Jan 22 2011

The Mechanic (1972)

Though it lacks some hard-hitting, Bronson-approved violence, it is oddly thought provoking. 3 out of 4

Charles Bronson and director Michael Winner are most famous for their work on the Death Wish series, which set the tone for shoot ‘em up revenge movies for years to come.  The Mechanic, in which Bronson plays a hit man for a criminal organization, may carry similar bang-bang expectations, but many will be surprised that the film is a bit slower and more clever than anything the two did in Death Wish.

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Jan 7 2011

Black Swan

Dark, infectious, and one hell of a ride. One of the year's best. Deal with it. 4/4

Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan is something of a hallucinogenic fairy tale about madness, transformation, and the ballet.  Being an Aronofsky film, however, the film is less sweet and fluffy, and more akin to the Brothers Grimm style: dark, creepy, and grotesque.

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Dec 1 2010

William S. Burroughs: A Man Within

Ambitious, but unfocused. 2.5 out of 4 stars.

How does one even begin to describe the living conundrum that was William S. Burroughs?   Writer, artist, cat lover, homosexual, junkie, gun enthusiast, godfather of punk rock, yet he never really fit into those molds either.  William S. Buroughs: A Man Within attempts to answer these questions, and although it offers an insight into who Burroughs was, it focuses too much time on the legend and less on the man himself.

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Nov 17 2010


One of the most natural and engaging documentaries I've seen. 3.5 out of 4

It is interesting that Catfish be released soon after The Social Network, as both films present some insightful portrayals of the Facebook generation.  While Social Network traced Facebook’s less-than humble beginnings, Catfish captures a real piece of the culture that followed soon after.

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Oct 12 2010

The Social Network

This year has been a bad year for movies.  Yes there have been highlights; Inception and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World were great, and there’s about five others that were really good watchable movies, but beyond that the competition drops off really quickly.  Luckily, as we’ve exited one of the worst summers for film I can remember, we’ve begun to get back to the season where studios have deemed it is acceptable to release “good” movies.  While not quite Oscar season, we still have been treated to what some say will be an Oscar contender in The Social Network, the new David Fincher film written by Aaron Sorkin and based on the story of the creation of the ubiquitous facebook.

Let’s get this straight.  This is not really “the facebook movie.”  When I say that, what I mean is that despite its name, it’s not really about facebook at all.  To its great benefit, this film is about people, specifically a small number of characters, their friendship, and the way it was affected by greed, pride, and betrayal.  It takes the backdrop of an important event in recent history and uses it to feature universal human truths and emotions  in a way that every audience member should be able to relate to, not just the people of the “facebook generation” for which I unfortunately must count myself a part of.  facebook’s effect on the world and the way we communicate is only dealt with tangentially, as in moments when characters declare that “facebook me” became a common phrase across the Harvard campus. Continue reading

Jul 21 2010

Living in Oblivion

As sharp and perfectly executed as they come. 4/4.

Tom DiCillo’s Living in Oblivion is a labor love about a labor love.  Making a film, especially an independent film, isn’t easy.  With all the various problems that collide with one another on set, it’s a miracle anything ever gets finished.  It’s no wonder that everyone in the film industry is borderline, if not certifiably insane.

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Jun 30 2010

Midnight Run

Comedy was one of my favorite genres growing up, and alongside action films, this constituted a great portion of my viewing.  I love a good comedy film, but once again I’ll repeat, I love a good comedy film.  I feel like only two or three of the comedies per year really pan out for me, but for a long time I loved going back to older comedies, finding it easy to appreciate them despite their “datedness” that I’ve heard complaints of from others.  Unfortunately, when it comes to the selection at your local Blockbuster, I feel like I’ve literally run through all the good comedies.  In fact, I’ve run through so many comedies that even the films I’ve seen recommended in various places that have shot to the top of my Blockbuster queue are starting to bore me.  Such was not the case with the most recent of these selections, Midnight Run, starring Robert DeNiro and the highly underrated straight man Charles Grodin. Continue reading

Jun 23 2010

Naked Lunch

A bit disjointed now and then, but absolutely fascinating and well done. 3/4

“Writing,” William Lee (Peter Weller) says, “is a dangerous thing.”  I imagine he says this because writing is an act of introspection, and if you’re anything like Lee, what lies beneath is a surrealistic, Beat nightmare that is as fascinating as it is insatiably weird.

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Jun 16 2010

The Descent

In the past, horror has been a genre I wasn’t fond of.  It just wasn’t a set of films I really had much desire to pursue.  But as I’ve begun to run out of truly great films in some of the other genres, I found that the gaps in my viewing such as horror and foreign films were able to provide me the most enjoyable new watching experiences.  This is primarily because I had previously avoided some classics.  The discovery of films like The Thing, The Mist, and Let the Right One In have been some of my favorites of the last couple years.  So when I heard The Descent often placed alongside these other movies in respected critics’ favorite foreign films, I knew I had to check it out. Continue reading

Jun 8 2010

Toy Story 3

Pixar does it AGAIN. 4/4

Just when I think I’ve outgrown Pixar films, they go and release a film like Toy Story 3.

The best cartoons are the ones that are made for kids, yet have something for the adults to enjoy, whether it’s a few well-disguised jokes that go past the kids’ heads, fascinating animation, or just good old-fashioned nostalgia.  It’s in this way that Pixar is the sneakiest of film companies: they don’t make cartoons, they make real films.  They just happen to be animated.

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