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Review: Savages, 2012, dir. Oliver Stone

Review: Savages, 2012, dir. Oliver Stone


The central metaphor behind Savages‘ title doesn’t play at being elusive; its dual meanings are front and center in the first act. In the conflict between independent marijuana growers Ben (Aaron Johnson) and Chon (Taylor Kitsch), and the ruthless Baja Cartel, both sides see one another as– surprise of surprises– savages, and the longer their … Continue reading

Review: Brave, 2012, dir. Mark Andrews & Brenda Chapman

Review: Brave, 2012, dir. Mark Andrews & Brenda Chapman


​It’s no secret that I’ve been eagerly awaiting ​the release of ​Brave​ since 2009 (back when it still bore the superior title of ​The Bear and the Bow​); it hits theaters today, and it turns out there’s bad news and good news. The bad news about Brave is that it’s lesser Pixar. The good news is that lesser Pixar is still magical, transporting, and beautiful. Continue reading

Review: The Avengers, 2012, dir. Joss Whedon

Review: The Avengers, 2012, dir. Joss Whedon


The Avengers didn’t have to do much to impress me. Being as honest as possible, Joss Whedon’s attempt at making a respectable entrance into the 2012 summer season with the capstone picture of Marvel Studios’ long-gestating superhero bonanza just needed to be tolerable to get a pass from me. Put bluntly, C-level material alone would … Continue reading

Review: The Five-Year Engagement, 2012, dir. Nicholas Stoller

Review: The Five-Year Engagement, 2012, dir. Nicholas Stoller


  There’s a near-fatal overload of ideas bouncing around in the hulking frame of Nick Stoller’s The Five-Year Engagement, his follow-up to 2010’s Get Him to the Greek. Primarily a comedy, the film examines not simply marriage—as the title dictates—but the reversing and alteration of gender roles in modern relationships, which I admit sounds high-minded … Continue reading

Review: Take Shelter, 2011, dir. Jeff Nichols

Review: Take Shelter, 2011, dir. Jeff Nichols


Part of me wants to classify Jeff Nichols’ sophomore effort at least partially as horror. Not in the exploitative slashing sense, of course, but more in the vein of Polanski or Friedkin. The aptly dubbed Take Shelter blends highbrow artistic filmmaking and storytelling with moments of utterly numbing terror– apocalyptic visions revolving around monstrous storms … Continue reading

Review: The Innkeepers, 2012, dir. Ti West

Review: The Innkeepers, 2012, dir. Ti West


Categorizing Ti West’s The Innkeepers accurately seems tricky at a glance; is it a horror film with comedy elements, or the other way around? Invariably, the film falls under the horror umbrella without much debate but its blend of scares, charm and laughter makes it a genre standout among more recent haunted house fare. Dread … Continue reading

Review: Kill List, 2012, dir. Ben Wheatley

Review: Kill List, 2012, dir. Ben Wheatley


Kill List‘s very nature makes it an incredibly difficult film to review properly. In point of fact, it’s the sort of film in which any foreknowledge of its events beyond the barest of essentials nickel and dimes you, robbing you piece by piece of its overall impact. Trailers and posters only hint at its secrets, … Continue reading

Review: Bellflower, 2011, dir. Evan Glodell

Review: Bellflower, 2011, dir. Evan Glodell


Flamethrowers, precarious romance, badass muscle cars, and directionless, angry young men make for a potentially cataclysmic cocktail. So goes the narrative of Evan Glodell’s Bellflower, a tale of love and apocalypse and slackerdom and possibly the most aesthetically unique film of the year. Glodell, who not only directed the film but also wrote the script … Continue reading

Review: Hanna, 2011, dir. Joe Wright

Review: Hanna, 2011, dir. Joe Wright


Hanna makes a sound argument that action movies need not be artless, though maybe when the person at the helm is Joe Wright the final outcome can only inevitably attain a level of artfulness worth observing. Wright is responsible for 2007’s Atonement, a strikingly beautiful film that remains mostly empty despite its impressive craftsmanship; where … Continue reading

Review: Hunger, 2008, dir. Steve McQueen

Review: Hunger, 2008, dir. Steve McQueen


We live in an odd world where the Lars Von Triers and Gaspar Noes come under degrees of attack for the overt depictions of violence and anti-humanity portrayed in their pictures while Steve McQueen receives almost universal praise for offering imagery that’s no less brutal and discomforting. This isn’t, by the way, an attack on … Continue reading