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Archive for July, 2014

Lucy Thinks You’re Stupid


lucymxdwn1Let’s be honest. The structure of a movie plot often follows the same outline. Occasionally filmmakers will play with the timeline (Irréversible; Two for the Road) or create something experimental (Stanley Kubrick’s filmography). Since the formula often repeats, viewers can guess where things are going and discern the cause and effect relationship of scenes. That being said, there is usually an unwritten agreement between filmmaker and viewer stating that the film will give clues, but it is up to the audience to find them and solve the puzzle.

Lucy is not that type of movie. Luc Besson’s attempt at answering life’s most meaningful questions is an exposé on the concept of “hear dog, see dog” and an opportunity to give a huge middle finger to clues. Continue reading

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Short Term 12 Demands (And Commands) Your Attention


short121Imagine starting a new job at a foster care facility for at-risk children. On your first day you meet your coworkers and hear some of their stories. One colleague gleefully recounts his embarrassing story of an unfortunate combination of his own bowel trouble and a child that broke free from the compound. Suddenly, a screaming boy bolts from the building behind you.

Your storyteller and his seasoned colleague begrudgingly put their coffee down and tell you to follow. The three of you chase down the maniacal boy and restrain him on the ground until his feverish screaming subsides. When your storyteller’s breathing regulates, he finishes the tale of pants-soiling shame as if nothing extraordinary had just occurred.

This is the magnetic opening scene of Short Term 12, the beautiful, gut-wrenching story of broken kids and previously broken adults trying to come to terms with their pasts. Continue reading

The Place Beyond the Pines Shows Good Movies Can Be Forgettable


pines 1From the first trailer for The Place Beyond the Pines, it was clear the marketing team decided to utilize Ryan Gosling’s star power as a main attraction. And really, who can blame them? At that point in 2012, Gosling was riding high after a string of high profile performances in Blue Valentine (review here), Drive, Crazy, Stupid, Love and The Ides of March (review here). The problem, however, is that Ryan Gosling is hardly in Pines. Continue reading

We Need To Talk About Kevin…And Much More


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For tragic, violent events, American news outlets typically focus on the event itself, before delving into the character of the perpetrator. The aftermath is rarely shown or discussed in terms of who feels the effects. Similarly, the lead up gets the cursory glance before focusing on what caused it—outside the people in question—and how to prevent it in the future.

We Need to Talk About Kevin, based on a 2003 novel, simultaneously discusses the beforehand through the struggles of motherhood and the aftermath with how the family and town are changed. Tilda Swinton stars as Eva, a skittish woman with a tenuous hold on her sanity in the present day after her son, Kevin, terrorized her and his school two years prior. Continue reading

Finding Carter Needs A New Home


Quick Note: be sure to follow me on Twitter here because I plan on doing #TwitterReviews for movies and shows that don’t get the full write-up treatment!

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It’s a nature versus nurture example for the ages. A young girl is told the mother she knows and loves is actually her kidnapper. Upon returning to what is her biological family, which includes a mother, father, twin sister and a younger brother, the girl has trouble adapting because she was happy with her former situation. Does biological loyalty overtake emotional familiarity?

This is the premise for MTV’s new show Finding Carter. Carter (Kathryn Prescott, who looks a bit like Arya Stark in seven years) is abruptly informed of the false life she had been living. The mother she had known abducted her thirteen years prior and now, her biological mother, Elizabeth Wilson (Cynthia Watros from Titus and The Drew Carey Show), brings the teenager home. Continue reading

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