has affected the movie industry over there, so I asked my friend David who lives in Venezuela if he could […]

Review: Cesar Chavez

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  Diego Luna’s Cesar Chavez glosses over some rather important aspects of the underlying essence of its subject matter. Although admirable in taking the course of the biopic Lincoln versus, say Mandela, in keeping its scope focused on a narrow swath of time, it fails to go deep in portraying the great 1960s labor organizer. […]

Review: Nymphomaniac Part 1

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Mixing the eloquent and the pointless and dressing up his profane observations with intellectual frosting, Lars Von Trier presents Nymphomnia Part 1, the first part of a three-hour-plus feeding frenzy of lust and guilt. Loveless sex holds court as Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg), found bloodied on the street, reluctantly tells her rescuer (Stellan Skarsgard) her story. […]

Review: Bethlehem

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Dumbfoundingly similar in its finale to the recent Oscar-nominated Palestinian film, Omar, the Israeli Bethlehem mines equivalent emotional turf. Devoid of explanatory context, Bethlehem, via credible and interesting characters, lays out a sad premise: both sides are inhumane, lying and vengeful to a mortal fault. As in Omar, what proceeds as a suspenseful action yarn […]

Review: The Grand Budapest Hotel

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Wes Anderson prefers not to enter himself into a particular time and place unless he’s able to twist and turn his subject until it’s ready to fit into HIS world. In The Grand Budapest Hotel, his eighth and best feature, his enchanting stylization rises to a level of obsessiveness that bodes well for the adventurous […]

Review: The Bag Man

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John Cusack and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day may have been an apt title for Cinedigm’s new slow-burn thriller The Bag Man. Starring as the decidedly undescriptively named “Jack,” Cusack kills or is almost killed by nearly every character in this movie, and little of it is his own fault. He must […]

Review: Mr. Peabody and Sherman

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Stephen Colbert voices the surly character Paul Peterson in Mr. Peabody and Sherman, the new animated reworking of the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show characters. Invited to the dog and his adopted human son’s home for dinner, Peterson is having none of this erudite mutt’s shenanigans. Peterson’s s daughter Penny bullied Sherman into actually biting her […]

Review: The Wind Rises

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Content to portray the daydreams, everyday life and sturdy determination of a nerdy kid turned genius aeronautical engineer, Japanese anime master Hayao Miyazaki has some observers ticked off at him. Based on the life of Jiro Horikashi, the designer of the Zero fighter plane used in Pearl Harbor, The Wind Rises exhibits the usual amazing […]

Cinedork Staff Predicts the Oscar Winners

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With  the 86th annual academy awards coming up tonight, we here at Cinedork decided to offer up our predictions for who we think will be taking home the coveted golden statues tonight.       Send to Kindle

Review: Omar

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Omar’s got a problem: how to balance staying the good street soldier in the West Bank Palestinian liberation movement while remaining on course to settle down with the sister of his comrade-in-arms. We are introduced to Omar (Adam Bakri) as he scales a wall more than 20 feet high in the Occupied Territories in order […]

Giveaway: Bad Words College Screening @ Rave University City

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Cinedork.com along with our partners at the Pretentious Film Majors and friends at Focus Features are giving FREE seats to an advanced screening of the new spelling bee comedy directed by and starring Jason Bateman, Bad Words. The Pretentious Film Majors will host the event this Thursday night, February 27th, at 7:30pm, at Philadelphia’s Rave University […]

10 Hidden Treasures you can Watch on Netflix Now

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1. 2 Days in Paris: From French filmmaker Julie Delpy, who also wrote and starred in the Before Sunrise trilogy, comes a funny and sentimental story of two lovebirds having a very unromantic weekend in the most romantic place on earth. Delpy plays French native Marion, who brings her longtime boyfriend, Jack, a sarcastic and […]

Review: 3 Days to Kill

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Luc Besson, the most provocative of guilty pleasures when he’s on his game, wrote 3 Days To Kill’s story, co-wrote its screenplay, and produced. The film’s campy violence marks a return to form for Besson while it also heralds a continuation of a renaissance in the acting career of Kevin Costner begun with the TV […]

Review: Like Father, Like Son

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Like Father, Like Son tells how two families deal with the bombshell revelation that their six-year-old sons were switched at birth. Director Hirokazo Kore-da, whose marvelous ouevre continues its focus on children facing unusual predicaments, leads us through an impossibly heartwrenching situation without a touch of melodrama. Some of this is a wry mirror held […]

Review: A Winter’s Tale

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Like a Saturday Night Live skit spun out of control and barely keeping itself together, this impossibly imbecilic film somehow prevails to its end shot, stellar cast in tow. Since A Winter’ s Tale professes to be a serious film, this is something of a feat. Russell Crowe, Colin Farrell, Jennifer Connelly, Will Smith and […]

Review: That Awkward Moment

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A deceitfully overwrought premise, bargain-basement plot, and paint-by-numbers characters add up to a Valentine’s Day film disaster. The lipstick on this donkey is provided by a bunch of photogenic, fairly talented actors. Yet even Brando and Hepburn couldn’t do much with this concoction that seems like it was stillborn in a Five and Under store. […]

Review: Labor Day

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Not since American Pie has the all-American baked classic received this much attention in a film. In Labor Day, pastry dominates the vacuum created by a movie that wears its heart on its sleeve and ought to hide its melodramatic script in a drawer. When he’s not Mr Fix-it-up-er or mopping their hardwood floor, escaped […]

Editorial: 8 Movies That Made Me Wish I Was At Sundance

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Every year the Sundance Film Festival premieres some of the most exciting new movies being made, spotlighting both established auteurs and first-time filmmakers. The films showcased here can go on to awards glory or box-office success, while others will be panned and forgotten. But while the Hollywood elite mingle with media-leaders, I am confined to my Philadelphian apartment, which is […]

Editorial: The Three-Picture Horse Race

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This year, the Oscar race is closer than it has been in decades. It’s a horse race between not two, but three movies: 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle and Gravity. Gravity and American Hustle both took 10 Oscar nominations while 12 Years a Slave nipped at their heels with 9. American Hustle won the […]

Editorial: “Year of the Black Movie” & Other Problematic Labels

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This past Thursday, Oscar nominations were unveiled, and with it came the typical mix of surprises and snubs. However, this year, there was a buzz of discontent coming from Oscar watchers for the dearth of recognition for African-American films. Sure, Twelve Years A Slave picked up 9 nominations, the third most of all the films […]

Editorial: 8 Reasons to Be Overly Excited for The Lego Movie

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Heading into the normally dreadful January/February months, amongst the normal offerings of schlocky horror and bland comedy comes a shining beacon of hope. A bright, promising movie-going experience primed for trips down memory lane. The Lego Movie, due out February 7th, might have seemed like a strange idea at one point (then again, so did a David […]

Editorial: 8 Movies to Worry About in 2014

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The New Year’s parties have ceased and the “Best & Worst Films of the Year” pieces have summarily been turned in to editors for publishing; however, not quite yet ready to do away with lists and rankings, writers from /Film to International Business Times have turned to the annual Most Anticipated List to grade 2014′s film […]

Potted Potter Interview

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Recently, I had the pleasure of watching Potted Potter, The Unauthorized Harry Potter Experience.  The show was a lot of fun and definitely unique.  You can read my review of it here.  The day after seeing Potted Potter, I had the chance to chat with James Percy and Delme Thomas, the two lead performers from […]

OSCARS: The 8 Most Egregious Omissions

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2013 was a year full of strong films, and the Academy’s decision reflected that nominating nine films for Best Picture; however, all but three above-the-line nominations went to movies nominated for night’s big award. The exceptions are all well-established actresses in films with multiple nominations. A lot of lesser seen movies like Mud and Short Term 12 were ignored, while overlooked favorites like Before Midnight and Prisoners received just […]

Review: Ride Along

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James doesn’t like Ben (Kevin Hart), who lives with James’ dishy sister. James (Ice Cube) is a real cop and a bit of a rogue one at that. Ben’s only notion of police work comes from his advanced knowledge of video games yet he’s somehow just been accepted into Atlanta’s police academy. In the first […]

INTERVIEW: Francisco Lorite on his new film ‘Mediation’

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Pretentious Film Major Jackie Leon recently had the chance to interview director Francisco Lorite about his film, Mediation, which premiered January 11th . Mediation is a short film that documents an extremely dramatic divorce mediation between a couple blinded by their own egos. This is what Francisco had to say about the film, his production company and his […]

Review: August: Osage County

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In this John Wells adaptation of Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer-prize winning play, The Weston family, long-marinated in misery and malevolence, let it all out at a post-funeral meal. The verbal fireworks are ugly enough to make the most dysfunctional family seem rather normal by comparison. A testimony to the bounty of Meryl Streep’s extraordinary talent and […]

Review: Her

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It’s no joke that Scarlett Johansson is generating Oscar buzz as Samantha in Her despite the sum of her role consisting of a remarkable voice but not one visual appearance. Instead, she provides the distinctive, albeit disembodied voice of a computer operating system. Convincingly conveying the notion that she possesses an autonomous consciousness, Johansson gives […]

Contest: David Koechner @ The Trocadero – Jan 11

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Whammy! Star of Anchorman/Anchorman 2 David Koechner will be at the Trocadero on January 11th! He will be doing a one night show of his hilarious stand up. Maybe he’ll dish on Will Ferrell too. Buy your tickets here. Or here. Or here. Here too. Maybe here. This one might work. We are giving away […]

Contest: Screening Passes “The Legend of Hercules”

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Gone is the Christmas season full of feelgood sappy Hollywood movies. We are now in January, a time of action packed awesomeness that will blow your freakin’ mind! We are giving away passes to “The Legend of Hercules” here at the dork. Grab the link below to grab yours. Where: Cinemark University City Penn 6, […]

One Guy’s Best Films, Performances, and Scenes of 2013

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Perusing the dozens of Best Film Top Ten lists, I’m struck with the same sentiment as in years past: Some cockamamy choices indeed! Far be it from me to stand in judgement of anyone who seriously included Only God Forgives or The Counselor, as more than one prominent critic has. They must simply be the […]

Review: Inside Llewyn Davis

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Highly fond of recent Coen Brothers efforts Burn After Reading, A Serious Man, and True Grit, I looked forward to their latest offering. Taking place in the pre-Dylan folk music milieu of early 60s Greenwich Village coffeehouses, Inside Llewyn Davis has much bark: it’s musical numbers–and insufficient bite: its story of a dour, shrugging sad […]

10 Best Films of 2013: Cinedork.com/PFMChannel List

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It’s finally here, the Top 10 Films of 2013. Read below for our thoughts: 10. The 1985 headline declared “Police Bomb Osage Avenue MOVE House—11 MOVE Members Dead, 61 Houses Destroyed.” Suspicions of a double police cover-up  in West Philadelphia incidents separated by seven years inform director Jason Osder’s riveting documentary Let the Fire Burn that uses […]

The Best Films of 2013 (Cinedork.com/PFMChannel)

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Throughout the year, the collected staffs of Cinedork.com & The Pretentious Film Majors collect their 5-star scores of all the new movies in preparation for this year list: The Cinedork.com/Pretentious Film Majors Best & Worst Films of 2013. The votes have been collected, tabulated, and averaged into one common score, and then placed on our […]

10 Worst Films of 2013 (Cinedork.com/PFMChannel List)

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Unfortunately, for all the enjoyable movies that 2013 gave us, it also dealt out its fair share of utter, absolute stinkers. Movies that wasted our money, time, and hard-earned sanity. There are 10 terrible films that stood out above the rest, but before running down those, here are the 10 movies that just missed out […]

Review: Mandela

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You may know Idris Elba, who plays Nelson Mandela in the new film Mandela: A Long Walk To Freedom, from his stint as Stringer Bell in The Wire. Despite Elba doing essentially a nice job, Mandela is no The Wire. That may not seem like a fair comparison on the surface yet actually it speaks […]

Review: The Wolf of Wall Street

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You will likely think Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street is either a marvelous spoof on avaricious assholes complete with its own brand of sex-and-drugs magical realism, or you’ll find it an excessive glorification of the very depravity it is lampooning. The likelihood that its leg-pulling challenge, its unnerving dare, will polarize its audience […]

Interview: Oscar Isaac – Inside Llewyn Davis

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The Coen Brothers can always be counted on to make amazing films; their newest film, Inside Llewyn Davis, is no exception. Set in Greenwich Village in 1961, the film mixes a lonely atmosphere and soulful music to chronicle a week in the life of struggling Folk singer Llewyn Davis. Recently, The Pretentious Film Majors got […]

Interview: Adam McKay – Anchorman 2

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  Nearly ten years after the first Anchorman obliterated people’s expectations of comedy, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues returnsto theaters to crackup audiences once again. Anchorman 2 picks up at the dawn of the 24 hour news era when Ron Burgundy must reunite his famous team to change network news forever.  In anticipation of the […]

Review: American Hustle

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Take a couple who deep down are essentially two deceitful people (Christian Bale and Amy Adams) who have made themselves successful at scamming the vulnerable. Add a hyper-pushy FBI agent (Bradley Cooper), who offers them a stay-out-of-jail deal dependent on their trusting each other. Mix in a big-time hood (Robert DeNiro) and a loose-cannon bimbo […]

Review: Saving Mr. Banks

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Disney created a new cinematic making-of feature for one of its most beloved films, Mary Poppins, with Saving Mr. Banks. The film follows Mary Poppins author, P.L. Travers, as she is finally convinced to go to Los Angeles and work with Disney to turn her book to a film. Travers is intent on protecting her […]

Review: Philomena

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Judi Dench has had a remarkable career earning her stripes mostly playing intelligent women who possess that extra edge to make themselves the smartest person in the room. Steve Coogan has, with some notable exceptions, staked out a reputation as an outlier comedic actor. In Philomena, directed by Stephen Frears (The Queen), they both go […]

Review: Frozen

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Frozen, an intelligent, fun film for all ages, is helmed by the first female director (Jennifer Lee) of a Disney animated feature. Combined with its two female leads, Anna (the voice of Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel), the expectation here is that of a film more for girls than boys, a Disney chick flick. […]

Contest: “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” Hollywood Movie Money

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Do you like free movies? Do you like The Hobbit-ses? Well this contest is for you!!! Win free movie money to see THE HOBBIT: DESOLATION OF SMAUG the week it comes out! All you need to do is send an email to “info@cinedork.com” with your Name, email, phone, and mailing address and the subject “GIVE […]

Review: Nebraska

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My normal intolerance for aw-shucks Americana notwithstanding, I had plenty of room for the graciousness and insight of Alexander Payne’s black-and-white gem, Nebraska. Peppered with genuine humor, it achieves a feel for what in sunnier days was called “Middle America,” that is at once affectionate and steely-eyed observational. What ends up entertaining in this slice-of-life […]

Review: Delivery Man

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Ken Scott’s remake of his own film, Starbuck, has been put together with a nearly scene-for-scene deference to replication. How odd, then, that Delivery Man, the English language version of the French Canadian comedy, is mysteriously missing the humor present in the earlier version while mirthlessly retaining the schmaltz. Messing up foreign films for American […]

Review: Big Bad Wolves (Philadelphia Film Festival ’13)

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Big Bad Wolves, directed by Aharon Keshales, is the tale of a man suspected of some truly horrendous murders and the two men who take it upon themselves to torture him. The torturers are Miki (Lior Ashkenazi), an Israeli cop who’s been recently fired, and Gidi (Tzahi Grad), the father of one of the victims. […]

REVIEW: The Discoverers (Philadelphia Film Festival ’13)

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The Discoverers is a movie about a family’s trip to help their estranged grandfather (Stuart Margolin) after the death of his wife. The bulk of the film takes place on an exploratory trek, following the path of Lewis & Clark (with whom the father and grandfather are differently obsessed). At its core, the film is […]

REVIEW: Burning Bush (Philadelphia Film Festival ’13)

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Burning Bush is a four-hour long film — originally a three-part mini series — that details student protests against the Russian occupation of Czechoslovakia and, primarily, the aftermath of those protests. The film has its focus in political intrigue, the struggle to do the right thing, and the effects of death. Though at a four […]

PFF ’13 Review: Young and Beautiful

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Young and Beautiful, directed by François Ozon, is a French film centered on the life of a 17-year-old girl, Isabelle (Marine Vacth), who enters into a life of prostitution, as a part of a journey of sexual self-discovery. While the film attempts to show the effect on her family, it focuses on Isabelle, who discovers […]

INTERVIEW: Nebraska Will Forte (PFMChannel)

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Actor Will Forte talks to Pretentious Film Majors’ Zachary Shevich at the Philadelphia Film Festival’s premiere screening of Alexander Payne’s latest film, Nebraska. They discuss the acting alongside Bruce Dern, working with Alexander Payne, and the ONE Payne movie that Will hasn’t seen. For more information on The Pretentious Film Majors be sure to visit their […]

Interview: Nebraska Director Alexander Payne (PFMChannel)

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Filmmaker Alexander Payne talks to Pretentious Film Majors’ Zachary Shevich at the Philadelphia Film Festival’s premiere screening of his latest movie, Nebraska. They discuss the benefits of going to film school, what it’s like making movies in his home state of Nebraska, and the filmmaker’s journey into more dramatic material since making Election nearly 15 […]

Contest: “Philomena” Screening Passes

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This beautiful film staring Dame Judi Dench and Steve Coogan tells the daring tale of an old woman looking for her lost son that was taking from her in childhood. I usually makes snarky comments in these contests but I’ve seen Philomena (at the Philadelphia Film Festival) and I cannot think of words that aren’t […]

Will Forte talks Writing MacGruber 2 with Jorma Taccone

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The Pretentious Film Majors ask Will Forte for an update on MacGruber 2!! Check out his answer, and why he’s been calling Jorma Taccone, from the Philadelphia Film Festival’s red carpet premiere of Nebraska. For more information on The Pretentious Film Majors be sure to visit their official website.   Send to Kindle

30 for 30 Parody Documenting Space Jam is Basically Perfect

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Over the course of a couple years, ESPN Films has released a slew of compelling, inspired, and tragic documentaries about sports. Even more surprising have been some of the talent, big names they’ve partnered with for some of the features, from Oscar-winner Alex Gibney, to Rain Man director Barry Levinson. It only seems fitting that […]

Contest: “Nebraska” Free Screening Passes

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What do you get when you combine Alexander Payne, an angry old man, and MacGrubber? The great state of Nebraska! We at the Dork have passes for a special pre-opening special (it’s really special) screening that we are just extatic to give away to all of you. Where: Ritz Five, Philadelphia, PA When: Tuesday, November […]

Review: Dallas Buyers Club

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Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto lost a combined 80 pounds for the compelling Dallas Buyers Club. There’s an 80 – 1 chance they don’t both secure Oscar nominations. They could both win. Although you’ll need to see David France’s excellent 2012 documentary, How To Survive A Plague to get a fuller picture of the scope […]

Interview: Book Thief author Zusak & director Percival

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During their visit to Philadelphia to promote their upcoming film adaptation of The Book Thief, director Brian Percival and author Markus Zusak talked to Devin Southard of the Pretentious Film Majors. Watch the interview above as they discuss the process of translating a book to film, working with Geoffery Rush, and their favorite book-to-film adaptations. […]

Kickstarter Spotlight: The Wrecking Crew

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The Beach Boys. Frank Sinatra. Elvis Presley. The Monkees. Simon & Garfunkel. These are some of the iconic names that made music history, but most people can’t name the band that helped make all of them. Enter The Wrecking Crew, a documentary chronicling one of the best backing bands in the music industry, and a […]

PFF ’13: Live Action Shorts

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A collection of ten films, the Live Action Shorts Collection from the Philly Film Fest is a mixed bag: some good, some bad, none all that weird. On the whole, the experience is alright, some middling pieces and standouts, reduced by others that they’re sharing screen time with — nothing is particularly bad, but some […]

Review: About Time

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Richard Curtis has done it again, and for those of you who don’t know who Richard Curtis is, you probably should. He is the witty and intelligent filmmaker behind just about every smash romantic comedy to come out of the UK in the last 20 years. Curtis started off his career in British TV, writing […]

“Potted Potter” at the Prince Music Theater

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Have you ever thought to yourself “hey self… I want to know everything that happens in the Harry Potter books but I don’t really wanna waste hours of my life reading them…. I also hate movies because I’m a crazy person” Well then here’s the solution for you! Potted Potter at the Prince Music Theater […]

We Are The Best Review

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Punk is alive and well in Stockholm circa 1982 as the charming foreign film Vi är bäst! or We Are The Best! The film follows a group of three teens, ages 12-14, who decide to start a Punk Rock band. The plot is an adaptation of the graphic novel “Never Goodnight” by Coco Moodysson. Watching these […]

Review: Blue is the Warmest Color

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One might pass over Blue Is The Warmest Color since when a film is this hyped and controversial, some have the tendency to run the other way. That would be a big mistake. Unprecedented was the film winning the prestigious Palme D’or at Cannes not only for its director, Abdellatif Kechiche but also its two […]

Review: Ender’s Game

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What do you get if you combine The Hunger Games and Starship Troopers? Ender’s Game. A well thought out, visually contorting film that will make you laugh, scream, and motion sick. Really really really far into the future we find an Earth that has barely survived an alien attack, killing tens of millions of people. […]

Review: Last Vegas

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A re-imagining of The Hangover for the geriatric set? Sure, but much like Stand Up Guys, this is another movie whose entire reason for existence is to showcase formerly heavyweight actors condescending to, wink in their eye, settle for a lesser script. DeNiro, Douglas, Freeman, and Kline set out to demonstrate that no matter how […]

Philadelphia Film Festival Animated Shorts Program Review

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The Philadelphia Film Festival’s Animated Shorts Program featured a collection of 13 recently released animated short films from around the world.  Each short had its own style and story to tell.  When presented as a collection, these stories created a unique experience that I’ll never forget, even if I try. Fear of Flying Director Conor […]

Review: Diana

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Perhaps the hardest thing to do when creating a historical film is to keep the story interesting. Movies like The Social Network and The King’s Speech  have been some of the most successful of these films, telling stories from angles that people overlooked. Diana, the new film from director Oliver Hirschbiegel, aims to tell the story […]

PFF ’13: Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction

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Filmed against the quiet setting of his home save for the gentle American folk songs emanating from his slight, aged frame Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction delivers an honest portrait of a man with a plethora of on-screen experiences and a subtle, quiet attitude of the life he’s lived and continues to carry on. A […]

PFF ’13: 12 O’Clock Boys

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Often the best characters and most dynamic stories are walking amongst us overlooked or hidden by the preoccupations of a culture fixated on looking for the next idol or super-hero drama. It’s high time we once again pay attention to the world around us witnessing through their eyes what makes up their world.      […]

PFF ’13 Review: Let the Fire Burn

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The headline in 1985 read something like “Police Bomb Osage Avenue MOVE House, 11 MOVE Members Dead, 61 Houses Destroyed.” Where there’s police brutality, citizen pushback isn’t far behind. When the peace of innocent residents of a block is disrupted by unruly neighbors (threats of violence, the constant blare of bullhorns, filthy conditions–the group did […]

Review: 12 Years a Slave

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Every once in a long while a film comes along where seeing it can be considered not only essential, but practically a duty. Setting aside even the lowest tolerance for violence can be a relative small price to pay for the reward gained. In 12 Years A Slave, the mindless atrocities brought against American slaves […]

PFF ’13 Review: The Immigrant

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Even a strong performance from Marion Cotillard and a fairly good one from Joaquin Phoenix fail to ignite the stodgy if rigorous The Immigrant. Supporting characters are uniformly stock, the story stretches plausibility more than once, and Ellis Island seems like Alcatraz one day, a Barnum & Bailey circus the next. Jeremy Renner as a […]

PFF ’13 Review: Gloria

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Gloria Cumplido (Paulina Garcia, Best Actress winner at The Berlin Film Festival) is a late-50s divorcee, mom, and garndmother who regularly hits a Chilean dance hall to meet meet men of a similar age and bent. She does so with aplomb, and with sufficient savvy to offset her vulnerability. Most of the time. Her challenge […]

PFF ’13 Review: Mother of George

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Cultural traditions, in all their splendor and confinements, envelop the exquisite Mother of George. Beginning with a sensuous Nigerian wedding celebration, the film offers a first-hand glimpse into a hard-working and dutiful family living among the Nigerian immigrant population in Brooklyn. What sets the film apart is the subtle touch of Nigerian-American director Andrew Dosunmu […]

Ben and Jerry’s Announce “Anchorman” Ice Cream

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In a surprise move famous Ice Cream makers Ben and his gay lover Jerry have created a new ice cream in honor of the new Anchorman film, opening Christmas Day. The flavor named “Scotchy scotch scotch” represents how much butterscotch can legally be put into a pint sized container. Now every break up has exactly […]

PFF ’13: The Unknown Known Review

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Although it’s disappointing politically that the bedeviling Donald Rumsfeld fails to emulate Robert McNamara in Errol Morris’ documentary, The Fog of War, it makes for compelling cinema in Morris’ new film The Unknown Known. Whereas McNamara gave plenty of mea culpa heft to his turn in the spotlight, Rumsfeld is instead intent on making sure […]

PFF ’13 Review: The Congress

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The zany The Congress, Israeli director Ari Folman’s follow-up to the Oscar-nominated Waltz With Bashir, is twice as playful and half as coherent. No worries.  Once one gets used to Folman’s keeping us guessing throughout the film’s back-and-forth switches from a live-action present to an animated 2033, it’s fun to sit back and rake it […]

PFF ’13 Review: Mary Queen of Scots

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“A queen who lost three kingdoms. A wife who lost three husbands. A woman who lost her head.” The tagline of Tomas Imbach’s Mary, Queen of Scots succinctly summarizes a long and complicated history. Camille Rutherford plays the title character, a woman most commonly remembered for being beheaded by Elizabeth I of England. But what […]

22nd Philly Film Fest Preview Discussion (video)

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The Pretentious Film Majors sit down in the Screening Room to preview the upcoming 22nd Annual Philadelphia Film Festival — big movies, small movies, Oscar movies, and more!! Films mentioned in the discussion include 12 Years a Slave, Nebraska, August: Osage County, Young & Beautiful, The Selfish Giant, Ilo Ilo, About Time, Last Vegas, Blue […]

PFF ’13 Review: Caucus

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As the sole party with a serious decision to make in the primary race for the 2012 presidential election, the Republican candidates were thrust into a near-constant spotlight and the equally constant critique and, at times, ridicule that came with it. In his new documentary, Caucus, director AJ Schnack follows the candidates as they attend […]

Philly Film Festival Programmer Michael Lerman (interview)

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Philadelphia Film Society Artistic Director Michael Lerman previews the upcoming Philadelphia Film Festival for PFS Members at the Programmer Talkback event, held this year at Positano Coast! After the scheduled schedule presentation and Q&A, Lerman talks with Pretentious Film Majors’ Zach Shevich about the 1500 films he screened in anticipation of the festival, the small […]

Is Gravity’s Box Office That Impressive?

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Gravity is an impressive movie. Both the sound and cinematography are extremely well done, it boasts impressive 3-D and is one of the more worthwhile IMAX films of the past few years. Gravity has broken box office records since debuting on October 4th, but a closer look at the numbers that have been getting so much […]

Review: Captain Phillips

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The brilliant, haunting last scene of Captain Phillips features a real-life Navy medic and Tom Hanks in an improvised scene that sums up the emotionally wrecking experience Hanks has just endured. It underscores both Hanks’ amazing acting talent and director Paul Greengrass’s ability to turn his extraordinary rendering of realism on its side and look […]

Machete Kills: Interview with Danny Trejo, Alexa Vega, Robert Rodriguez

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The word Grindhouse is synonymous with director, writer, producer, editor and musician Robert Rodriguez. In anticipation for his upcoming film Machete Kills, we got a chance to sit down with the legend himself, alongside Machete (Danny Treho) and beloved spy kid Alexa Vega. Machete Kills picks up where the original Machete left off. Our protagonist is […]

Review: Gravity

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A magician masquerading as a filmmaker, Alfonso Cuaron delivers a fim experience that shakes our senses while it wows our sensibilities. Suspense hangs in nearly every frame of the tight 90-minute Gravity, one of the rare films that is a must-see in 3-D. Space travel serves as the ultimate backdrop for not only physical survival […]

Review: Evil Dead the Musical (Prince Music Theater)

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If you take Evil Dead and inject Little Shop of Horrors, gallons of blood, and enough inappropriate jokes to make your mom pass out you get Evil Dead the Musical. (EDTM) This isn’t Wicked. Right from the start you get this sense that EDTM isn’t your typical sing and dance production. EDTM proves right from […]

Review: Baggage Claim

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In an era when Tyler Perry has reigned supreme in capturing the “black audience” for the past decade in film (and television), seeing films with a predominately black cast has become a crapshoot.  Fortunately more directors have begun to create projects targeted specifically to a black audience, and thus providing options outside of the Madea […]

Review: Enough Said

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Its “female Woody Allen” critical trappings notwithstanding, the well-written Enough Said leans heavily on the bulk-sized talents of the late James Gandolfini. He’s the very oxygen of this film, whose timbre and wit surpass the previous, not inconsiderable, films of Nicole Holofcener. Bittersweet is the realzation that two of Gandolfini’s final film characters envelop a […]

Review: Don Jon

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Yes, In Don Jon, Joseph Gordon-Levitt gets a greater charge out of solo sex with internet porn than the real thing with luscious Scarlett Johansson. He’s got a real problem. Don Jon more than adequately handles the dilemma with bracing humor, and, to keep things honest, with a pathos that, although kept simple, avoids simplemindedness. […]

Review: Prisoners

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Bringing to mind vintage David Fincher (Seven, Zodiac), Denis Villeneuve tampers wit the formula of the police procedural, elevating it to the highly original. Dense enough to favor complexity over simple solutions, Prisoners will keep you guessing while invoking a character-driven sense of gloom and foreboding. Two young girls disappear while their families are sharing […]