#SXSW Quickie: JOE

Posted by on Mar 18, 2014 in im, Quickie | 0 comments

Joe — **** SXSW Quickie Review An ex-con with serious anger issues befriends a young homeless kid whose alcoholic father endangers the lives of the whole family. This Southern Gothic drama starring Nicolas Cage in the title role is a return to form for director David Gordon Green, who as of late hasn’t created anything at the level of his early works George Washington, All the Real Girls and Undertow. Thankfully, this movie is as good as, and maybe even better than, anything David Gordon Green made at the dawn of his directing career. Because of that, Joe isn’t the easiest film to watch and has shocking moments of male aggression that can make even the most unaffected audience member skittish. It sits somewhere in between Mud and Killer Joe on the spectrum of dark tales from the south....

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#SXSW Quickie: WETLANDS

Posted by on Mar 8, 2014 in im, Quickie | 0 comments

Wetlands (2014) — ** Quickie Review While recovering in hospital from an anal fissure caused by a shaving accident, 18-year-old Helen reflects on her sexual escapades, recreational drug usage and dysfunctional family. This adaptation of Charlotte Roche’s autobiographical novel seems strong at the start until you slowly learn just how conventional the whole thing—both the filmmaking and the story—really are. The taboos touched upon aren’t all that taboo for anyone with Internet access. And while I wanted the film to have the subversive energy of John Waters or David Wain, all I got was a dramedy that, by the end, takes all the fun out of anal bleeding. Directed by David Wnendt and starring Carla Juri as...

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Quickie Review: SAVING MR. BANKS

Posted by on Dec 23, 2013 in Quickie | 0 comments

Saving Mr. Banks (2013) — *** Quickie Review Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) courts Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) in an attempt to obtain the movie rights to her beloved book. But Poppins means much more to Travers than just a chance to make quick cash and she won’t give her characters over to that “silly” Disney that easily. Conventional in the very best sense of the word, this behind-the-scenes drama about the making of Mary Poppins is full of just enough saccharine sentimentalism to get the heart pumping. It’s a film that will, as it did in my screening, make grown men cry. Emma Thompson is outstanding as Travers, as she deals with her own personal demons while reviewing Disney’s pre-production efforts at his Los Angeles studio. The supporting cast, including the eve-amazing Tom Hanks and a...

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Quickie Review: AMERICAN HUSTLE

Posted by on Dec 22, 2013 in Quickie | 5 comments

American Hustle (2013) –**½ Quickie Review A con man and his equally talented mistress are forced to help an FBI agent entrap politicians and mobsters after being caught in a sting. David O. Russell’s crime comedy pulls punch after punch as it tries to figure out if it wants to be a Martin Scorsese picture or a Coen brothers one. The overarching narrative is meandering at best, and like his previous efforts, you feel like you’re laughing at characters who are too caught up in themselves to recognize their being made fun of. It’s just mean, while the story’s innate darkness is ignored in order to con people into believing it’s got heart. A period crime film like this one should barrel forward, but instead we only get moments of explosiveness, most notably Jennifer Lawrence’s outstanding performance as the...

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Quickie Review: SHORT TERM 12

Posted by on Sep 15, 2013 in Quickie | 0 comments

Short Term 12 (2013) — **** Quickie Review A counselor at a group home for abused and abandoned youth must confront the demons of her past when a girl from a similar background joins the community. This small wonder is indie filmmaking at its finest. Director Destin Cretton tells Grace’s story with an extraordinary intimacy thanks to the film’s modest scale. But there are still flourishes of great filmmaking that underscore the big drama. As Grace, Brie Larson gives a delicate and vulnerable performance that will bring you to tears of both grief and relief. It’s beautiful acting in this tiny film deserving of a huge audience. Short Term 12, written and directed by Destin Cretton and starring Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr., Kaitlyn Dever and Rami Malek, is in theaters...

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Quickie: PACIFIC RIM (2013)

Posted by on Jul 14, 2013 in Quickie | 4 comments

Pacific Rim – ***1/2 Quickie Review Giant monsters known as kaiju begin to invade our world through a portal deep in the Pacific Ocean and giant, human-piloted robot jaegers are dispatched to fight them. But when the jaeger program is dissolved, a rogue military leader and the few remaining pilots attempt one last assault on the portal to stop the kaiju invasion forever. Director Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim is blockbuster storytelling at its finest. This giant monsters versus giant robots movie is the kind of summer popcorn flick we wished Transformers was and then some. With action scenes that aren’t just sensory assaults but spectacularly choreographed effects sequences, del Toro and company deliver a visual wonder that earns every second of our attention. Combine that with the director’s imaginative eye and his dark, quirky humor, and you get...

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