Archive | March, 2016

Everybody Wants Some!! Review

31 Mar


Everybody Wants Some!! is a free-flowing, testosterone-fueled display of college life. Booze is consumed, girls are admired, and country/punk/disco music is blasted as the last few days of summer wind down, and the guys on the baseball team are enjoying every second they have left before they have to sleep their way through classes again. Originally conceived of as covering the entire freshman year, the film narrows its scope to several days, yet still manages to encapsulate what feels like an entire college experience.

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Review

28 Mar


When I went to see this, there were six trailers that played beforehand, but I left the theater having seen another five or so during the actual movie itself. What this bloated, 150 minute slugfest seems to want to communicate is that other DC characters exist and that many movies can be constructed for them from the colossal burning carcass of a project that was Man of Steel. Get excited, because we have a big Marvel universe competitor on the market, led by the venerable Zack Snyder and his subtle hand. This is a man unscathed by his own dumpster fire of 2013, the rusty keys to the DC Universe in his hands as desperate studios throw money at his feet. This is a man unafraid to take the perfection that is Amy Adams and proceed to shit stupidity all over her storyline. This is a man who will doggedly pursue the best end product possible, even if it means sacrificing a coherent story and interesting characters and a competent editing job…you know, fluff like that.

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The Americans “Pastor Tim” Review (4×02)

23 Mar


“I’m not who I was.”

One of the strengths of a great show like The Americans is its ability to develop its characters, to constantly have past experiences in mind as it crafts their present day storylines. In the quote above, we see a Nina who has come to terms with who she used to be and who she is now, and because of that, we can look at her note smuggling decision in a new light. This is slightly different from Philip and Elizabeth, both of whom I feel are still struggling to work through any connections–or disconnects–between past and present. However, bit by bit, things are coming together for them even as everything seems to be unraveling. Overall, the show tends to find these quiet moments of connection among the chaos, and that’s why it resonates so much for me.

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Krisha Review

21 Mar

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Krisha could very easily be a cliche-ridden, self indulgent home video fest that prioritizes style over substance. Fortunately, it avoids that description at almost every turn, telling its story with a ferocious intensity and a real understanding of an addict’s world (which is understandable considering the actors themselves were involved with the true story the film is based on). There’s a heart-wrenching personal story under the stylized surface, and it rapidly takes form through Krisha Fairchild’s incredible leading performance; every scene of hers is fraught with conflict and tension and anxiety, her face speaking volumes about what may be concealed and what may be about to burst onto the surface. It’s a difficult role that Fairchild nails perfectly.

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Midnight Special Review

17 Mar


One of the treats of Midnight Special is its use of visual storytelling. The film takes its time in setting up its world and characters, letting images linger as mysteries swirl around in the twilight air. It’s about the journey more than the answers, and each development raises additional questions that Nichols is content to leave hanging. More important is his focus on the love a father has for his son, the love a mother has for her son, and the uniting belief in something greater, in something that inspires wonder and keeps us going. It’s this sense of science fiction wonder balanced out with the focus on family intimacy that drives the film, and this approach results in the evocative moments that Nichols-directed films can craft.

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The Americans “Glanders” Review (4×01)

16 Mar


“I guess you never really know a person, do you?”

Since the beginning, The Americans has tackled the idea of identity from all angles. Its premise is already a treasure trove for that particular theme, and over the last three seasons, it has built a complex web of lies and deceit, slowly unraveling it all in season three with several big revelations. “Glanders” turns the show’s focus inward, delving into internal struggles raging in the minds of Philip, Paige, and Martha. It’s a premiere that kicks off the season in style, and it previews a season that is sure to be one of the best on television this year.

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10 Cloverfield Lane Review

12 Mar

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Midway through 10 Cloverfield Lane, John Goodman’s Howard starts dancing along to music blaring from a jukebox, breaking the tension just enough to entertain you but not enough to take you out of the moment; in fact, it further envelops you in its grasp. Every humorous moment in this movie works in a similar manner, drawing on comedy to reveal even more sinister layers underneath. Throughout, the writers and actors have a rock solid handle on these shifts in tone, mood, character, and genre, and what results are genuinely unnerving and unexpected moments that add beautifully to the overall experience. Plot twists weave in and out of motivations and backstories with remarkably few hiccups, and the writers–featuring new Tension Master Damien Chazelle–demonstrate a knack for building a very specific atmosphere.

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Knight of Cups Review

5 Mar


I’m guessing that if I were to ask any Malick fan which of his films I should watch first, Knight of Cups would be near the bottom of everybody’s lists. But alas, this Malick newbie decided to dive headfirst into his filmography with his most recent work, a fascinating rejection of conventional film techniques outside of having a working camera. I know enough about the director to know that this isn’t something new for him, but it’s nonetheless a very interesting approach to filmmaking in general.

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