Running the Gammatar January 31

Shorts Spotlight: Running the Gammatar

In Joe Kramer’s witty comedy, the sight of a giant fire breathing Japanese monster, Gammatar, destroying the city is the least of Stan’s problems. A self-centered man in his twenties, Stan (played by Kramer) cannot seem to find the right time to break things off with his girlfriend June (Jessica Bernard), who has recently been […]

A most violent year January 30

A Most Violent Year

In J.C. Chandor’s methodically tense crime drama, A Most Violent Year, the American Dream is ripe for the taking for those who have the fortitude to reach into murky waters and pull it out. Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) is the prototypical self-made man who has worked his way from driving trucks to be being the […]

The Great Outdoors 2 January 29

80’s Library: The Great Outdoors

Waking up to frigid temperatures of minus 15-degrees has made me long for summer.  As I drive to work in darkness with gloves on my hands and a scarf around my neck, I think about warm breezes, sunshine and sandals.  I think about summertime and the great outdoors.  The Great Outdoors!  The classic 80`s movie […]

Blackhat January 28

Blackhat

As news of cyber-terrorism has become more prominent in public eye following the Sony hacking scandal, the timing of Michael Mann’s 11th (13th if you count his 2 TV films) feature-length film, Blackhat, could not be more perfect. The film revolves around a cyber-terrorist attack on a Chinese nuclear power plant. Leading the investigation for […]

Spellbound1 January 27

Blind Spot: Spellbound

By all accounts Spellbound features the ingredients needed to make a tasty Hitchcockian stew. There is a central murder mystery, a turbulent romance, iconic visuals and characters hiding dangerous secrets. Unfortunately, despite some inventive moments of spice, the combination of this dish is both overcooked and surprisingly bland. The film often feels at odds with […]

Gladiator January 26

Talking 2000 Oscars on The Dew Over

Nominated for a whopping 12 Academy Awards, Ridley Scott’s Gladiator was a force to be reckoned with at the 2000 Oscars. Was the action film truly the top film of the year? Or did director Steven Soderbergh merely knock himself out of the equation by having two films (Traffic and Erin Brockovich) in the running […]

Mortdecai January 25

Mortdecai

Charlie Mortdecai (Johnny Depp) is an art dealer of questionable stock who dabbles in the shadier side of the business. In financial difficulty with the British Government, due to unpaid taxes, Mortdecai has been reduced to, unsuccessfully mind you, brokering deals with long time rival Fang Fat (Junix Inocian). When not tussling with his Asian […]

Inherent Vice1 January 24

Inherent Vice

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice is a strange mystery-comedy based on the novel of the same name by Thomas Pynchon. Set in 1970 Los Angeles, the film follows a hippie private detective named Larry “Doc” Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) on a series of misadventures. Sportello’s latest job involves helping an ex-girlfriend, Shasta Fay Hepworth […]

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night1 January 23

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

There is a sense of empowerment, and undeniable cool, which pulsates within the veins of Ana Lily Amirpour’s debut film. Similar to the unnamed girl at its core, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night refuses to be defined by, or adhere to, typical conventions. Even labeling the film an “Iranian vampire western” feels too […]

Why Don't You Play in Hell January 22

Why Don’t You Play in Hell?

In Sion Sono’s gloriously madcap ode to filmmaking, Why Don’t You Play in Hell?, the concept of artists sacrificing it all for the sake of great art is taken to a whole new hilarious level of lunacy. The film opens with a jubilant toothpaste commercial featuring a young girl singing. The next time the audience […]

benedict-cumberbatch January 21

The Nominee: Benedict Cumberbatch

With awards season well underway, I thought it would be fun to write about the careers of award nominated actors and actresses, past and present, in a new feature called “The Nominee.”   And the first feature goes to: Benedict Cumberbatch. I have to admit that before The Fifth Estate, I hadn’t heard much about Benedict […]

manos-sucias January 20

Toronto Black Film Festival (TBFF) Announces Line-up

First Impression The Toronto Black Film Festival (TBFF) announced today the programming line-up for the 3rd edition of the festival, presented by Global News, running from February 10th – 15th. Coinciding with Black History Month, the TBFF is proud to host another year celebrating diversity within the black communities through powerful films, a community program, […]

Mann-thief 2 January 20

Neon Nights: The Films of Michael Mann at TIFF Bell Lightbox

As Michael Mann’s Blackhat made its premiere this past weekend, TIFF looks back at the big-screen oeuvre of the crime-film auteur, which brought a grit and elegance to action cinema that has influenced nearly every police-procedural show on North American television, as well as successive waves of crime thrillers from Hong Kong and Korea. Drawing […]

the-guest2 January 19

The Guest

Filmmaker Adam Wingard began his career making so-called “mumblegore” films in the low-budget, naturalistic vein as his frequent collaborator Joe Swanberg, but 2011’s You’re Next saw him adapt a unabashedly “retro” and less lo-fi style similar to that of colleague Ti West. Wingard’s latest effort, The Guest, continues in the same direction. The Peterson family are struggling […]

Top Five January 18

Top Five

There is a hilarious scene in Chris Rock’s latest directorial effort, Top Five, where Andre Allen (played by Rock) lays naked quivering in a hotel bed surrounded by, to put it tactfully, the excessive remnants of another man stealing his thunder. This is easily one of the film’s crudest moments, but also one of its […]

The Dark Knight January 17

Posthumous Films of the Late and the Great

Hollywood has bid adieu to many beloved actors far too soon.  The sudden passing of actors like Heath Ledger, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Robin Williams have left a deep void in the movie industry that can never be filled.  Post-production work and scheduling have resulted in films that were finished before an actor’s death to […]

American Sniper January 16

American Sniper

Journalist Chris Hedges wrote in his 2002 novel War is the Force that Give Us Meaning that “the rush of battle is a potent and often lethal addiction, for war is a drug, one I ingested for many years.” A truncated version of this quote was immortalized in Kathryn Bigelow’s Academy Award winning film The […]

55e23-oscars January 15

The 87th Academy Awards Nominations

The 87th Academy Awards nominations were announced this morning! What are your thoughts on the nominees? Which ones surprised you? How many of the nominated films do you still need to see? Some of the pleasant surprises for me included nominations for both Me and My Moulton and Butterlamp in the shorts categories. As for […]

Bill Cunningham New York_1 January 14

Netflix Pick: Bill Cunningham New York

It’s a challenge to wrap your mind around the singular focus of Bill Cunningham. The longtime New York Times fashion photographer spends his days shooting everyday people on the streets of the city. He stands at intersections with his camera and scans the crowds to find interesting looks. A Schwinn bike (his 29th) is his […]

Selma January 13

Selma

A man on horseback emerges out of the dense fog like a hunter who has spotted his prey. Unraveling the whip in his hand, he strikes down one of the terrified individuals running away in fear. It is easy to imagine this scenario playing out in a traditional slave narrative, but this is Selma, Alabama […]

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