Morris From America

Morris From America is a wonderful and heartfelt cross-cultural coming-of-age tale about an African-American boy trying to adapt in Germany. This hip-hop-infused rite of passage story would work well in a triple feature alongside other Sundance films like Dope and The Wackness.

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The Lure Review

When you’re at the Sundance Film Festival, there are a lot of tropes that you get used to. Estranged family, loved one dying of cancer, coming of age romance, and comedy actors looking to show that they can be dramatic too. But sometimes you get something absolutely bonkers that doesn’t have any of those things. That something is The Lure.

Hailing from Poland, the film from director Agnieszka Smoczynska is full of style, and it will undoubtedly be the best Polish rock musical with bloodthirsty sirens you’ll ever see, but that’s mostly because it’s the only one of its kind. Read on for The Lure review from Sundance. Read More »

Norman Lear Documentary

During a ceremony honoring legendary TV producer Norman Lear, comedian Amy Poehler says, “It’s hard to make people laugh, tackle big issues and get big ratings. That’s why no one does it anymore.” Indeed, in the relatively short history of television, no one has had as big of an impact on the medium as Norman Lear, the creator of classic shows such as All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Maude and more.

The documentary Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You dives into the life and career of this man who changed TV forever with those shows, and it makes for a surprisingly touching, charming and intimate profile. Read More »

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

When I first heard JJ Abrams was taking on the Star Wars franchise, I got excited. With his first Star Trek film, Abrams showed he could take an iconic and beloved franchise and transform it into something new and exciting, while still respecting its roots.

I think with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, he’s done the exact same thing again, except that the Star Wars franchise fits in even better with Abrams’ sensibilities. The Force Awakens is an exciting return to form for Star Wars. It extends the Skywalker saga while introducing some great new characters whose stories I think audiences will get really invested in. Hit the jump to see/read my spoiler-free video review of the film.
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new star wars image

On Monday night, I was very fortunate to attend the world premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in Hollywood. To say this film is highly anticipated for me is an understatement. This is without a doubt the most anticipated film of not just the year but of my lifetime. I’m a huge Star Wars fanatic, and I’m a big fan of JJ Abrams (warts and all), so my expectations were already higher than the buildings on Cloud City.

After the jump you can read my initial reaction to the film, completely free of spoilers of any kind. Did the film live up to my expectations? Find out in my Force Awakens spoiler free review.

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creed review

Creed is a very, very good movie… but it’s a perfect Rocky movie. Here is that familiar, tried and true template given a fresh coat of paint and lovingly restored by people who give a damn. If you’ve ever liked any of the films in this series, this spin-off is going to get your blood pumping and eyes leaking. It’s the movie you want.

However, the real miracle of Creed is that isn’t anything like the Rocky sequels. The follow-ups to the original masterpiece (which is one of the best movies ever made) took a turn for the ridiculous. They got silly and began to lean too hard on series star Sylvester Stallone‘s action hero persona. The warmth, the charm, and the honesty of the first film was resurrected for 2006’s Rocky Balboa, but it’s back in full force in Creed. This spin-off, which finds an aging Rocky training the son of the late Apollo Creed, is second only to the first movie, and that’s because it recognizes what the first movie did so right.

Like them or not (and Rocky III and Rocky IV do offer some absurd pleasures), the Rocky sequels feel like Saturday morning cartoon versions of a genuinely great movie. Creed does the impossible: it coexists with them while avoiding everything they did wrong.

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Concussion review

The last film we saw with director Peter Landesman‘s name on it was Kill the Messenger, which he scripted. That drama shares a lot in common with Landesman’s sophomore directorial effort, Concussion. Both follow real-life who heroes are simply trying to speak the truth, and yet are treated as villains. Kill the Messenger is the more successful of the two stories, though. Although Concussion is a well-meaning and an undeniably important film, it’s also a by-the-numbers, dramatically frustrating underdog story.

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The Big Short review

There is a real anger and sadness to The Big Short, and as wild and as funny as the movie is, the humor never makes light of or sugarcoats the 2008 financial crisis. The humor, if anything, heightens the drama and the pain we see in co-writer/director Adam McKay‘s (Step Brothers) uproarious dramedy.

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Carol Review

Director Todd Haynes often explores repressed desires and emotions. Velvet GoldmineFar from Heaven, and Haynes’ other pictures share themes of what people choose to hide from the world. The conflicts their characters face are always presented with sensitivity and thoughtfulness — a deep understanding of the pain or joy in their lives. Once again, with Carol, Haynes digs deep under the skin of his characters.

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