Movie Review

Birdman with Josh and Søren

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Josh’s Review Birdman comes close to greatness. Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki’s execution of the long take is so successful it almost makes me forget about everything else in the film. I love how it moves from supposed fantasy to supposed reality without cuts, removing the objectivity that comes with a shot change. Watching fantasy elements shift into reality within a […]

Movie Review

Pasolini [London Film Festival ’14]

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Pier Paolo Pasolini’s last film was the infamous, and largely banned, Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom. The controversial 1975 picture sees four Italian libertines in the last throngs of Mussolini’s fascist wartime regime. They kidnap eighteen youthful, attractive men and woman whom they sexually abuse and torment. The degraded youths meet a horrific demise as they’re branded, hanged and […]

Movie Review

The Boxtrolls

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When the first trailer for The Boxtrolls came out, it seemed pretty progressive. The trailer touts the idea that parents come in all shapes, sizes and forms (and yes, sometimes boxes). It intimates that not all families include a mother and a father. I was excited. The Boxtrolls is based on Alan Snow’s kids novel, Here Be Monsters! It follows […]

Movie Review

The Signal

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The Signal irritated me. I saw the film over three months ago, and time has not been kind to my impression of it. If I recall correctly, I left the theater this past June feeling slightly more positive than indifferent about this particular hodgepodge of sights and sounds. How things change. Here’s what I’ve learned in the last three […]

Movie Review

Lucy

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“The average person uses 10% of their brain capacity. Imagine what she could do with 100%.” That was the tagline seen on the posters for Lucy. It’s useless harp on the fact that this ” 10%” theory is absolutely untrue. What matters is that this myth well-known and widespread, and so captured the imagination of Luc Besson’s potential audience. Unfortunately, […]

Movie Review

Magic in the Moonlight

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Amidst his sardonic ramblings, protagonist Stanley proudly exclaims, “When the heart rules the head, disaster follows.” What an apt description of Magic in the Moonlight. Woody Allen’s latest is a study in inauthenticity. Stanley (Colin Firth) is a white man whose job it is to convince audiences he is an Asian mystic. In his spare time, he travels […]

Movie Review

Boyhood

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Two children stare through the window as their parents argue just outside. The yelling is muffled and indistinct; vague words phase in and out of earshot as adult voices rise and fall. This whole scene is an exercise in good filmmaking. Innocent faces watch curiously as their parents exchange heated emotion. The window blocks out the argument but allows the kids to see their […]

Movie Review

Palo Alto

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Artists fear an indifferent audience. But the middle of the road is also the most deplorable position for a critic to be in. It is far easier to shrewdly and bluntly tear a work apart based on its sheer lack of merit. Yet Palo Alto, from writer-director Gia Coppola, does have its merits. It simply fails to build […]

Movie Review

Kill Your Darlings

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Destruction is necessary for creation. Art comes at a price. This is the lesson of debut director John Krokidas’ Kill Your Darlings, which takes Faulkner’s philosophy of artistic ruthlessness to a murderous extreme. The title of Kill Your Darlings comes from a famous piece of writing advice from William Faulkner, advising writers to “kill your darlings,” to mercilessly […]

Movie Review

300: Rise of an Empire

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Zack Snyder’s 300 moved me. The film has fallen prey to biting parody in recent years, but I knew then that 300 was one of the era’s great cinematic experiences. Movies like that demand to be seen on the big screen. Like both The Matrix and Gravity, 300 was a masterpiece of visual splendor. And it was […]

Movie Review

American Hustle

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American Hustle opens with a balding, rotund, middle-aged man distastefully gluing a toupée to his head. You can taste the plaster fumes as little rivulets drip down his scalp. Then he takes his remaining strands of hair and pulls them over the furry piece now attached to his skin. The scene is uncomfortable, synthetic, difficult […]

Movie Review

Inside Llewyn Davis

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Llewyn Davis is kind of a prick. He’s an immensely talented folk singer, but he’s selfish. He doesn’t seem to care about anyone but himself. Yet, I enjoyed spending time with Llewyn. In his own self-involved kind of way, his story rings true. We all know someone like him: a friend with all the potential […]

Movie Review

Austenland

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Austenland is sort of the latest adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I say “sort of” because it’s actually based on Shannon Hale’s novel Austenland, which was inspired by the 1995 film version of Pride and Prejudice, which was itself adapted from Austen’s actual novel. After being dragged through a book, a movie, another book, […]

Movie Review

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

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It has been a long time since Jim Carrey has been funny. For the past decade or so, the iconic 90s comedy superstar has been stretching the limits of his acting ability with critical darlings Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and I Love You, Philip Morris. Meanwhile, films like Fun With Dick and Jane, while […]

Movie Review

Elza (Le bonheur d’Elza)

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Directed and co-written by Mariette Monpierre, Elza (also known as Le bounheur d’Elza) is notable for being the first narrative film by a female Guadeloupean director. The film is a semi-autobiographical independent drama about a young French woman and her search to find her estranged father in Guadaloupe. However, despite the promise of a highly personal, beautifully shot […]

Movie Review

Promised Land

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When I saw the first TV spots for Promised Land back in late November, I mostly ignored the actual content of the advertisement in favor of the text that ran right after the title. It looked like this: That list of names got me all hot and bothered. Notoriously hit-or-miss director Gus Van Sant (Good […]

Movie Review

The Big Picture

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“You can hide from your past, but you can never erase it.” With that simple tagline, it becomes clear that The Big Picture is a movie we’ve seen before: a successful man does something unspeakable, and spends a good deal of time trying to bury his transgression. It is unfortunate that director Eric Lartigau, who […]

Movie Review

Looper

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I feel it is only fair to warn you that there are very light spoilers for Looper in the review below. I have seen the movie and can assure you they are absolutely far from important given how complex the film is, but if you’re one of those people who wants to go into the movie completely fresh, I […]

Movie Review

Seven Psychopaths

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The McDonagh family has some serious talent. Both Martin, the writer/director of In Bruges, and his brother John Michael McDonagh, writer/director of The Guard, have produced two of the best dark comedies of the 21st century. Martin in particular feels in many ways like a subtler, more poignant Tarantino, combining morbid violence with ingenious dialogue and meaningful emotion. […]

Movie Review

To Rome with Love

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Coming off of his fourth Academy Award for the wonderful Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen attempts once again to catch that European lightning in a bottle with To Rome with Love. Unfortunately for him, comparisons to his last film are inevitable, making the fact that To Rome doesn’t measure up to the quality of the writing, story, dialogue, or […]

Movie Review

Another Earth

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On paper, Brit Marling’s Another Earth has an intriguing premise revolving around the possibility of another Earth-like planet suddenly appearing in our sky. This planet is easily within communication distance to our own home world, and the possibilities for a high-concept, low-budget sci-fi film seem endless. Sadly, the film merely implies a lot of squandered potential, a […]

Movie Review

Mystery Team

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I should start off this review by declaring my undying love for the comedy troupe that is Derrick. I have avidly followed all of their internet shorts, which are hysterical. I also caught, by chance, their impeccable last improv performance at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater in New York. As for their leader, Donald Glover, […]

Movie Review

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

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I was very excited coming out of the movie theater when I saw the first Sherlock Holmes starring the nearly-always likable Robert Downey, Jr. (Holmes) and Jude Law (Watson). Sure, the movie suffered from a lack of plot direction and overall muddled storyline, but I very much enjoyed the style of the film. While it […]

Movie Review

Hugo

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I must begin this review by dispelling one of the major misconceptions about this film: those of you who have been led to believe that Hugo is a “steampunk fantasy adventure” (as one friend described it) will be sorely disappointed. Hugo takes place almost exclusively inside a train station in Paris, France. Some amount of […]

Movie Review

The Dark Knight

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I cannot tell you how sorrowfully my hopes were dashed when I first saw The Dark Knight in theaters. Unfortunately, Nolan refuses to realize both the limitations of an audience’s attention span, and how much plot one can squeeze into one film. Christopher Nolan created what, as disparate elements, are absolutely amazing components of a […]

Movie Review

Watchmen with Tim and Søren (Archive)

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This is from the archives, back when Movie Fail was just two high school kids and a computer. In this segment, we review the movie Watchmen, directed by Zack Snyder and starring Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode. Tim’s Verdict: Movie Win Søren’s Verdict: Movie Win Score: 80% Note: This review is not indicative of the format of future […]