• OVERNIGHT_web_2

    Review: The Overnight

    Sunday, June 28, 2015

    Jason Schwartzman, fresh off a relentlessly acerbic performance as a misanthrope writer in Listen Up Philip goes intense again in The Overnight. Similarly, it’s not his fault this film about would-be swingers comes up limp. Schwartzman goes into overdrive with a gushing likability this time that is practically the flip side of his rotten-egg personality […]

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  • XXX EARL DYING GIRL MOV JY 5386 .JPG A ENT

    Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

    Friday, June 19, 2015

    In a recurring animated sequence in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, a moose suddenly appears and instantly tramples a small unidentified mammal. Symbolic of the school knockout’s treatment of the film’s lead character Greg (Thomas Mann), the sequence sets the tone for this quirky, steadfastly unsentimental film about important stuff. It also reveals […]

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  • Jurassic World

    Review: Jurassic World

    Friday, June 12, 2015

    Director Colin Trevorrow, fresh off the delightful, small-budget ($750,000) Safety Not Guaranteed, steps up to the $150,000 million Jurassic World. To quote some street jargon, Trevorrow’s not playing. The first flat-out summer blockbuster, Trevorrow’s film knows when to go hard and when to tread lightly. In the spirit of executive producer Steven Spielberg, Trevorrow’s screenplay […]

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  • survivor-host-jeff-probst

    Could Netflix be the Right Spot for a Reality Renaissance?

    Wednesday, June 10, 2015

    I am a sucker for reality shows, especially competitive ones. There’s something about watching a group of people compete with the consistent threat of elimination that is captivating. One competitive reality show that I watch is Survivor; a show that has become emblematic of mega successful reality Juggernauts that dominated ratings in the early aughts. […]

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  • spy-1

    Review: Spy

    Sunday, June 7, 2015

    The low point of last year’s lousy Melissa McCarthy vehicle, Tammy, was when the film completely changed from shrill, unfunny comedy to banal bathos in one ludicrous scene. McCarthy mooing with co-star Mark Duplass looking down at Niagara Falls was enough to make you ill. It’s even worse than the scene where McCarthy holds up […]

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Apr
6

Review: Furious 7

Vin Diesel has stated that the latest installment in the Fast and Furious franchise, Furious 7, or as director James Wan wants it to be spelled, “Furious Seven,” was the hardest film he ever had to make due to the passing of Paul Walker.  Behind all of the puns, jokes, and ridiculousness of the stunts […]

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Apr
6

Welcome to the Dogpocalypse: White God–Review

White God is a film which goes out of its way to defy your expectations. Directed by Kornél Mundruczó, the film starts with a girl on a bike in a post-apocalyptic city: empty roads, cars with open doors, and a crushing silence. From around the corner come 200 dogs. The film jumps between genres a […]

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Mar
27

Review: Get Hard

Venemous comes to mind when attempting to describe this jittery new “buddy” comedy with Will Farrell and Kevin Hart. Followed closely by clueless. A stillborn yarn about a super-wealthy stuffed-shirt, James King (Farrell) who suddenly finds himself sentenced to time in prison, Get Hard is a barrage of hollow sketches sewn together with racism and […]

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Mar
13

Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella Offers a Fresh Take on a Classic

Let’s face it: practically nobody was asking for a live-action remake of one of Disney’s most iconic films, the 1950 classic Cinderella. Aside from Disney seeking out some easy money, there really wasn’t any reason to take such a beloved animated film and remake it as a live-action film with actors your children probably don’t […]

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Mar
13

Review: Wild Tales

Beginning with a chills-inducing Twilight Zone-esque vignette aboard an airliner and ending with the quintessential disrupted wedding reception, Wild Tales was a deserved Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Film. Superbly directed with a jaundiced eye by Argentinian Damian Szifron, its six separate stories share a penchant for the perverse side of human nature. Overflowing with […]

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Mar
9

Review: Buzzard

Marty Jackitansky is hardly a character who elicits empathy. I found his nihilism amusing but also wouldn’t have minded a bit if someone punched him in the face. To say he lacks ambition is to say Freddy Krueger lacks menace. Oh, by the way, there’s a running theme in Buzzard where Marty (Joshua Burge) not […]

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Feb
28

Sundance Shorts: Hotel 22

Hotel 22 documents the long nights of the many homeless people in Silicon Valley who use the 22 bus line between Palo Alto and San Jose for shelter. I sat down with director Elizabeth Lo, a graduate of NYU Tisch and current MFA student at Stanford University, to talk about documentaries and the parts of […]

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Feb
27

Review: Focus

It’s one thing to encounter a film with an imaginatively playful screenplay that takes occasional liberties with common sense. It’s quite another to have your intelligence insulted in a manner as blatant and as numbing as the new Will Smith movie, Focus. Just when we are asked to fall for one outrageous scenario, another one […]

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Feb
27

Review: The Last Five Years

The intermittently uplifting yet just as often pompous The Last Five Years contains hardly any spoken dialogue. Pleasantly containing several songs of depth and wit, the film struggles with the thinnest of storylines and its too-pleased-with-itself structure. Anna Kendrick, who is very good, presents her character Cathy’s story backwards from the film’s end, while Jeremy […]

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Feb
23

Review: Timbuktu

A woman vehemently refuses to put on gloves (recently required) while selling fish in an outdoor market. A group of young men play fake soccer (recently banned) as they run around with an imaginary soccer ball. A coed group of friends risk playing live music (also recently banned) despite a potentially stringent penalty. The scene? […]

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Feb
17

Review: Kingsman

Director Matthew Vaughan (Kick-Ass, Layer Cake) sends his fetish for over-the-top chuckles and mayhem into an orbit of mostly unfunny inanity in the spy-flick send-up Kingsman: The Secret Service. Colin Firth, typically prim and proper and even more properly dressed, makes a valiant attempt to save the material from the abject failure it might have […]

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Feb
13

Review: Leviathan

It’s no wonder Kolya (a memorable Alexey Serebryakov), the main character of Leviathan, swigs vodka like it’s water. After witnessing an arbitrary and stiff, motor-mouthed reading of a local court ruling against him, it is no wonder an individual like Kolya comes to feel isolated and utterly powerless. It is not just that the insolent, […]

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