Showing Tag: " drama" (Show all posts)

REVIEW: Beauty And The Beast (2017) – A Star-Studded Cast With A Tale As Old As Time & A Song As Old As Rhyme

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Wednesday, March 22, 2017, In : 0.00% Water 
Beauty and the Beast
SoberFilmChick




Directed by: Bill Condon

Starring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen, and Emma Thompson


Disney is in the business of remakes.  As if the Marvel and Star Wars dynasties were not enough, the industry titan has decided to bring numerous cartoon classics to life.  In the last few years, Disney has released Cinderella and The Jungle Book to much success.   Live act...

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REVIEW: With the Persistent Love of An Ugly Woman, Martin Scorsese's Silence Is More Than A Formality of Faith for Two Padres in the Swamp of Japan

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, January 21, 2017, In : 0.00% Water 
Silence





Directed By: Martin Scorsese 

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Tadanobu Asano, Ciarán Hinds, and Liam Neeson


For just the second time in the 21st century, director Martin Scorsese has directed a live action film not starring his second muse Leonardo DiCaprio — his first being longtime collaborator Robert De Niro.  Gangs of New York, The Aviator, The Departed, Shutter Island, and Wolf of Wall Street all featured DiCaprio.  His latest feature Silence, however, follows in the foot...

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REVIEW: When NASA Faces A Go / No Go Decision for John Glenn & the Friendship 7, Hidden Figures Working As Colored Computers Save the Day

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, January 21, 2017, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Hidden Figures





Directed By: Theodore Melfi

Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, and Aldis Hodge


History is told by those who wield the pen or the mic.  What we often remember is what we're told to remember over and over again by those in a position to tell it.  This is particularly true when it comes to the contributions made by African-Americans that have been vital to the success of the United States.  From the free slave labor...

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REVIEW: Taking the Crookeds With the Straights, Troy Maxson Builds Fences From Mr. Death & His Hell Hounds

Posted by James Brown on Friday, December 30, 2016, In : 0.00% Water 
Fences





Directed By: Denzel Washington

Starring: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Jovan Adepo, Russell Hornsby, Mykelti Williamson, and Saniyya Sidney


"You got to take the crookeds with the straights."
-Troy Maxson (Denzel Washington)

The statement above is especially true when it comes to Denzel Washington's acting career as of late.  For every Flight with which we're enamored, we have to deal with a slate of films such as Safe House, 2 Guns, and The Equalizer.  There ar...

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REVIEW: From Boulder City & Chicken On a Stick To Paris and Seb's, The Jazz-Filled La La Land Is For the Fools Who Dream Season After Season

Posted by James Brown on Monday, December 19, 2016, In : 0.00% Water 
La La Land





Directed By: Damien Chazelle

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt, and J. K. Simmons


If there is such a thing as a liberal bubble, Hollywood is the absolute epitome of it.  There have been plenty of years where the film crowned best picture does not speak to the times in any way, shape, or form.  Just look to winners like No Country for Old Men, Birdman, and especially The Artist.  In two of these examples, it's clear that Hollywood has an affinity for mov...

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REVIEW: Embracing the Vanity of Camelot, Jackie Gives a Beautiful Tour of White House History

Posted by James Brown on Monday, December 19, 2016, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Jackie





Directed By: Pablo Larraín

Starring: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, and John Hurt


"Don’t ever let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was Camelot.  There will be great presidents again, but there will never be another Camelot.
-Jackie Kennedy

I've been pretty political in many of my recent reviews.  With all that's happening just a dozen or so miles away from me downtown that's tearing the moral fabric of these Uni...

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REVIEW: With Joe Chandler's Congestive Heart Failure, Janitor Lee & Nephew Patrick Need a New Motor to Take Manchester by the Sea

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, December 3, 2016, In : 0.00% Water 
Manchester by the Sea





Directed By: Kenneth Lonergan

Starring: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, Gretchen Mol, Lucas Hedges, and Matthew Broderick


We're starting to get a little deeper into awards season, and we're increasingly seeing studios bring out the big guns.  Enter Amazon Studios with Manchester by the Sea.  Incredibly lucky to have won the bidding on writer-director Kenneth Lonergan's latest feature instead of Nate Parker's directorial debut The Birth of a Nation at the Su...

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REVIEW: Loving Reminds Us That Caroline County Virginia Was Not Always for Lovers

Posted by James Brown on Thursday, November 24, 2016, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Loving





Directed By: Jeff Nichols

Starring: Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga, Nick Kroll, Michael Shannon, and Marton Csokas

"I miss him.  He took care of me."
-Mildred Jeter Loving

With Donald Trump busy building his Injustice League of racists, sexists, and other deplorables that will comprise his cabinet, I was in need of a reminder that two million people more said no to the politics of hate than those who foolishly said yes.  Loving presented that very opportunity.  The film centers on the developmen...

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REVIEW: A Nonzero Sum Game, Arrival Is All About Using the Weapon Language, the Cornerstone of Civilization

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, November 13, 2016, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Arrival





Directed By: Denis Villeneuve

Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Tzi Ma

It's been one hell of a week.  For the better part of it, I've been sleepless and sick to my stomach as I reflect on bizarre, hateful turn of political events.  It truly pains me to accept that Donald J. Trump will be moving into the White House toward the end of January.  It's absolutely befuddling.  America is speaking two languages, one of love and respect for our fellow ma...

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REVIEW: In Hacksaw Ridge, The Lord Helps Conscientious Objector Desmond "Corn Stalk" Doss Get One More

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, November 13, 2016, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Hacksaw Ridge





Directed By: Mel Gibson

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Teresa Palmer, Hugo Weaving, Rachel Griffiths, and Vince Vaughn


"Lord, please help me get one more."
-Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield)

In my five years writing for STMR, there's one prominent filmmaker whose movies I've not had the chance to review — the one and only Mel Gibson.  There's a good reason for it.  The Passion of the Christ director has maintained a pretty low standing in the court of public ...

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REVIEW: If It Bleeds, It Leads in the Sensational Television First Christine

Posted by James Brown on Friday, November 4, 2016, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Christine





Directed By: Antonio Campos

Starring: Rebecca Hall, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts, Maria Dizzia, J. Smith-Cameron, John Cullum, and Timothy Simons


I had the distinct pleasure of voting this past weekend.  As you can all probably guess, I'm voting to be able say Madam President by the time the next Commander-in-Chief is sworn into office in January.  I recognize that with all the chaos that is unfolding, there is a pretty large possibility that we could turn back the clock on the idea th...

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REVIEW: Biblical Black Preacher Nat Turner Leads The Birth of a Nation on a Bloody Righteous Path

Posted by James Brown on Monday, October 10, 2016, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
The Birth of a Nation





Directed By: Nate Parker

Starring: Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Aja Naomi King, Jackie Earle Haley, Penelope Ann Miller, and Gabrielle Union

With President Obama wrapping his historic tenure as the President of these United States and the recent unveiling of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, there are plenty of historic milestones around which I could open up this review.  With the enduring scars of racial injustices that are most prevalent in an ep...

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REVIEW: Chasing Jobs at Weekend Live, Members of The Commune Don't Think Twice While Doing Improv for America

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, August 27, 2016, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Don't Think Twice





Directed By: Mike Birbiglia

Starring: Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, Mike Birbiglia, Kate Micucci, Chris Gethard, and Tami Sagher


"Has anyone had a particularly hard day?"
-Samantha (Gillian Jacobs)

I can't say that I have upon reflecting on my screening of Mike Birbiglia's improv-themed comedy Don't Think Twice.  With the notable exceptions of Hello, My Name Is Doris and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, we haven't exactly had a glut of pure comedies or dramedies at the indie box ...

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REVIEW: Scarface's War Dogs Say The World Is Yours When 100 Million Rounds of AK-47 Are Crumbs for AEY

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, August 21, 2016, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
War Dogs





Directed By: Todd Phillips

Starring: Jonah Hill, Miles Teller, Ana de Armas, J. B. Blanc, Bradley Cooper, Barry Livingston, and Kevin Pollak


I have been in an odd mood as a moviegoer over the last few weeks.  I think the disappointing end to the summer movie season has left me in a rather sour disposition about the latest offerings at the box office.  I genuinely was not looking forward to War Dogs despite the fact that it's starring two of the premier talents of the last several years....

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REVIEW: Playing Carnegie Hall for True Music Lovers Despite Syphilis, Florence Foster Jenkins Sings Though She Can't Sing

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, August 21, 2016, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Florence Foster Jenkins





Directed By: Stephen Frears

Starring: Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, Simon Helberg, Rebecca Ferguson, and Nina Arianda


Director Stephen Frears has chosen some interesting stories to tell over the years, and he's worked with some great leading ladies over the years.  He directed Helen Mirren in her triumphant portrayal of living royalty in The Queen.  He guided Dame Judi Dench in her journey as an elderly mother retracing her long lost son's steps in Philomena.  This year, he g...

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REVIEW: Indignation Features Son of a Kosher Butcher & Atheist Marcus Messner Spurning Dean Caudwell & The Winesburg Chapel

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, August 13, 2016, In : 0.00% Water 
Indignation





Directed By: James Schamus

Starring: Logan Lerman, Sarah Gadon, Tracy Letts, Linda Emond, Danny Burstein, Ben Rosenfield, Pico Alexander, Philip Ettinger, and Noah Robbins

I'm really enjoying my return to independent film.  The timing couldn't have been better.  As the mainstream box office continues to largely disappoint, arthouse cinemas are here to pick up the pieces of aficionados' dashes hopes, as long as we're willing to indulge indie filmmakers' tendencies to experiment and di...

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REVIEW: Riding Steve On Noam Chomsky Day, Captain Fantastic Succeeds at Mission Rescue Moviegoers & Sticks It to the Man

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, August 6, 2016, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Captain Fantastic





Directed By: Matt Ross

Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Frank Langella, Kathryn Hahn, Ann Dowd, and Steve Zahn


I'll admit it.  I've been quiet on the indie front this summer.  With the exception of A Bigger Splash —which I just so happen to be overdue on reviewing— and perhaps The Lobster (if it can be loved), I haven't fallen in love with too many movies.  I also don't think our more artistic filmmakers have been speaking to the times in recent months.  With a pun intended given...

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REVIEW: Lovingly Short Sighted With Its Rabbit Bouquets, The Lobster Is One Horrific Sci-Fi Romance

Posted by James Brown on Tuesday, May 31, 2016, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
The Lobster





Directed By: Yorgos Lanthimos

Starring: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Jessica Barden, Olivia Colman, Ashley Jensen, Ariane Labed, Angeliki Papoulia, John C. Reilly, Léa Seydoux, Michael Smiley, and Ben Whishaw


Dystopian science fiction thrillers have been dominating the mainstream for the last several years.  The Hunger Games, Divergent, and The Maze Runner all serve as pertinent examples.  This hasn't held true to the same extent at the independent box office.  There are hidden gems...

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REVIEW: With Black Shoes & Duran Duran, Sing Street Lead Cosmo Solves The Happy Sad Riddle of the Model Raphina

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, April 24, 2016, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Sing Street





Directed By: John Carney

Starring: Lucy Boynton, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Aidan Gillen, Jack Reynor, Kelly Thornton, and Ferdia Walsh-Peelo


2016 has been a hard year for music aficionados of all genres.  We've lost a lot of legends this year.  The names are iconic to say the least.  David Bowie, Natalie Cole, Phife Dawg, Glenn Frey, Maurice White, and many others have transitioned to the next life in the last several months leaving legacies that will endure for years to come.  This weeke...

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REVIEW: An Otherworldly Movie With Plenty of Daylight, Midnight Special Might Just Make You Believe

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, April 10, 2016, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Midnight Special





Directed By: Jeff Nichols

Starring: Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver, Sam Shepard, and Jaeden Lieberher

Shotgun Stories.  Take Shelter.  Mud.  These films are all the product of a singular director-actor combination, that of visionary Jeff Nichols and his muse Michael Shannon.  The third time apparently wasn't the charm as the dynamic duo is back together again on the big screen with this weekend's Midnight Special.  For his fourth collaboration with Sh...

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REVIEW: Referring Up, Eye in the Sky Brings Down the Hellfire In Spite of the Rules of Engagement

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, March 19, 2016, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Eye in the Sky





Directed By: Gavin Hood

Starring: Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Alan Rickman, and Barkhad Abdi


There may never be another like the late great Alan Rickman.  He truly was a distinguished thespian whose every word was delivered in a savory, captivating manner on the big screen.  Whether you remember him as Hans Gruber, Sheriff George, Severus Snape, or any of the many other characters he's portrayed over the years, I pray you don't remember him for his final role as Blue Caterpillar in ...

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REVIEW: In the Kabubble of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Reporter and Kabul 9.5 Kim Baker Delivers Some Decent News at the Box Office

Posted by James Brown on Tuesday, March 8, 2016, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot





Directed By: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa

Starring: Tina Fey, Margot Robbie, Martin Freeman, Alfred Molina, and Billy Bob Thornton


When I think of Tina Fey and live action movies over the last several years, I think of halfway decent comedies at best.  Sisters.  This Is Where I Leave You.  Admission.  The list goes on, but not necessarily in a good way.  I don't typically think of her when it comes to more dramatic fare, but she may have just found a good role that could pr...

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REVIEW: Up Back Forward Down! With Bo Derek, Milk, & Broken Glasses in Blake's Biscuits, Eddie the Eagle Has Landed In His Moment

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, February 27, 2016, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Eddie the Eagle





Directed By: Dexter Fletcher

Starring: Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Jim Broadbent, and Christopher Walken

"The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not winning but taking part; the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well."
-Pierre de Coubertin

There's nothing better than a surprise treat at the box office.  I typically don't have too many of these, especially this time of year.  In the last three weeks, however, I've had three rather enjoyable cinematic ...

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REVIEW: With Four Gold Medals, Jesse Owens Runs His Race Regardless of Jim Crow or the Third Reich

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, February 21, 2016, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Race





Directed By: Stephen Hopkins

Starring: Stephan James, Jason Sudeikis, Jeremy Irons, Carice van Houten, Shanice Banton, and William Hurt

Simplicity can be elegance, especially when it comes to movie titles.  One-syllable titles are especially potent because they say everything and hardly anything at all.  Heat.  Ray.  Up.  These titles are short and sweet but convey so much.  There's no better example this weekend than the Jesse Owens biopic Race.  In the case of the period biographical pict...

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REVIEW: An Upside Down Tree, Jane Got a Gun Doesn't Exactly Ride Up the Ridge to Victory

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, February 7, 2016, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Jane Got a Gun





Directed By: Gavin O'Connor

Starring: Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton, Noah Emmerich, Rodrigo Santoro, Boyd Holbrook, and Ewan McGregor

Making a movie trailer has to be a challenging art.  The men and women that make these trailers have to make a film worth moviegoers' time and money with just a brief two-minute snippet of the movie at hand.  They must convey the essence of the film without revealing too many key plot details.  They must make a film seem terrific even when it isn't...

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REVIEW: In The Finest Hours, Coast Guard Man Bernie Webber Does Everything to Get Over the Bar to the SS Pendleton for April 16th with Miriam

Posted by James Brown on Wednesday, February 3, 2016, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
The Finest Hours





Directed By: Craig Gillespie

Starring: Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Holliday Grainger, John Ortiz, and Eric Bana


The aftermath of Jonas is more of his old man winter plaguing us with bone-chilling cold this past week.  As I hit the movies, the weather served as a frosty reminder that I had been absent from the box office for a little while.  Fittingly, the first movie on deck for me was about being caught in the throes of a deadly winter storm.  Yes, I'm talking about ...

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REVIEW: Beasts Of No Nation: A Chilling African Hunger Games

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Saturday, January 23, 2016, In : 0.00% Water 
Beasts of No Nation
SoberFilmChick




Directed by:  Cary Joji Fukunaga

Starring: Idris Elba, Abraham Attah, and Emmanuel Nii Adom Quaye


Netflix continues to innovate and produce quality entertainment in the streaming media realm with its release of Beasts of No Nation.  Netflix is currently streaming a gripping African war drama at a time when #Oscarssowhite is trending and wreaking havoc on the Academy Awards.  Many critics lament that Idris Elba was overlooked in the Oscar’s best supporting acto...

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REVIEW: When Girls Just Wanna Have Fun & Apple Mojitos, Anomalisa Chooses A Belvedere Martini Straight Up With a Twist

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, January 16, 2016, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Anomalisa





Directed By: Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson


Starring: David Thewlis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Tom Noonan

This awards season is shaping up to be pretty intriguing with regard to animated fare.  The two films going head to head are Inside Out and Anomalisa.  In one corner, you have an innocent but brilliant exploration of the inner workings of a child's mind and the competing emotions within it.  The fifteenth film from Pixar is no doubt a landmark achievement.  In the other corner, w...

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REVIEW: Flung Out of Space, Therese Gives Carol A Portfolio of Things to Worry Her Including Love & A Morality Clause

Posted by James Brown on Tuesday, December 29, 2015, In : 0.00% Water 
Carol





Directed By: Todd Haynes

Starring: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Kyle Chandler, and Jake Lacy


I've just about covered all the films in the mix this awards season, excluding The Revenant and 45 Years.  Throughout this year’s litany of films, I've mentioned that there was an uptick in the number of adaptations, and I still believe this holds true.  The Danish Girl, The Big Short, and Concussion have all continued this trend over the last couple of weeks.  Now, we have yet ano...

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REVIEW: With the Power of Soap Opera Character Danica & the Next Tom Jones, Joy Becomes Friends in Commerce With QVC Executive Neil Walker

Posted by James Brown on Monday, December 28, 2015, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Joy





Directed By: David O. Russell

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Édgar Ramírez, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen, Isabella Rossellini, Dascha Polanco, and Bradley Cooper


Recurring actor-director collaborations happen fairly often.  We call the actors in these collaborations the directors' muses.  Alfred Hitchcock had James Stewart (and his blonds).  Martin Scorsese had Robert De Niro (and now Leonardo DiCaprio).  Steven Spielberg has Tom Hanks.  Quentin Tarantino has Samuel L. Jackson...

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REVIEW: In Concussion, Forensic Pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu Chooses to Fake the NFL, Whose Players Suffer From CTE, With Science

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, December 27, 2015, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Concussion





Directed By: Peter Landesman

Starring: Will Smith, Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Arliss Howard, Paul Reiser, Luke Wilson, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, David Morse, and Albert Brooks


"The NFL owns a day of the week.  The same day the Church used to own.  Now it's theirs."
-Dr. Cyril Wecht (Albert Brooks)

It's safe to say that football has supplanted baseball as America's favorite pastime.  Garnering 114.5 million viewers earlier this year, Super Bowl XLIX was an unparalleled phenomenon lik...

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REVIEW: Up 489% on Its Initial Investment, The Big Short Serves Up One Damn Good Ice Cream Sundae With Sprinkles & A Cherry On Top

Posted by James Brown on Thursday, December 24, 2015, In : 0.00% Water 
The Big Short





Directed By: Adam McKay

Starring: Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt, Melissa Leo, Hamish Linklater, Rafe Spall, Marisa Tomei, Finn Wittrock, John Magaro, Adepero Oduye, and Max Greenfield


It's amazing how the best films can catch moviegoers by surprise.  2015 hasn't been a year boasting the strongest awards season contenders.  Sure, we have Bridge of Spies, Room, and Brooklyn.  The problem is, however, that there seems to be no front runner.  This isn't a year o...

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REVIEW: The Danish Girl Entirely Her Violet Self, Lili / Einar Proves That Married People Are Easily Shocked

Posted by James Brown on Tuesday, December 22, 2015, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
The Danish Girl





Directed By: Tom Hooper

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Matthias Schoenaerts, Ben Whishaw, Sebastian Koch, and Amber Heard

On paper, The Danish Girl has a winning formula.  We've got the filmmaker behind The King's Speech and Les Misérables directing Oscar winner and future Harry Potter torchbearer Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) and current Hollywood "it girl" Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, Testament of Youth, The Man ...

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REVIEW: Hail Tyrant Macbeth, AKA Michael Fassbender in the Next Great Shakespeare Adaptation

Posted by James Brown on Monday, December 21, 2015, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Macbeth





Directed By: Justin Kurzel

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Paddy Considine, Sean Harris, Jack Reynor, Elizabeth Debicki, and David Thewlis


Here we are again with yet another Shakespearean adaptation at the box office. The fun thing about reviewing these films is that the narrative hardly ever factors into my review.  It's all about the execution and the overarching creative vision driving each big screen take on the famed playwright’s theatrical works (if he wrote them)...

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REVIEW: For the Simple Song of His Youth, Composer Fred Ballinger Lives Life's Last Day with a Little Levity

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, December 20, 2015, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Youth





Directed By: Paolo Sorrentino

Starring: Michael Caine, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, Paul Dano, and Jane Fonda


The Great Beauty
was a high mark for Paolo Sorrentino two years ago, and I've got nothing but respect for Sorrentino's Oscar-winning artistic achievement, which just happens to be one of my favorite movies featuring the Eternal City.  With this in mind, I came into his latest endeavor Youth with a certain curiosity.  When you factor in the incredible cast of beloved thespians he's ...

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REVIEW: In the Heart of the Sea Doesn't Steal Our Attention Like That White Whale Steals the Whaling Ship Essex

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, December 19, 2015, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
In the Heart of the Sea





Directed By: Ron Howard

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy, Tom Holland, Ben Whishaw, Brendan Gleeson, and Michelle Fairley


Twas the night before Star Wars, when all through the house
Not a viewer was stirring, not even a mouse.
The light sabers were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Luke soon would be there.

It's the quiet before the storm this weekend.  Yes, the force awakens next weekend and will be calling all moviegoers to the box of...

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REVIEW: Immigrant Eilis Lacey Has a Fun Choice Between the Irish Catholic Life With Jim or the Brooklyn Dodgers Life With Tony

Posted by James Brown on Thursday, November 26, 2015, In : 0.00% Water 
Brooklyn





Directed By: John Crowley

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Emory Cohen, Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters, Jessica Paré, Eve Macklin, Nora-Jane Noone, and Emily Bett Rickards


Immigrant-themed period piece Brooklyn couldn't have had more perfect timing for its release.  It's a time when courts are blocking President Obama's executive action on immigration reform.  It's a time when Donald Trump and his fellow Republican presidential contenders are indoctrinating their base with the ...

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REVIEW: In the Shadow of His Family Rocky Balboa, Baby Creed Adonis Johnson Makes His Own Legacy One Step, One Punch, One Round At a Time

Posted by James Brown on Thursday, November 26, 2015, In : 0.00% Water 
Creed





Directed By: Ryan Coogler

Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, and Tony Bellew
 
I have to admit that I was baffled when I learned that Ryan Coogler was directing Creed.  After all, the breakout director of Fruitvale Station delving into the seventh act of the Rocky Balboa saga for his second feature film isn't a career move that makes a whole lot of sense at first glance.  This is especially true when you consider the fact that the aging Sylvest...

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REVIEW: The Boston Globe's Spotlight Team Nimbly Tackles Systematic Child Abuse in the Catholic Church

Posted by James Brown on Tuesday, November 17, 2015, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Spotlight





Directed By: Tom McCarthy
 
Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, and Stanley Tucci
 
If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to abuse one.
-Mitchell Garabedian (Stanley Tucci)
 
As we’ve seen one adaptation after another arrive at the box office throughout the fall movie season, I’ve been highly critical of many of the films in terms of scope.  Movies like Steve Jobs and Trumbo have failed to convey the grandness...

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REVIEW: With Roman Holiday, The Brave One & Spartacus, Trumbo & the Blacklisted Hollywood Ten Fight the Motion Picture Alliance

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, November 14, 2015, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Trumbo





Directed By: Jay Roach

Starring: Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Louis C.K., Elle Fanning, John Goodman, Michael Stuhlbarg, Helen Mirren, Alan Tudyk, and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje


Hollywood loves films about itself.  The proof is in the awards-filled pudding.  Movies about the movies have gotten lots of awards love over the last several years.  The Artist and Argo added Best Picture Oscars under their belts, while Hugo cleaned up in the technical awards categories across the board.  Films such...

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REVIEW: With Deeds Not Words, Foot Soldier & Suffragette Maud Watts Never Surrenders & Never Gives Up the Fight for the Vote for Women

Posted by James Brown on Monday, November 2, 2015, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Suffragette





Directed By: Sarah Gavron

Starring: Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Brendan Gleeson, Anne-Marie Duff, Ben Whishaw, and Meryl Streep


The best cinematic experiences are often the ones from which moviegoers take away something, the ones from which they learn something.  Entertainment and education aren't mutually exclusive objectives in filmmaking.  With all the adaptations we're seeing during this particular awards season, it's safe to say that we as a movie-going public ought to...

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REVIEW: Truth Finds the Courage to Say FEA to Its Abusive Dad America

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, November 1, 2015, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Truth





Directed By: James Vanderbilt

Starring: Robert Redford, Cate Blanchett, Topher Grace, Dennis Quaid, and Elisabeth Moss


As much as the right wing tries to put every single one of our nation's woes on President Obama (and his liberal media), everyone has to admit that his direct predecessor George W. Bush left the United States FUBAR.  The Iraq War.  Hurricane Katrina.  Scooter Libby.  The Great Recession.  The list goes on and on. Yes, Bush 43 has plenty of failures.  Even Republican presid...

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REVIEW: With Joy and Jack Newsome, Room Rolls, Wiggles Free, and Jumps to Greatness From A Garden Shed World

Posted by James Brown on Thursday, October 29, 2015, In : 0.00% Water 
Room





Directed By: Lenny Abrahamson

Starring: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen, Sean Bridgers, and William H. Macy


Brie Larson has been one to watch over the last several years.  From bit roles in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World and 21 Jump Street to meatier supporting roles in The Spectacular Now and Don Jon, Larson has stolen scenes in film after film.  Her breakout lead role was equally impressive in the outstanding indie drama Short Term 12.  Since then, she's had supporting roles in The G...

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REVIEW: With Synergy 51N3RG-Y But Fearing the Unknown, Jem and the Holograms Doesn’t Quite Uncover the Mystery or the Dismal Mediocrity of Starlight Enterprises

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, October 25, 2015, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Jem and the Holograms





Directed By: Jon M. Chu

Starring: Aubrey Peeples, Stefanie Scott, Hayley Kiyoko, Aurora Perrineau, Juliette Lewis, Ryan Guzman, and Molly Ringwald


Other than Back to the Future Day, it's safe to say that films not named Star Wars are hardly getting any love this week.  With sites crashing, world records breaking, and tickets being scalped for as much as $10,000, it's safe to say that Star Wars is dominating the pop culture landscape once again.  That's why I'm less than sho...

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REVIEW: In Bridge of Spies, Standing Man James B. Donovan Gives Us More Than Just a 2-for-1 at Glienicke Bridge & Checkpoint Charlie

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, October 17, 2015, In : 0.00% Water 
Bridge of Spies





Directed By: Steven Spielberg

Starring: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Amy Ryan, and Alan Alda


"You're not worried?!"
-James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks)
"Would it help?"
-Rudolf Abel (Mark Rylance)

There is such a thing as a match made in heaven on the big screen.  Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks are living proof of this.  You need to look no further than films such as Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me If You Can, and The Terminal.  Any collaboration between these two cinema legends is a 2-for-1 spe...

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REVIEW: Playing the Orchestra But Not TIME's Man of the Year, Steve Jobs Is All About Clouds, Love & Life

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, October 17, 2015, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Steve Jobs





Directed By: Danny Boyle

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, and Jeff Daniels

The adaptations keep on coming.  I obsess over the unusually large wave of films based on books, public figures, and other source materials as this fall movie season rolls onward.  As I look at the slate of films on hand this weekend, I've come to realize that there's a smaller trend in recent years as well, one focused on technology.  Recognizing the role technology plays in our lives, H...

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REVIEW: In The Walk, French High-Wire Artist Philippe Petit Leads a Crazy Coup Atop the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, October 4, 2015, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
The Walk





Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon, James Badge Dale, Ben Schwartz, and Steve Valentine


It's amazing how each movie season seems to have a theme or trend.  I said this a couple of weeks ago, but this fall movie season is all about adaptations.  It's being proven once again this weekend at the box office by the two big releases of the hour.  In one corner, we have Ridley Scott's The Martian, an adaptation of Andy Weir's 2011 novel ...

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REVIEW: In The Martian, Ares Space Pirate Mark Watney Doubles As Iron Man to Pull Off Project Elrond & Survive More Than 500 Sols With Potatoes

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, October 3, 2015, In : 0.00% Water 
The Martian





Directed By: Ridley Scott

Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Donald Glover, and Mackenzie Davis


Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity may have hit a nerve in the human psyche and started a trend at the box office.  Every year since Gravity's debut on the big screen back in 2013, we've had a space epic arrive.  With each, we have interesting collective dialogue about the authentici...

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REVIEW: Just Saying, Johnny Depp Is Psychotic & Cerebral As Top Echelon FBI Informant Whitey Bulger In Black Mass

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, September 19, 2015, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Black Mass





Directed By: Scott Cooper

Starring: Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Kevin Bacon, Jesse Plemons, Corey Stoll, Peter Sarsgaard, and Dakota Johnson

Johnny Depp's career has hit a trough in recent years.  Despite the billion dollar successes of Alice in Wonderland and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides several years ago, film duds such as The Tourist, Dark Shadows, Transcendence, and The Lone Ranger loom large on his recent filmography.  Believe me, these duds a...

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REVIEW: Straight Outta Compton – One Time, Suge Knight And Jerry Don’t Fare Too Well In This Hip Hop Epic

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Monday, August 17, 2015, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Straight Outta Compton
SoberFilmChick




Directed by:  F. Gary Gray

Starring: O’Shea Jackson, Jr., Jason Mitchell, Corey Hawkins, Paul Giamatti, Neil Brown, Jr., and Aldis Hodge

The Black Lives Matter movement, along with cell phone cameras, has recently shined a light on the tense relationship between people of color and law enforcement.  But in the mid-1980’s, a rap group by the name of N.W.A. (Niggaz Wit Attitudes) shined a light on police brutality in their infamous song “F*ck the Police....

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REVIEW: Despite the Silk Night Sky of Ricki and the Flash, Meryl Streep Doesn't Rock Here

Posted by James Brown on Wednesday, August 12, 2015, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Ricki and the Flash





Directed By: Jonathan Demme

Starring: Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Mamie Gummer, Audra McDonald, Sebastian Stan, Rick Springfield, and Ben Platt

There is no one in Hollywood right now who can touch Meryl Streep.  With nineteen Oscar nods and counting, the sky's the limit for the iconic actress.  I'd argue that this late period of her career has been one of her most productive times on the big screen.  The proof is in just how much product she's been putting out in recent years....

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REVIEW: The Facts Behind Mr. Holmes' Long Life on the Big Screen Include Royal Jelly, Prickly Ash & the Delightful Charms of Sir Ian McKellen

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, July 19, 2015, In : 0.00% Water 
Mr. Holmes





Directed By: Bill Condon

Starring: Sir Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Milo Parker

In the pantheon of British fictional characters, there are three reigning kings.  Harry Potter certainly has a place in our hearts with the magic he's to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in recent years.  MI-6 secret agent James Bond has had us preferring our martinis shaken not stirred for more than half a century now.  The most iconic British character of them all, however, ...

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REVIEW: Testament of Youth Is A Beautiful, Tragic Testament for Pacifism from WWI Nurse, Oxford Scholar, & Writer Vera Brittain

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, July 12, 2015, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Testament of Youth





Directed By: James Kent


Starring: Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Colin Morgan, Emily Watson, Hayley Atwell, Dominic West, and Miranda Richardson

I recently had the distinct displeasure of watching Kit Harington die twice in the same weekend on the big and small screens.  As you all may be aware, there was a mutiny against Jon Snow (Harington) on Game of Thrones for his love of the Wildlings, for the Watch.  With the perception of Snow as breaking bread with their enemy, the i...

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REVIEW: Magic Mike XXL – White Chocolate Takes The Boys To The Stripper Convention

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Monday, July 6, 2015, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Magic Mike XXL
SoberFilmChick





Directed by:  Gregory Jacobs


Starring: Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello, Jada Pinkett Smith, Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez, Kevin Nash, Amber Heard, Stephen Boss

A few years ago, I reviewed Magic Mike.  It is difficult to capture the experience of seeing that film on opening weekend—the lines of women, the excited whispers, the cheers and the jeers.  It is an event.  I knew that I had to take my Magic Mike XXL experience up a notch.  So I went to see the sequel with f...

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REVIEW: The Part Where You Respect the Research On the Doomed Friendships of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, June 14, 2015, In : 0.00% Water 
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl





Directed By: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon


Starring: Thomas Mann, Olivia Cooke, Ronald Cyler II, Jon Bernthal, Nick Offerman, Connie Britton, and Molly Shannon

We've had a terrific run of coming-of-age movies in recent years.  Boyhood, The Way, Way Back, The Spectacular Now, Short Term 12, Mud, and The Kings of Summer have all risen to the occasion at one point or another in the last several years.  What's so marvelous about this list of quality movies is that they're all so...

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REVIEW: Love & Mercy Is All About the Beach Boys' Paranoid Schizophrenic Brian Wilson

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, June 14, 2015, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Love & Mercy





Directed By: Bill Pohlad

Starring: John Cusack, Paul Dano, Elizabeth Banks, and Paul Giamatti

I would be lying if I were to say that am a huge fan of the Beach Boys.  I'm familiar with their discography, and I respect what they accomplished in their day.  However, I'm not exactly rocking to their tunes on Amazon Prime.  That being said, this doesn't mean that I can't appreciate Brian Wilson's tale.  After all, there's a rich story to be told here.  A musical heavyweight whose career...

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REVIEW: I'll See You In My Dreams With An Appletini & A Black Rat

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, June 14, 2015, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
I'll See You In My Dreams





Directed By: Brett Haley

Starring: Blythe Danner, Martin Starr, Sam Elliott, Malin Akerman, June Squibb, Rhea Perlman, and Mary Kay Place


I'm one who frequently espouses the notion that we go to the movies and get exposed to different worlds, different cultures, and different ways of thinking.  While I certainly still cling to this belief, I'd also argue that we go to the movies to escape from the reality of our own lives.  We catch a flick after a long day at work.  We...

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REVIEW: Despite Gilchrest & Ng's Chemistry, The Payload from Aloha's Global One Is Indeed Nuclear

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, May 31, 2015, In : 0.12% Hard Liquor 
Aloha





Directed By: Cameron Crowe


Starring: Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, Bill Murray, John Krasinski, Danny McBride, and Alec Baldwin


Unexpectedly bad movies are the worst.  It's a game of expectations that we've all lost.  You go into the theater expecting a halfway decent movie at a minimum.  Instead, you get nothing but garbage for your time and money.  When you expect very little at the box office, a movie can either meet your expectations by sucking or exceed them by pleasantl...

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REVIEW: A Near Miss at 87 Degrees, The Age of Adaline Needs An Electric Jolt Just Like the Dilla Comet

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, April 25, 2015, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
The Age of Adaline





Directed By: Lee Toland Krieger

Starring: Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Kathy Baker, Amanda Crew, Harrison Ford, and Ellen Burstyn

It's the quiet before the storm at the box office this weekend.  The summer movie season is right around the corner!  Earth's mightiest heroes are leading the charge.  Avengers: Age of Ultron is almost here ladies and gentlemen.  On this fateful weekend, we have just one new mainstream flick entering the fray, one that could potentially serve as c...

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REVIEW: For the Klimt Painting “Woman in Gold” & the Memory of Her Aunt Adele, Austrian Maria Altmann Gives Us A Lesson in Art Restitution

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, April 19, 2015, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Woman in Gold





Directed By: Simon Curtis

Starring: Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds, Daniel Brühl, Katie Holmes, Tatiana Maslany, Max Irons, Charles Dance, Elizabeth McGovern, and Jonathan Pryce

A couple of years ago, I fumed in a series of reviews about having had enough of WWII-themed movies.  As much as I hate to admit it, I might have been wrong.  There are many facets to the Second Great War, and there might just be a few of them left untold on the big screen.  In the last couple of years, filmm...

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REVIEW: In True Story, Shortstop Christian Longo Gives Mike Finkel of The New York Times a Double Negative Wink

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, April 19, 2015, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
True Story





Directed By: Rupert Goold


Starring: Jonah Hill, James Franco, Felicity Jones, Gretchen Mol, Betty Gilpin, and John Sharian


Both James Franco and Jonah Hill are extremely versatile actors.  Having appeared in superhero movies, comedies, dramas, animated films, and everything in between over the years, these two are now perhaps a bit overexposed.  I'm a fan of both of them.  However, they're always in something at the box office.  It's time for them to take a little break.  With fourtee...

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REVIEW: The Longest Ride – Romance, Art And The Toughest Sport On Dirt

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Tuesday, April 14, 2015, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
The Longest Ride
SoberFilmChick




Directed by:  George Tillman, Jr.


Starring: Britt Robertson, Scott Eastwood, Jack Huston, Oona Chaplin, Alan Alda, Melissa Benoist, and Lolita Davidovich

Nicholas Sparks is well known for romance novels that can be easily converted into date night movies.  The films based on Sparks’ bestselling novels always find an audience.  With dreamy leading men and sweeping love stories, Sparks wins over audiences despite the predictability of his tales.  The Longest Ride i...

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REVIEW: With Darby's Ice Cream & Arthritis Arthritis, While We're Young Has No Process in Finding the Beautiful Truth of Life

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, April 5, 2015, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
While We're Young





Directed By: Noah Baumbach

Starring: Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, Adam Driver, Amanda Seyfried, Charles Grodin, Adam Horovitz, and Maria Dizzia


I've still got a few good years left in my twenties, but I do realize that time is ticking away.  Thankfully, I'm not at the beginning of some long monologue about getting older.  I am, however, at the beginning of a rather interesting realization about how the generational gap widens with each passing generation.  We live longer than ever...

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REVIEW: Hey, Baby Doll! As Danny Collins, Al Pacino Gets His Patter Back With the Camera Thanks to a Letter from John Lennon

Posted by James Brown on Monday, March 30, 2015, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Danny Collins





Directed By: Dan Fogelman

Starring: Al Pacino, Annette Bening, Jennifer Garner, Bobby Cannavale, Christopher Plummer, Melissa Benoist, and Josh Peck

A couple of years ago, I heard of this challenge for film aficionados called Mount Rushmore.  It essentially entails naming one's four favorite actors who would be on their cinematic Rushmore, figuratively speaking.  Without a shadow of a doubt, the one person who has a guaranteed spot on mine is the iconic Al Pacino.  In my humble opi...

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REVIEW: Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem Showcases One Wife’s Incompatibility With Her Stubborn Jewish Husband Shimon Amsalem

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, March 21, 2015, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem





Directed By: Ronit Elkabetz and Shlomi Elkabetz


Starring: Ronit Elkabetz, Menashe Noy, Sasson Gabai, and Simon Abkarian


Some people just aren't meant to be together.  The blinding nature of love can have disastrous consequences.  Still, the divorce rate isn't exactly sky high in the United States, or most other countries around the globe for that matter.  As of 2011, the divorce rate stateside sits at a respectable 6.8%, but I'm certain the percentage of unsucc...

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REVIEW: Seniors Galore, The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Is All About the Supreme Quality Hotel and the Viceroy Club

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, March 7, 2015, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel





Directed By: John Madden

Starring: Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Dev Patel, Celia Imrie, Penelope Wilton, Ronald Pickup, Tena Desae, David Strathairn, Tamsin Greig, and Richard Gere

Independent films are back on the market!  With the awards season having reached its conclusion, it's time for the nominees to begin trickling out of theaters and for fresh original content to begin trickling in.  To get things started, we're going back to a familiar plac...

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REVIEW: Unusually Attached to Mommy Die, Steve Loves to Mingle, Especially With Kyla

Posted by James Brown on Friday, February 27, 2015, In : 0.00% Water 
Mommy





Directed By: Xavier Dolan

Starring: Anne Dorval, Antoine-Olivier Pilon, and Suzanne Clément

I've said this a million times, but I love movies about crazy people.  These are the kinds of films that feature immensely intriguing characters and offer loads of spontaneity.  These are the kinds of films that tend to boast fuller, richer performances that resonate with me.  It's one of the reasons I love Xavier Dolan's Mommy.  The Canadian drama boasts some fascinating performances as Dolan navi...

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REVIEW: Uno, Dos, Tres. The McFarland Cougars Fly Like Blackbirds With Blanco Cross-Country Coach Jim White Guiding Them

Posted by James Brown on Monday, February 23, 2015, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
McFarland, USA





Directed By: Niki Caro


Starring: Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, and Morgan Saylor

After his turn as Jonathan Kent in Man of Steel a year and half ago, I was intrigued by the prospect of Kevin Costner getting active on the big screen again.  While he delivered a heartfelt performance as the DC Universe began to get its act together, every performance Costner has given since has been a play on his manly on-screen persona.  He gave us the blunt spy Kevin Costner in Jack Ryan: Shadow Rec...

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REVIEW: Fifty Shades of Grey – If You Liked the Books, You’ll Like the Movie

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Saturday, February 14, 2015, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Fifty Shades of Grey
SoberFilmChick




Directed by:  Sam Taylor-Johnson

Starring: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eloise Mumford, Luke Grimes, Rita Ora, Victor Rasuk, Max Martini, Dylan Neal, Callum Keith Rennie, Jennifer Ehle, and Marcia Gay Harden

Since EL James’ provocative Fifty Shades trilogy became a worldwide phenomenon in 2012, fans have been anxious to see a film adaptation. I will confess to having read the Fifty Shades of Grey series.  In my defense, I majored in English and I read everyt...

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REVIEW: For Two Days, One Night, Sandra Tries to Sway Her Voting Co-Workers to Save Her Job Instead of Their 1,000 Euro Bonuses

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, January 31, 2015, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Two Days, One Night (Deux jours, une nuit)





Directed By: Luc Dardenne and Jean-Pierre Dardenne


Starring: Marion Cotillard and Fabrizio Rongione

I've been slipping on the foreign film front over the past year.  Sadly, I've not seen any of the nominees in the best foreign language film category for the Oscars.  It's a real shame because foreign films are often hidden gems that don't get the respect or recognition they deserve.  In light of my shortcomings on this front, I'm going to make one last N...

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REVIEW: In A Black or White Custody Battle in Court, Alcoholic Elliot, Grandma Wee Wee, & Crack Addict Reggie Don’t Relearn to Breathe

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, January 31, 2015, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Black or White





Directed By: Mike Binder


Starring: Kevin Costner, Octavia Spencer, Jillian Estell, Bill Burr, Jennifer Ehle, Andre Holland, Gillian Jacobs, and Anthony Mackie

There are two different categories of feel good movies.  There are those flicks that are saccharine and shallow as they play up one stereotype after another in the most formulaic fashion.  There's a special place in movie hell for these features.  It's called basic cable.  Then, there are those feel good movies that are vibr...

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REVIEW: Struggling With Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease, Linguist & Butterfly Still Alice Lives in the Moment & Masters the Art of Losing

Posted by James Brown on Monday, January 26, 2015, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Still Alice





Directed By: Richard Glatzer

Starring: Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth, and Hunter Parrish

I'm baaack!  I am slowly but surely resuming my normal activities and getting back to my beloved big screen.  As I've returned, one obvious reality finally smacked me in the face about this awards season.  It's a very dark one in which films like Birdman and Whiplash have been integral players.  Yes, there is the coming-of-age awards mammoth Boyhood, which is on the...

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REVIEW: To Fuel His American Dream, Abel Morales Endures A Most Violent Year On the Most Right Path

Posted by James Brown on Tuesday, January 20, 2015, In : 0.00% Water 
A Most Violent Year





Directed By: J. C. Chandor


Starring: Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain, David Oyelowo, Alessandro Nivola, and Albert Brooks

Margin Call, All Is Lost, and A Most Violent Year all have something in common, and it's not just that they're the first three feature films by prolific director J. C. Chandor.  These terrific movies have not gotten the recognition they deserve at the culmination of awards season.  The corporate thriller Margin Call about the 2008 financial crisis notched ju...

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REVIEW: American Sniper – A Gripping Tale Of Sheepdogs, Sheep and Wolves

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Saturday, January 17, 2015, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
American Sniper
SoberFilmChick




Directed by:  Clint Eastwood

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Sammy Sheik, and Cory Hardrict

The recent shootings at Charlie Hebdo and the subsequent anti-terrorist operations have brought terrorism and the conflict in the Middle East to the forefront.  A film about the deadliest sniper in U.S. history and his service in Iraq is either ill-timed or perfectly timed, depending on one’s perspective.

Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper) was raised in Texas.  His father ...

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REVIEW: Inherent Vice – Great Cast, Great Hair, But Long, Rambling Plot

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Saturday, January 10, 2015, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Inherent Vice
SoberFilmChick




Directed by:  Paul Thomas Anderson

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterston, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio Del Toro, Sasha Pieterse, Jena Malone, Eric Roberts, Maya Rudolph, and Martin Short

As the credits rolled at the end of Inherent Vice, the patrons in my audience remained in their seats, confused and uncertain.  After two and a half hours of the hippie detective dramedy, we were left wondering what it is we had just seen and what, if ...

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REVIEW: Despite All His Grunts, Marine Painter Mr. Turner Is a Bit Too Still

Posted by James Brown on Tuesday, December 30, 2014, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Mr. Turner





Directed By: Mike Leigh

Starring: Timothy Spall, Dorothy Atkinson, Marion Bailey, Paul Jesson, Lesley Manville, and Martin Savage

Mr. Turner is my last stop on the Christmas box office train, and I am actually thankful that I'm at the end of this long ride.  This holiday season, art and painting have been a noticeable theme at the forefront of the independent marketplace.  In addition to Mr. Turner, we also have Tim Burton's Big Eyes on painter Margaret Keane.  While I'm sure there ar...

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REVIEW: In Big Eyes, S. Cenic & MDH Keane Suffer the Same Fate, Walter Keane

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, December 28, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Big Eyes





Directed By: Tim Burton


Starring: Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Danny Huston, Jon Polito, Krysten Ritter, Jason Schwartzman, and Terence Stamp

I've said it a couple of times already, but I feel compelled to say it again.  This Christmas at the box office has sucked.  Where have all the good movies gone?  Normally, there are a couple of movies that alter my choices on the year's best films at the last minute.  Normally, there are potential awards season powerhouses arriving right about now...

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REVIEW: For the Dignity of the Vote in Selma, Dr. King, the SCLC, & SNCC Negotiate, Demonstrate, and Resist to Outstanding Effect

Posted by James Brown on Friday, December 26, 2014, In : 0.00% Water 
Selma





Directed By: Ava DuVernay

Starring: David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth, Lorraine Toussaint, Common, Giovanni Ribisi, Omar Dorsey, Andre Holland, Niecy Nash, Colman Domingo, Wendell Pierce, Tessa Thompson, Keith Stanfield, Stephan James, Alessandro Nivola, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Martin Sheen, Tom Wilkinson, and Oprah Winfrey


"A state trooper pointed the gun, but he did not act alone.
He was murdered by the brutality of every sheriff who practices lawlessness in the name of law.

He was murdered...

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REVIEW: Despite Some Engaging Blackjack, Roulette, & English 101, The Gambler Doesn't Quite Reach the F*ck You Position

Posted by James Brown on Friday, December 26, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
The Gambler





Directed By: Rupert Wyatt

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Michael K. Williams, and Jessica Lange

Some of you may know this already, but I'm getting ready for abdominal surgery in the next week and a half.  I'll be out of commission for some time and will be handing over the STMR reins to the Sober Film Chick for a while.  One of the many reasons for which I'm having the surgery so early in the year is so that I can make my annual trip to Las Vegas in late February...

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REVIEW: Annie (2014) – A Made For Television Musical With An A-List Cast

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Wednesday, December 24, 2014, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Annie
SoberFilmChick




Directed by:  Will Gluck

Starring: Jamie Foxx, Quvenzhané Wallis, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale, and Cameron Diaz

Annie is a classic American musical.  I first saw the film in theaters as a young girl in 1982, and then starred in my high school’s production of the musical.  Annie is near and dear to my heart.  The songs are iconic.  From “It’s The Hard-Knock Life” to “Tomorrow” to “Maybe,” the music grabs you.  My fondness for the tale is why I viewed the 2014 ...

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REVIEW: In The Imitation Game of Christopher Vs. Enigma at Bletchley, Alan Turing Solves the Biggest Crossword Puzzle of Them All

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, December 14, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
The Imitation Game





Directed By: Morten Tyldum


Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, Charles Dance, Allen Leech, Matthew Beard, and Rory Kinnear

"Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine."
-Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley)

Some of the best movies are the ones  in which moviegoers learn something new about how someone did something amazing that changed the world.  I know that sounds like a cliché, but that's...

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REVIEW: When the Last Shall Be the First On a Midsummer's Night, Miss Julie Obeys Jean Like a Dog & Kisses His Shoes

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, December 7, 2014, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Miss Julie





Directed By: Liv Ullmann


Starring: Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell, and Samantha Morton


I mentioned this earlier this year in my review of Under the Skin, but we haven't had a lot of weird ones at the indie box office this year.  Few filmmakers are taking risks with the strange and bizarre, particularly in this later half of the year (with the obvious exception of Birdman).  I understand their reasons, but I don't agree with them.  Risks are the reasons for which many duds crash and b...

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REVIEW: Hiking A Thousand Miles Through the Pacific Crest Trail, Wild Queen of the PCTs Cheryl Strayed Chooses One Tough Form of Therapy

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, December 6, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Wild





Directed By: Jean-Marc Vallée

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Thomas Sadoski, and Gaby Hoffmann

This may sound completely random, but I do my best thinking in the shower.  My best ideas have come when the hot water is flowing, and there are no distractions chipping away at me.  For me, the only thing that comes close to this is taking a leisurely stroll.  When I'm out in nature getting some fresh air, great thoughts just come to me.  That's why I get Cheryl Strayed’s need to get...

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REVIEW: In The Homesman, George Briggs & Mary Bee Cuddy Take Three Crazy Women East to Iowa

Posted by James Brown on Wednesday, November 26, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
The Homesman





Directed By: Tommy Lee Jones

Starring: Tommy Lee Jones, Hilary Swank, William Fichtner, Grace Gummer, John Lithgow, Tim Blake Nelson, Miranda Otto, Sonja Richter, James Spader, Hailee Steinfeld, and Meryl Streep

On paper, Tommy Lee Jones and westerns go together like peas and carrots.  He's exactly the kind of rugged, no nonsense actor who would thrive in the Wild West.  With an elite cast featuring beloved thespians Hilary Swank, James Spader, and the great Meryl Streep, Jones's we...

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REVIEW: An Ornithologist, Philatelist, & Philanthropist, Golden Eagle John du Pont Leads Wrestler Mark Schultz to Olympic Gold at the Foxcatcher Estate

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, November 23, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Foxcatcher





Directed By: Bennett Miller


Starring: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, and Vanessa Redgrave


I don't know the story of John du Pont.  I was just a kid when the multimillionaire wrestling enthusiast committed the heinous acts that made his name infamous.  Not an Olympics enthusiast, I'm not terribly familiar with Mark or Dave Schultz either.  Alas, the only gold medalist in the wrestling space with whom I'm familiar is Mr. Kurt Angle.  I know.  I should know more, but it mak...

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REVIEW: Beyond the Lights, Noni Jean's Black Bird Is Freed At Last From Her Musical Cage By Officer Hero Kaz Nicol Despite His Fear of Flying

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, November 23, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Beyond the Lights





Directed By: Gina Prince-Bythewood


Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Minnie Driver, Nate Parker, Danny Glover, and Machine Gun Kelly


You all are familiar with my less than positive sentiments on the state of the music industry today.  It's all about sex appeal, club playability, and the bottom line.  It's not about the music anymore.  It's not about showmanship.  It's not about the artistry.  Because of this, the industry is a shell of its former self.  While I could elaborate on the ...

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REVIEW: Despite Motor Neuron Disease, Intelligent Atheist Stephen Hawking Masters Time to Give Us The Physicist's Theory of Everything

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, November 15, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
The Theory of Everything





Directed By: James Marsh

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox, Emily Watson, Simon McBurney, and David Thewlis

Performances marked by darkness and conflict are the ones typically rewarded during awards season.  Just look at last year's Oscar winners for Best Actor and Best Actress in leading roles.  On one hand, we have a self-destructive homophobic AIDS patient with Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club.  On the other, we have a crazy widow who has ...

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REVIEW: With His Company Video Production News, Nightcrawler Louis Bloom Offers A Professional News Gathering Service to Thriller Aficionados

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, November 1, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Nightcrawler





Directed By: Dan Gilroy


Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed, and Bill Paxton

I'm starting to think that Jake Gyllenhaal has been pigeonholing himself in the thriller genre over the last several years.  Since 2012, he's appeared in End of Watch, Prisoners, and now Nightcrawler, all dark movies in their own ways.  Though Prisoners was one of the outstanding films of 2013, it hasn't all been quality output from Gyllenhaal.  While many moviegoers would go to bat for his tur...

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REVIEW: Dear White People, the Race Wars at Winchester University Showcase the Trouble with Pastiche's Blackface in a White Place

Posted by James Brown on Wednesday, October 29, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Dear White People





Directed By: Justin Simien

Starring: Tyler James Williams, Tessa Thompson, Teyonah Parris, Brandon P. Bell, Kyle Gallner, Brittany Curran, Dennis Haysbert, and Marque Richardson


This has been a very interesting couple of weeks in cinema.  Last week, we had the jazz drama Whiplash, a film very personal to me that reminds me of my foray into the world of percussion years ago.  As it stands, I have another film very personal to me in a very different way in this weekend's Dear Whi...

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REVIEW: Confusing Admiration for Love, Birdman's Super Realism Is the Unexpected Virtue of Our Cinematic Ignorance

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, October 25, 2014, In : 0.00% Water 
Birdman





Directed By: Alejandro González Iñárritu


Starring: Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan, Emma Stone, Lindsay Duncan, and Naomi Watts

"Popularity is the slutty little cousin of prestige."
-Mike Shiner (Edward Norton)

Twenty five years later, it's hard to deny the influence of Tim Burton's Batman and its star Michael Keaton.  Just look at the state of mainstream cinema today.  As we eagerly await the latest news bytes on Doctor Strange, X-Men: Apo...

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REVIEW: As the Grumpy St. Vincent McKenna of Sheepshead Bay Says, It Is What It Is, A Good Old Fashioned Comedy-Drama

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, October 25, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
St. Vincent





Directed By: Theodore Melfi


Starring: Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Chris O'Dowd, Scott Adsit, Naomi Watts, and Terrence Howard

Many folks of older generations with whom I've interacted have frequently claimed that the world has gotten worse since their heyday.  Maybe I'm cold-hearted.  Maybe I'm callous.  In my humble opinion, the world has not gotten any better or worse.  We just know more about what's happening in it.  In this digital age, every violent crime, every scandalous af...

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REVIEW: Fury – Ideals Are Peaceful, History Is Violent

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Monday, October 20, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Fury
SoberFilmChick




Directed by: David Ayer

Starring:  Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, Jon Bernthal, Scott Eastwood

World War II has been depicted in countless films, most famously in Saving Private Ryan. With the war on ISIL raging, the conflict in the Ukraine, and the never ending turmoil in the Middle East, a World War II film feels oddly timely.  David Ayer’s Fury is a compelling drama that depicts the savagery and the emotional and physical trauma that war inflicts on ...

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REVIEW: For His Double-Time Swing Tempo for Caravan, Whiplash's Jo Jones Throws a Cymbal at Neyman to Turn Him Into the Next Charlie Parker

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, October 18, 2014, In : 0.00% Water 
Whiplash





Directed By: Damien Chazelle


Starring: Miles Teller and J. K. Simmons


On this weekend, I come face to face with my 27th birthday.  Though that may sound a bit overdramatic, it is nonetheless true.  With this, I've been reflecting on life, what I've done and where I've been in this first quarter of it.  Coupling this with the fact that I was just at a dear friend's wedding a few weeks ago at which I opened up a figurative time capsule and saw some familiar faces from high school, the arr...

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REVIEW: In Men, Women & Children, the Voyager Satellite Shows the Unimportant Yet Important Connections We Make On Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot

Posted by James Brown on Monday, October 13, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Men, Women & Children





Directed By: Jason Reitman

Starring: Rosemarie DeWitt, Jennifer Garner, Judy Greer, Dean Norris, Adam Sandler, Ansel Elgort, Kaitlyn Dever, J.K. Simmons, and Emma Thompson

"Look again at that dot.  That's here.  That's home.  That's us.  On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives.  The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, ev...

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REVIEW: With Comedic Pride, Lesbians & Gays Support the Miners (L.G.S.M.)

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, October 12, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Pride





Directed By: Matthew Warchus

Starring: Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Paddy Considine, Ben Schnetzer, and George MacKay


I don't normally talk about LGBT rights, but it's been an eventful week on the gay marriage front.  I am not a proponent of homosexuality.  However, I am a proponent of people having the free will to do whatever they believe as long as it does no harm to others.  The Supreme Court I typically love to hate surprised me and, for all intents and purposes, legaliz...

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REVIEW: Watching the Media Kill the Messenger Gary Webb Over the CIA's Dark Alliance With Nicaraguan Druglords Is One Good History Lesson

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, October 12, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Kill the Messenger





Directed By: Michael Cuesta


Starring: Jeremy Renner, Ray Liotta, Barry Pepper, Michael Sheen, Andy Garcia, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rosemarie DeWitt, Paz Vega, Oliver Platt, Richard Schiff, Robert Patrick, and Michael K. Williams

History is often the best way to validate an opinion.  We could all debate our friends and loved ones in perpetuity based on opinions alone, but facts are facts.  Regardless of who’s writing history, there are always certain irrefutable facts.  When...

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REVIEW: Protecting His Legacy On the Bench & His Half-Staff Funeral, Judge Joe Palmer Doesn't Serve Justice or Go Fishing With His Son Hank

Posted by James Brown on Friday, October 10, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
The Judge





Directed By: David Dobkin


Starring: Robert Downey, Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Vincent D'Onofrio, Jeremy Strong, Dax Shepard, and Billy Bob Thornton

Everyone to whom I've spoken seems excited about The Judge, except me.  I've been cautiously optimistic about the film.  With its high voltage of star power, this movie could be great or just decent.  The Academy Award winners and nominees in the cast alone send the expectations through the roof for this presumed Oscar bait.  Still, ...

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REVIEW: Thanks to A Sugar Storm at The Bar, Gone Girl Amazing Amy Dunne Trounces Her Husband Nick's Killer Smile

Posted by James Brown on Friday, October 3, 2014, In : 0.00% Water 
Gone Girl





Directed By: David Fincher

Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Carrie Coon, and Scoot McNairy

"What are you thinking?  What are you feeling?  What have we done to each other?  What will we do?"
-Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck)

Awards season has begun on a rather wicked note.  Oddly enough, I find myself in the peculiar position of kicking things off admitting just how wrong I was about a movie.  That movie is David Fincher's Gone Girl.  I haven't read the boo...

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REVIEW: In the New Jimi Hendrix Experience, All Is Not By My Side Because André 3000 Doesn't Play the Hits

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, September 27, 2014, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Jimi: All Is By My Side





Directed By: John Ridley

Starring: André Benjamin, Hayley Atwell, Burn Gorman, Imogen Poots, Andrew Buckley, and Ruth Negga

Jimi Hendrix is before my time, but I would be a fool not to recognize the profound impact his music has had on generations of musicians to follow him.  With the influence his music and his creativity have had on rock and roll and the music landscape as a whole, it should come as no surprise that filmmakers are trying to bring his tragically short l...

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REVIEW: Few Rich Patterns Are in Hector Journaling His Search for Happiness Except His Lack of a Pen & His Old Flame in a Sock Drawer Agnes

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, September 27, 2014, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Hector and the Search for Happiness





Directed By: Peter Chelsom

Starring: Simon Pegg, Toni Collette, Rosamund Pike, Stellan Skarsgård, Jean Reno, and Christopher Plummer

When I reflect on what happiness means to me, I think of the moments when I'm most serene.  For a guy who used to live out of a suitcase like me, the answer surprisingly lies in the skyways and wherever they take me.  It's about getting unplugged from the world around me and seeing the new beautiful places this world has to offe...

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REVIEW: Despite Her Viager, My Old Lady Mathilde Teaches Her Alcoholic Buyer Mathias That There Is No Greater Wealth Than Life

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, September 21, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
My Old Lady





Directed By: Israel Horovitz

Starring: Maggie Smith, Kevin Kline, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Dominique Pinon

"If you do not love me, I shall not be loved."
-Samuel Beckett

This is going to sound completely nerdy, but I'm going to put these words out on the web anyway.  I love to learn at the movies.  Some of my most treasured cinematic memories are those where filmmakers have expanded my boundaries, exposed me to different cultures and ways of life, and enlightened me with new perspecti...

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REVIEW: If Tragedy Is A Foreign Country, Then The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby Walks Away From Learning Its Native Tongue

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, September 21, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them





Directed By: Ned Benson

Starring: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Viola Davis, William Hurt, Isabelle Huppert, Jess Weixler, Bill Hader, Ciarán Hinds, Archie Panjabi, Katherine Waterston, and Nina Arianda

Companion films are in this year, at least for indie cinema.  Veteran filmmaker Lars von Trier was bent on releasing his steamy Nymphomaniac: Parts 1 and 2 to the world this spring.  Similarly, first-time director Ned Benson was bent on releasing twin f...

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REVIEW: With A Cheating Wife & A Complicated Life, This Is Where I Leave You At the Altman Family Shiva South of Maine

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, September 20, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
This Is Where I Leave You





Directed By: Shawn Levy

Starring: Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant, Dax Shepard, Ben Schwartz, and Jane Fonda

For a director, Shawn Levy has relatively high productivity.  Just look at his throughput.  Since 2011, he's given us Real Steel, The Internship, the upcoming Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, and several made-for-television movies.  That's a busy schedule as a director, and it's...

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REVIEW: Practicing the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, Private Detective Matt Scudder Takes A Bloody Good Walk Among the Tombstones

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, September 20, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
A Walk Among the Tombstones





Directed By: Scott Frank

Starring: Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, Eric Nelsen, Brian "Astro" Bradley, Sebastian Roché, and Ólafur Darri Ólafsson

It's been a rough year at the movies, but the fall is finally here and in full swing.  We've gotten through the hurdles of a rather dismal summer box office season full of duds.  With the fall, we can say goodbye to being inundated with explosions, wild nonsense masquerading as humor, and unwanted sequels or reboots (i.e. Trans...

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REVIEW: According to Starship, Nothing's Gonna Stop Depressed, Suicidal Skeleton Twins Milo & Maggie Now, Even Saying See You Later

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, September 14, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
The Skeleton Twins





Directed By: Craig Johnson

Starring: Kristen Wiig, Luke Wilson, Bill Hader, and Ty Burrell


Suicide can have long-lasting consequences that reach far beyond the individual taking his or her own life.  If that person has family, friends, or other loved ones left behind in this world, there's a good chance that those persons will be scarred for life.  The emotional toll of someone doing something this unnatural is extremely heavy and can last a lifetime.  Just ask all those unnam...

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REVIEW: Despite Dealing With Cousin Marv, Eric Deeds, & Rocco the Pit Bull, Bartender Bob Handles The Drop For the Chechens

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, September 14, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
The Drop





Directed By: Michaël R. Roskam

Starring: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, James Gandolfini, Matthias Schoenaerts, John Ortiz, Elizabeth Rodriguez, and Ann Dowd

We've lost a lot of cherished figures in the world of entertainment in the last couple of years.  For those actors who were still in the game at the time of their passing, I'm always impressed by how many completed projects they have in the pipeline.  Take Philip Seymour Hoffman for instance.  We've already seen him in God's Pocket and ...

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REVIEW: In Dolphin Tale 2, Clearwater's Rescue, Rehab, & Release Philosophy Isn't Perfect for Dolphins Hope and Winter

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, September 13, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Dolphin Tale 2





Directed By: Charles Martin Smith

Starring: Harry Connick, Jr., Ashley Judd, Nathan Gamble, Kris Kristofferson, Cozi Zuehlsdorff, and Morgan Freeman

I'm no adoring fan of the Dolphin Tale franchise, but the rescue, rehab, and release principle by which the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) operates is something Hollywood should consider as part of its own strategy.  It may help with the weak year studios have had at the North American box office.  CMA rescues injured animals, rehab...

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REVIEW: In The Last of Robin Hood, Alcoholic Errol Flynn Is Too Old For Lover Beverly "Woodsy" Aadland, But She's Just Young Enough For Him

Posted by James Brown on Monday, September 8, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
The Last of Robin Hood





Directed By: Richard Glatzer

Starring: Kevin Kline, Dakota Fanning, Susan Sarandon, Matthew Kane, Max Casella, and Patrick St. Esprit

Biographical dramas are sometimes tricky beasts.  If the individual is particularly well known, directors must convince moviegoers that their vision is historically accurate.  The key is to have an actor who looks, walks, and talks like the main character.  Some of this is dependent upon the costume and make-up crew members on deck, but the ...

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REVIEW: In If I Stay, Juilliard-Bound Cellist Mia Must Choose Between Her Nasty Bruises Rocker Parents & Her Willamette Stone Boyfriend Adam

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, August 24, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
If I Stay





Directed By: R. J. Cutler

Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Mireille Enos, Joshua Leonard, Stacy Keach, and Jamie Blackley

Here's the secret baby.  If you live, if you die, it's all up to you.  So whatever fight you got in you, you gotta pull it out now.
-Surgeon (Uncredited)

I was able to dodge The Fault In Our Stars earlier this year.  I have no interest whatsoever in depressing, melodramatic YA adaptations like this.  The sole intention of a film of this nature is to tug at the hea...

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REVIEW: When the Game Stands Tall, The De La Salle Spartans, Their Winning Streak, & This Bland High School Football Movie Fall

Posted by James Brown on Friday, August 22, 2014, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
When the Game Stands Tall





Directed By: Thomas Carter

Starring: Jim Caviezel, Laura Dern, Michael Chiklis, Alexander Ludwig, and Clancy Brown


These August movies are really starting to get to me.  Good movies are just hard to find in this climate.  With Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reigning supreme for the last two weeks at the box office, it's a moviegoer's worst nightmare come true.  As I make my way to the next wave of torturously bad flicks, I begin with a high school football film, this week...

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REVIEW: With Wine, Weed, & Sex, This Movie Isn't Quite All About Alex or the Dog Named Timmy

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, August 16, 2014, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
About Alex





Directed By: Jesse Zwick

Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Max Greenfield, Maggie Grace, Jason Ritter, Jane Levy, Nate Parker, and Max Minghella

My fellow Millennials have been making quite a few movies about what it's like to make that full adjustment into adulthood.  To some extent, the wild party movie Neighbors serves up some satirical commentary on the transition from a carefree twentysomething to married life with children.  The recent romantic comedy What If humorously explores the chall...

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REVIEW: Using My Precise Language, Thank You to The Giver & Jonas The Receiver of Memories For Your Childhood & Lack of Sameness

Posted by James Brown on Wednesday, August 13, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
The Giver





Directed By: Phillip Noyce

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Brenton Thwaites, Alexander Skarsgård, Odeya Rush, Katie Holmes, Taylor Swift, Cameron Monaghan, Jordan Nicholas Smal, and Saige Fernandes

Though the Chief Elder is preparing to thank the members of the Community for their childhood when The Giver arrives in theaters later this week, I want to take a moment to thank a special someone for my childhood.  I will forever remember that I was at a screening of The Giver when I...

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REVIEW: Since It's Shocking to Kill a Good Priest, Calvary Is All About Brendan Gleeson's Father James Lavelle Dodging Death

Posted by James Brown on Monday, August 11, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Calvary





Directed By: John Michael McDonagh


Starring: Brendan Gleeson, Chris O'Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Aidan Gillen, and Dylan Moran


"Do not despair; one of the thieves was saved.
Do not presume; one of the thieves was damned.

-St. Augustine

The Catholic Church has had a serious scandal on its hands for more than a decade now.  The atrocities done to innocent children over the years will haunt the victims for the remainder of their lives and the church until the end of its days.  That being said, the...

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REVIEW: In The Hundred-Foot Journey, Chef Hassan Turns Food Into Memories & A Michelin Star When He Makes Madame Mallory an Omelet

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, August 10, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
The Hundred-Foot Journey





Directed By: Lasse Halström

Starring: Helen Mirren, Om Puri, Manish Dayal, and Charlotte Le Bon

There aren't a whole lot of fictional movies out there about the culinary arts.  Jon Favreau's Chef was a breath of fresh air earlier this summer.  Julie & Julia and Ratatouille also come to mind when I reflect on the past decade, but not much else.  Cooking-themed movies are a rare cinematic delight that must be savored.  That's why I came to this weekend's The Hundred-Foot ...

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REVIEW: In Born Dead Biopic Get On Up, James Brown Does Right by Himself & Pays the Cost to Be the Boss

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, August 2, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Get On Up





Directed By: Tate Taylor

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Nelsan Ellis, Dan Aykroyd, Viola Davis, Keith Robinson, Octavia Spencer, Brandon Mychal Smith, Jill Scott, Tika Sumpter, and Craig Robinson

As you all know, I share a name with the subject of the recently released musical biopic Get On Up.  Having the name James Brown comes with a certain responsibility — to endure a lifetime of singing, shouting, and dancing at the most unexpected times in the most unexpected places.  For instance...

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REVIEW: A Most Wanted Man Stumbles About Hamburg for Two Hours In Search of Terrorist Charity Seven Friends Navigation Company

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, July 27, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
A Most Wanted Man





Directed By: Anton Corbijn

Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, Daniel Brühl, Nina Hoss, and Robin Wright

The world is still reeling over the loss of the great Philip Seymour Hoffman earlier this year.  He was truly one terrific actor who could elevate the caliber of a film with his mere presence on screen.  With the passing of any celebrated artist who was still in the game at the time of his or her death, fans typically flock to theaters to see tha...

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REVIEW: In I Origins, White Peacocks, Strawberry Mentos, & Blind Eisenia Fetida Worms Open the Doors to the Reincarnated Soul Behind the Iris

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, July 27, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
I Origins





Directed By: Mike Cahill


Starring: Michael Pitt, Brit Marling, Astrid Berges-Frisbey, Steven Yeun, Archie Panjabi, William Mapother, and Cara Seymour

Faith seems to be on the minds of indie filmmakers this weekend.  We've got two movies where the central characters find themselves questioning their beliefs, or a lack thereof.  In Woody Allen's Magic in the Moonlight, Colin Firth's Wei Ling Soo finds himself questioning whether there's something more than just the physical human experie...

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REVIEW: Even With a Well-Funded Swear Jar, Milk & Honey Isn't the Drink I Had in Mind for Jewish Comedy-Drama Wish I Was Here

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, July 19, 2014, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Wish I Was Here





Directed By: Zach Braff

Starring: Zach Braff, Donald Faison, Josh Gad, Pierce Gagnon, Ashley Greene, Kate Hudson, Joey King, Jim Parsons, and Mandy Patinkin

This is one of those weekends when I need a little inspiration.  With the exception of Richard Linklater's outstanding Boyhood, I'm less than impressed with what's arriving at both the mainstream and independent box offices.  Like its predecessor, The Purge: Anarchy fails to deliver the thrilling punch it has the power to pac...

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REVIEW: Like Mason in Richard Linklater's Boyhood, We're All Just Winging It Through Life Without Bumpers As the Moment Seizes Us

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, July 19, 2014, In : 0.00% Water 
Boyhood





Directed By: Richard Linklater

Starring: Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater, and Ethan Hawke

I'm always in search of bold, refreshing filmmaking that pushes the bounds of what cinema can be.  Rarely, do I actually find it.   On this otherwise ordinary weekend at the movies, I think we've found something special, something extraordinary.  The vast majority of films go into production for several months.  Well, on this weekend, we have a movie that went into production fo...

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REVIEW: In Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Koba Lives by a Code Other Than Caesar's Ape Not Kill Ape — War

Posted by James Brown on Friday, July 11, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes





Directed By: Matt Reeves

Starring: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Toby Kebbell, Judy Greer, Kodi Smit-McPhee

"Ape not kill ape.  Ape together strong."

This summer seems to have climaxed pretty early.  I'd make the case that we peaked with Bryan Singer's X-Men: Days of Future Past a couple of months ago.  I know that there are a few mindless moviegoers who will stand by Michael Bay's recently released Transformers: Age of Extinction, but most h...

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REVIEW: In Begin Again, Two Lost Stars Wade Through the Strings of the Music Industry to Record a Pearl, An Outdoor Album in NYC

Posted by James Brown on Thursday, July 3, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Begin Again





Directed By: John Carney

Starring: Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Hailee Steinfeld, Adam Levine, James Corden, Cee Lo Green, Catherine Keener, and Mos Def

This year has yielded some solid films, but it undoubtedly pales in comparison to 2013, and even more so to 2012.  We just haven't had a consistent wave of quality films hitting the box office.  As we approach the Fourth of July holiday weekend, I hope we have a few solid summer flicks in the works.  The first film I've opted to ta...

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REVIEW: Watch Me Tell You How Third Person's White is Indeed the Color of Trust, Belief, & the Lies Michael Tells Himself

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, June 28, 2014, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Third Person





Directed By: Paul Haggis

Starring: Liam Neeson, Milan Kunis, Adrien Brody, Olivia Wilde, James Franco, Moran Atias, Maria Bello, and Kim Basinger


It's not too often that we get Paul Haggis sitting in the director's chair.  After all, it's been four years since The Next Three Days and seven since In the Valley of Elah.  He spends far more time writing movies like Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, though he hasn't been particularly active on this front in the last several years eit...

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REVIEW: In Jersey Boys, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons Don't Honor the Jersey Contract Put Forth in the Broadway Original

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, June 21, 2014, In : 0.12% Hard Liquor 
Jersey Boys





Directed By: Clint Eastwood

Starring: John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Michael Lomenda, Vincent Piazza, and Christopher Walken

It suffices to say that talking to an empty chair hasn't exactly paid dividends for American cinema icon Clint Eastwood.  I can say with ease that I lost some respect for Harry the day he got his hands dirty in the game of politics.  The five-time Oscar winner has been relegated to baseball movies like Trouble With the Curve.  Now, the Million Dollar Baby and ...

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REVIEW: For a Doctor to Launch a Petrochemical Repurposing Facility, Tickle Head Harbor Organizes the Grand Seduction of Cricket & Fishing

Posted by James Brown on Thursday, June 19, 2014, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
The Grand Seduction





Directed By: Don McKellar

Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Brendan Gleeson, Liane Balaban, and Gordon Pinsent

My movie reviews are the product of my passion for or against a film.  I know this sounds like a rather mundane, obvious statement, but it's something I see in every piece I pen on a movie.  If I really love or hate a movie, I'll go to bat for it or tear it to shreds.  If, however, I feel nothing for a movie one way or the other, my ensuing review accordingly lacks inspiratio...

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REVIEW: Thanks to the Pee Farter, Pregnant Standup Comic & Obvious Child Donna Stern Has an Abortion on the Worst/Best Valentine's Day Ever

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, June 14, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Obvious Child





Directed By: Gillian Robespierre


Starring: Jenny Slate, Jake Lacy, Gaby Hoffman, David Cross, Polly Draper, and Richard Kind


In the midst of Obvious Child, Gaby Hoffman has a scene-stealing moment during which she takes it to the judicial branch of government for legislating from the bench, particularly as it relates to the matters of a woman's body and abortion.  While I concur with Hoffman's character, there's a larger systemic issue at play here.  Judicial activism is a product ...

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REVIEW: The Fault in Our Stars – Teenagers Swoon As Hazel And Gus Bond Over An Imperial Affliction

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Saturday, June 7, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
The Fault in Our Stars
SoberFilmChick




Directed by:  Josh Boone

Starring: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff, Laura Dern, Sam Trammell, and Willem Dafoe


Viewing The Fault in Our Stars was a traumatic experience.  Not because of the content of the film, but because I was trapped in a theater with hundreds of girls ranging from eleven to sixteen years old who had read and apparently memorized John Green’s novel.  I was spared seeing the Twilight films in theaters, so I was wholly unprepared...
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REVIEW: In the War of Words and Pictures, the Love Between Honors English Teacher Jack Marcus & Honors Art Instructor Dina Delsanto Wins

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, June 7, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Words and Pictures





Directed By: Fred Schepisi

Starring: Clive Owen, Juliette Binoche, Amy Brenneman, and Keegan Connor Tracy

Movie critics can be so snarky and judgmental.  I know I'm saying this in the strangest of places — a movie review — but sometimes my fellow critics just hate a film to hate it.  As I was wrapping up my review of this weekend's Words and Pictures, I took a look at Rotten Tomatoes and saw that a film that I actually quite enjoyed sits at a lowly 40%.  I saw comments ess...

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REVIEW: Facing Deportation & Losing Her Sister Magda on Ellis Island to Tuberculosis, The Immigrant Ewa Turns to Bruno & the Bandits' Roost Theater

Posted by James Brown on Monday, May 26, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
The Immigrant





Directed By: James Gray

Starring: Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix, and Jeremy Renner

Because I get the pleasure of reviewing both mainstream and independent flicks, some movies are just ill-timed.  Take The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for instance.  Though a fun, wonderful film, it wasn't exactly the movie to see the same day as The AvengersLincoln wasn't exactly the most riveting film to follow up Skyfall either.  On the weekend of X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Immigrant is ...

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REVIEW: Palo Alto — I'm Not Bob

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, May 18, 2014, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Palo Alto





Directed By: Gia Coppola


Starring: Emma Roberts, James Franco, Val Kilmer, Nat Wolff, Christian Madsen, Keegan Allen, Chris Messina, Jack Kilmer, and Colleen Camp


2013 was such a great year for coming-of-age movies.  We had the likes of Mud, The Kings of Summer, The Way, Way Back, The Spectacular Now, and even arguably Spring Breakers.  2014 doesn't seem to be an equally great year so far.  There simply don't seem to be that many worthwhile coming-of-age movies this year.  The first on...

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REVIEW: Unlike the Working Men of God's Pocket, Racist Day Laborer Leon Hubbard Doesn't Leave His Family, Life, or Legend With Dignity

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, May 18, 2014, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
God's Pocket





Directed By: John Slattery

Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Richard Jenkins, Christina Hendricks, John Turturro, Caleb Landry Jones, and Eddie Marsan

"The working men of God's Pocket are simple men.  Everyone here has stolen something from somebody else, or when they were kids, they set someone's house on fire, or they ran away when they should have stayed and fought."
-Richard Shellburn (Richard Jenkins)

The right movie quote can say everything about the film in which it is uttered ...

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REVIEW: Mr. JB Bernstein Channels His Inner Don Draper to Launch Million Dollar Arm & Make Dreams Come True for Rinku Singh & Dinesh Kumar Patel

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, May 11, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Million Dollar Arm





Directed By: Craig Gillespie

Starring: Jon Hamm, Aasif Mandvi, Bill Paxton, Lake Bell, Suraj Sharma, Madhur Mittal, Pitobash, Allyn Rachel, and Alan Arkin

I'm not a fan of splitting up the finale of a movie or a television show.  It's just another way for studios to milk the proverbial cash cow.  There was no real need for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Parts 1 and 2.  There was no need for seasons 5A and 5B of Breaking Bad.  There's no need for two The Hunger Games: Mocking...

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REVIEW: Pumping Concrete for His Building & Driving to See His Newborn Baby Out of Wedlock, Locke Rocks...Just a Little

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, May 11, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Locke





Directed By: Steven Knight

Starring: Tom Hardy


I'm a huge proponent of bold, innovative filmmaking.  I'm all for writers and directors tapping into their creative juices to bring us unique cinematic visions that blow moviegoers away. That's why I've been so intrigued with Steven Knight's indie drama Locke.  The concept of a movie taking place solely from the front wheel of a car is undoubtedly challenging, but I believed it could be far more rewarding when I first learned of the film.  It ...

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REVIEW: Given the Contaminated O Negative Zombie Blood in Detroit & Tangier, Only Vampire Lovers Adam & Eve Are Left Alive

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, April 20, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Only Lovers Left Alive





Directed By: Jim Jarmusch

Starring: Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska, Anton Yelchin, John Hurt, and Jeffrey Wright

When it comes to movies, I love to be proven wrong.  I'm happy when a movie exceeds my expectations (provided that it's good).  I'm happy when a movie is not what I envisioned and is something different (better) altogether.  One thing I've noticed is that this happens far more often in independent cinema than mainstream.  I guess that shouldn't be...

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REVIEW: Thanks to a Map, a Radio, & Hellacious Torture, Railway Man Eric Lomax & Japanese Interpreter Takashi Nagase Become Good Friends

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, April 20, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
The Railway Man





Directed By: Jonathan Teplitzky


Starring: Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman, Jeremy Irvine, Stellan Skarsgård, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Tanroh Ishida


At the beginning of time the clock struck one
Then dropped the dew and the clock struck two
From the dew grew a tree and the clock struck three
The tree made a door and the clock struck four
Man came alive and the clock struck five
Count not, waste not the years on the clock
Behold I stand at the door and knock.

-Eric Lomax (Colin Firth)

If any...

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REVIEW: For Crossroads Wesleyan Church Pastor Todd Burpo Heaven Is for Real When the Angels Sing to His Son Colton Like the Lion, the Bear & the Unicorn

Posted by James Brown on Friday, April 18, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Heaven Is for Real





Directed By: Randall Wallace


Starring: Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly, Connor Corum, Jacob Vargas, Nancy Sorel, Thomas Haden Church, and Margo Martindale

It's been a big year for Christian moviegoers.  Though many balked at the prospect of Darren Aronofsky's biblical epic Noah, there have been a slew of other religious films aimed at churchgoing viewers.  Back in February, Jesus performed a miracle or two in Son of God.  In the month of March, Hercules became an atheist to debate ...

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REVIEW: Unlucky S.O.B. Dom Hemingway, a Man With No Options, Suddenly Has All the Options in the World When the Pendulum of Luck Swings His Way

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, April 13, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Dom Hemingway





Directed By: Richard Shepard

Starring: Jude Law, Richard E. Grant, Demián Bichir, Emilia Clarke, Kerry Condon, Jumayn Hunter, and Mãdãlina Diana Ghenea

"Oh.  I'll tell you who I am.  I'm the f*cker who'll tear your nose off with my teeth.  I'm the f*cker who will gut you with a dull cheese knife and sing Gilbert and Sullivan while I do it.  I'm the f*cker who'll dump your dead body in a freezing cold lake and watch you sink to the bottom like so much shit.  I am that f*cker.  Th...

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REVIEW: For No. 1 Pick Bo Callahan & His Magic Beans, Cleveland Browns General Manager Sonny Weaver Sells the Cow on Draft Day

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, April 12, 2014, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Draft Day





Directed By: Ivan Reitman

Starring: Kevin Costner, Jennifer Garner, Denis Leary, Frank Langella, Sam Elliott, Ellen Burstyn, and Chadwick Boseman


I despise utterly predictable films.  As a moviegoer, there's nothing worse than wasting my time on a movie that offers nothing refreshing or imaginative whatsoever.  Arguably, that's most of what we're facing at the box office this weekend.  We've got another animated sequel in Rio 2 intended to tap into parents' wallets.  We've also got ano...

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REVIEW: During Le Week-End, Nick & Meg Do the Madison Dance From Jean-Luc Godard’s Bande à part All Throughout Paris

Posted by James Brown on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Le Week-End





Directed By: Roger Michell

Starring: Jim Broadbent, Lindsay Duncan, and Jeff Goldblum

A rainy weekend means one thing for most people — staying at home and getting some R&R.  Whether burying ourselves in movies, video games, or nice fluffy pillows, I'm sure we all are finding some way to enjoy the rainy weather.  For me, the rain drops falling means the same old stuff.  I'm headed to the movies to check out the latest and greatest in theaters.  The latest, but not exactly the great...

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REVIEW: Despite the Wicked Tubul-cain, Noah & Fallen Angels Known as the Watchers Brace for Some Watery Climate Change from the Creator

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, March 29, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Noah





Directed By: Darren Aronofsky

Starring: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth, and Anthony Hopkins

In my reviews of Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac films, I wrote at length about how more socially conservative moviegoers bashed the film without having seen it.  In the case of Darren Aronofsky's Noah, the studio enabled this portion of the moviegoing public to take some shots at the movie long before it arrived in theaters.  Holding test scree...

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REVIEW: Whether a Hungry Tiger or a Deformed Tree on a Hill Named Fido, Nymphomaniac Joe Tells Us 3 + 5 = 8 All Over Again in Volume II

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, March 22, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Nymphomaniac: Volume II





Directed By: Lars von Trier


Starring: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Willem Dafoe, Jamie Bell, Stacy Martin, Mia Goth, Michael Pas, and Shia LaBeouf

Lars von Trier's Trilogy of Depression is no longer really a trilogy.  With the unedited cut of Nymphomaniac topping five hours, this movie was destined from the beginning to require two parts.  This means that the Danish sex addiction drama has had twice as many chances to ruffle the feathers of more socially cons...

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REVIEW: For the Painting Boy With Apple, Grand Budapest Hotel Concierge M. Gustave & Lobby Boy Zero Find Glimmers of Humanity at Checkpoint 19

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, March 15, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
The Grand Budapest Hotel





Directed By: Wes Anderson

Starring: Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Jude Law, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Léa Seydoux, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson, Owen Wilson, and Tony Revolori

Wes Anderson is back!  Indie film lovers everywhere will have some good laughs this weekend.  In his follow-up to his mega hit Moonrise Kingdom, the acclaimed director has assembled o...

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REVIEW: With the Empty Lunchbox, the Wrong Train Gets Saajan & Ila to the Right Station — Bhutan

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, March 9, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
The Lunchbox (Dabba)





Directed By: Ritesh Batra

Starring: Irrfan Khan, Nimrat Kaur, and Nawazuddin Siddiqui


"Sometimes the wrong train will get you to the right station."
-Shaikh (Nawazuddin Siddiqui)

2014 marks another year in which the Academy got it wrong, particularly for Best Foreign Language Film.  Sure, The Great Beauty rightfully was nominated and won the award.  The problem is that it didn't face off with the other great foreign language films of the year like The Past and Blue Is the Warm...

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REVIEW: With Fly Fishing, Ash Trees, Fibonacci Numbers, & Polyphony, Nymphomaniac: Volume 1 Makes Love the Metaphorical Cantus Firmus of Sex

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, March 9, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Nymphomaniac: Volume I





Directed By: Lars von Trier

Starring: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård, Stacy Martin, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Uma Thurman, and Connie Nielsen

"When the ash tree was created, it made all the other trees in the forest jealous.  It was the most beautiful tree.  You couldn't say anything bad about it.  Then, in the winter, when the ash tree lost all of its leaves, all the trees noticed the black buds and started laughing.  'Oh look!  The a...

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REVIEW: The Broken Circle Breakdown – A Heart-Wrenching Tale of Love, Loss, Religion and Bluegrass

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Saturday, March 1, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
The Broken Circle Breakdown
SoberFilmChick




Directed by: Felix Van Groeningen


Starring:  Veerle Baetens, Johan Heldenbergh, Nell Cattrysse, Geert Van Rampelberg


President Barack Obama once said that having a child is like having your heart walking around outside of your body.  That comment always struck me.  When you have a son or a daughter, you become vulnerable and exposed because of your overwhelming love for that child.  As a parent, your worst fear is that some type of harm will come to your...

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REVIEW: Thérèse and Laurent Don't Make a Sound & Keep Quiet In Their Secret Affair

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, February 23, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
In Secret





Directed By: Charlie Stratton


Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Felton, Oscar Isaac, and Jessica Lange

I've shied away from indie cinema for the last several weeks or so.  Things typically remain quiet on this front during the awards season.  Sure, I've missed a couple of foreign flicks such as Gloria and Like Father, Like Son, but indie theaters have primarily been screening awards darlings like Her, Dallas Buyers Club, and 12 Years a Slave.  Given that the awards season is coming to an ...

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REVIEW: The Hunt A.K.A. Jagten – A Modern Day Scarlet Letter

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Saturday, February 8, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 

The Hunt
SoberFilmChick




Directed by: Thomas Vinterberg

Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Alexandra Rapaport, Annika Wedderkopp, and Lasse Fogelstrom

Within the last week, Hollywood has been rocked as the molestation allegations against Woody Allen resurfaced.  Allen’s stepdaughter Dylan Farrow wrote an open letter chastising Hollywood for honoring the man who allegedly molested her as a child.  Battles have been waged on daytime talk shows disputing the issue, and articles have be...


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REVIEW: To Protect the Bruges Madonna and Child & Prevent the Führer Museum, The Monuments Men Undertake One Boring Assignment

Posted by James Brown on Friday, February 7, 2014, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
The Monuments Men





Directed By: George Clooney

Starring: George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, and Cate Blanchett

Unless you're Martin Scorsese and getting geared up to release the next The Wolf of Wall Street, getting your movie's release date pushed back within just months of its arrival in theaters is an ominous sign.  Not that it ever really had a chance at greatness, but I'm sure you all remember last year's G.I. Joe: Retaliation....

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REVIEW: Over Labor Day Weekend, Henry and Adele Wheeler Learn About Peach Pie & Baseball Thanks to Escaped Convict Frank Chambers

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, February 2, 2014, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Labor Day





Directed By: Jason Reitman

Starring: Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Gattlin Griffith, Tobey Maguire, and Clark Gregg

Jason Reitman's Labor Day certainly has some odd timing.  Coming out just after the Christmas season and MLK Day, a movie themed around the holiday that closes the summer just doesn't feel right.  I know that Valentine's Day is right around the corner and that romances are a dime a dozen around this time of the year.  Regardless, the timing of the movie just doesn't feel rig...

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REVIEW: Best Man Down – Lumpy’s Secret Life Is Uncovered In This Comedy Drama

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Sunday, January 26, 2014, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Best Man Down
SoberFilmChick




Directed by: Ted Koland


Starring: Justin Long, Jess Weixler, Tyler Labine, Addison Timlin, Shelley Long, and Frances O’Connor

Happy belated New Year movie lovers!  I am delighted to return to the movie review scene after a brief holiday hiatus.  My first review of 2014 is Justin Long’s indie flick Best Man Down.  Although billed as a dark comedy, this uneven film is at times touching, but never humorous.

Scott (Long) and Kristin (Jess Weixler) are having the time o...

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REVIEW: In the Shadows of the Frozen Deep, Charles Dickens Dryly Oscillates Between His Public Love & Secret Invisible Woman Nelly "Lawless" Ternan

Posted by James Brown on Monday, January 20, 2014, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
The Invisible Woman





Directed By: Ralph Fiennes


Starring: Ralph Fiennes, Felicity Jones, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Tom Hollander

"A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other."
-Charles Dickens

Ralph Fiennes is one of the few big screen talents who can seamlessly navigate between the worlds of big budget blockbusters and indie cinema.  He's a very versatile talent and has proven it time and time again.  After all, h...

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REVIEW: With a Blood-Stained Dress, Love Letter Emails & Suicide by Detergent, The Past Is Steeped in One Rich Mystery

Posted by James Brown on Monday, January 13, 2014, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
The Past (Le Passé)





Directed By: Asghar Farhadi


Starring: Bérénice Bejo, Tahar Rahim, and Ali Mosaffa

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has gotten it wrong on many, many occasions.  With this year's Oscar nominations to be announced later this week, let's talk about a film the Academy won't even consider nominating.  When the Academy announced its short list of foreign language film contenders — an all-inclusive list of potential nominees — several films were noticeably abse...

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REVIEW: Despite Mouth Cancer, "Lay Down Sally" and Truth-Telling Are Drug Addict Violet Weston's Specialties in August: Osage County

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, January 11, 2014, In : 0.00% Water 
August: Osage County





Directed By: John Wells

Starring: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis, Julianne Nicholson, Margo Martindale, Dermot Mulroney, Sam Shepard, and Misty Upham

Earlier this week, Emma Thompson was named Best Actress at the National Board of Review awards dinner in New York.  The Saving Mr. Banks star was honored by fellow actress Meryl Streep.  Unlike blander ceremonies such as the Golden Globes and the O...

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REVIEW: Unlike the Movie, Marcus Luttrell, Frogman & Lone Survivor of Operation Red Wings, Is Saved by the Code of Honor Pashtunwali

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, January 11, 2014, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Lone Survivor





Directed By: Peter Berg


Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, and Eric Bana


"There’s a storm inside of us.  I’ve heard many team guys speak of this.  A burning.  A river.  A drive.  An unrelenting desire to push yourself harder and further than anyone could think possible."
-SO1 Mark Luttrell (Mark Wahlberg)

I try to stay away from other critics' reviews before I see a movie.  Every now and then, however, my eyes wander, and I find myself delving into ...

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REVIEW: From Prisoner to President, Mandela Wears Some Long Trousers on His Long Walk to Freedom

Posted by James Brown on Thursday, December 26, 2013, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom





Directed By: Justin Chadwick

Starring: Idris Elba and Naomie Harris


We lost a global icon this year.  With the passing of Nelson Mandela several weeks ago, we should celebrate this legendary leader's accomplishments and honor his legacy.  As it turns out, Hollywood is doing just that in their own way this awards season.  Though not the means to combat poverty or eradicate social injustice, the biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom is the means by which another genera...

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REVIEW: Wolf of Wall Street & Lude Addict Jordan Belfort Rises in a Straight Line from Pond Scum to One Rich Oompa Loompa Selling Pens at Stratton Oakmont

Posted by James Brown on Thursday, December 26, 2013, In : 0.00% Water 
The Wolf of Wall Street





Directed By: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Jean Dujardin, Matthew McConaughey, Margot Robbie, Jon Favreau, Kyle Chandler, Cristin Milioti, and Rob Reiner

I've always believed that the Academy is too stuffy for its own good.  Mostly comprised of old white men, it doesn't exactly embrace the cutting edge films of the day.  You can look to Steve McQueen and Michael Fassbender getting ignored for their great work in Shame two years ago.  You can loo...

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REVIEW: Ground Control to Major Tom! Though Not Adventurous, Brave, or Creative, Ben Stiller Tries to Capture the Quintessence of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Posted by James Brown on Wednesday, December 25, 2013, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty





Directed By: Ben Stiller

Starring: Ben Stiller, Kristen Wiig, Shirley MacLaine, Adam Scott, Kathryn Hahn, and Sean Penn

-“To see things thousands of miles away, things hidden behind walls and within rooms, things dangerous to come to, to draw closer, to see and be amazed.”
LIFE Magazine Motto

Everybody wants to be an actor-director these days.  Clint Eastwood and Woody Allen were once the exceptions.  Since Ben Affleck took home the Best Picture Oscar for Argo e...

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REVIEW: Saying No to Pears, Animation, & Everything Else, Mary Poppins' Family P.L. Travers is Perfectly Capable of Saving Mr. Banks

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, December 21, 2013, In : 0.00% Water 
Saving Mr. Banks





Directed By: John Lee Hancock

Starring: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, Rachel Griffiths, Ruth Wilson, and Colin Farrell

"Winds in the east, mist coming in.
Like somethin' is brewin' and bout to begin.
Can't put me finger on what lies in store.
But I fear what's to happen all happened before.
"
-Travers Goff (Colin Farrell)

It would be an understatement to say that our generation of moviegoers is a jaded, cynical one.  Anything that is che...

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REVIEW: If We Had Wings, The Coens & Their Cat Ulysses Would Take Us Soaring From the Gaslight Cafe With Some Soulful Folk Songs in Inside Llewyn Davis

Posted by James Brown on Friday, December 20, 2013, In : 0.00% Water 
Inside Llewyn Davis





Directed By: Joel & Ethan Coen

Starring: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, and Justin Timberlake

As I conclude another year of running STMR, I've begun reflecting on all the movies I've seen and the hundreds of reviews I've written during the 2+ years since the site was founded.  After doing so, I can say one thing with the utmost confidence.  I have absolutely no idea what movies I'll end up loving.  With the holiday mass of films starting to crowd ...

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REVIEW: In the Rotten & Delicious American Hustle, Irving Rosenfeld Survives Ice Fishing in Atlantic City With the FBI Thanks to Sydney's London Banking Connections

Posted by James Brown on Thursday, December 12, 2013, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
American Hustle





Directed By: David O. Russell

Starring: Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, Louis C.K., Michael Peña, and Robert De Niro

Director David O. Russell has a way of making authentically American films that's undeniable.  Just look at his two most recent films, The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook.  What could be more American than boxing or the Philadelphia Eagles?  Russell's answer to that was apparently getting over on people.  In his lat...

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REVIEW: Seeing The Great Beauty of Roma as a Vanishing Trick, Jep Gambardello, King of the High Life, Does Know Why He Never Wrote Another Novel

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, December 8, 2013, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza)





Directed By: Paolo Sorrentino

Starring: Toni Servillo, Carlo Verdone, Sabrina Ferilli, Carlo Buccirosso, Iaia Forte, and Pamela Villoresi


It's been a week to remember.  On Wednesday, President Obama gave a potent speech advocating for the poor that might just indicate the direction for the rest of his second term.  On Thursday, we lost a giant of the twentieth century in former South African President Nelson Mandela, a fierce opponent of not just against apa...

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REVIEW: Out Of the Furnace – Although the Acting Is Compelling At Times, This Depressing Tale Has a Bad Ending

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Saturday, December 7, 2013, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Out of the Furnace
SoberFilmChick




Directed By: Scott Cooper

Starring: Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, Zoe Saldana, and Sam Shepard

Merry Christmas movie lovers!  We have hit the second best time of the year for movies.  This week is a slow one as it does not contain any big budget releases.  During a brief hiatus from blockbusters like The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Frozen and the new Hobbit movie, Relativity Media released its dark drama, Out of t...

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REVIEW: For a New Truck & Compressor, Woody Grant Endures the Circling Vultures in Hawthorne on His Way to Lincoln, Nebraska for His Million Dollars

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, December 1, 2013, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Nebraska





Directed By: Alexander Payne

Starring: Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, Stacy Keach, and Bob Odenkirk

Bruce Dern was not a lock for the role of Woody Grant in Nebraska.  Director Alexander Payne sought out several other talents prior to casting Dern in the role.  He reportedly went after his About Schmidt star Jack Nicholson.  Rumor has it that the notoriously picky screen legend turned him down.  Payne also sought out actor Gene Hackman.  The retired star called it a wrap after Wel...

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REVIEW: Black Nativity – Great Music, But This Langston Hughes’ Musical Is Thin On Substance

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Saturday, November 30, 2013, In : 0.09% Cocktails 

Black Nativity
SoberFilmChick




Directed by: Kasi Lemmons

Starring:  Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Tyrese Gibson, Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Nas, and Jacob Latimore

Black Nativity should have been the perfect storm for movie magic.  It stars a heavy lineup of Oscar winning and nominated actors, including Forest Whitaker, Jennifer Hudson and Angela Bassett.  Black Nativity is set during the holiday season, it revolves around Christianity and family, and is based on a La...


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REVIEW: In Philomena, the Evil Nuns at Roscrea Abbey Ease Martin Sixsmith's Choice Between Russian History & Human Interest Stories

Posted by James Brown on Wednesday, November 27, 2013, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Philomena





Directed By: Stephen Frears


Starring: Judi Dench and Steve Coogan


At the start of the Thanksgiving weekend, the last thing I thought I needed was a movie about some old lady trying to find her long-lost son.  Even with Dame Judi Dench, Philomena sounded like a made-for-television movie you'd find on Lifetime or the Hallmark channel in the wee hours of the night.  Nonetheless, I've now seen it, and I must admit that I was quite wrong.  Stephen Frears's Philomena packs a surprising punch...

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REVIEW: Reading About Grave Digging & Playing the Accordion, Book Thief Liesel and Her Papa Hans Don't Make the Cut

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, November 16, 2013, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
The Book Thief





Directed By: Brian Percival

Starring: Sophie Nélisse, Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, and Ben Schnetzer

I've said this before, and I'll say it again.  Independent filmmakers need to stop making World War II movies.  In the last year or so, we've had Lore, Emperor, and Simon and the Oaks.  Now, we have The Book Thief, another film that takes us back to the so-called greatest generation and the dark days marked by the Holocaust.  While I certainly respect the history, it's been done a...

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REVIEW: In Great Expectations, the Spider and a Mysterious Benefactor Are at Play with Pip

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, November 10, 2013, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Great Expectations





Directed By: Mike Newell

Starring: Jeremy Irvine, Helena Bonham Carter, Holliday Grainger, Ralph Fiennes, and Robbie Coltrane


We all know there's been a growing trend in which movie stars are headlining cable TV shows.  While it's been a great way for us to get a weekly dose of actors with immense talents, it's also been a way for lesser known talents to make a splash into the industry and gain recognition.  For every Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan) or Laura Linney (The Big C), t...

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REVIEW: Battling Against the FDA & AZT, AIDS-Stricken Bull Rider Ron Woodroof Launches the Dallas Buyers Club

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, November 9, 2013, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Dallas Buyers Club





Directed By: Jean-Marc Vailée

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, and Jared Leto

I recently discovered Breaking Bad.  For the last three weeks, I've been inhaling the saga of Walter White day and night.  I've been so addicted to the series that I actually completed it in its entirety as of two nights ago.  The circumstances under which this high school chemistry teacher stricken with lung cancer becomes a drug kingpin are unbelievable.  Walter "Heisenberg" White d...

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REVIEW: In How I Live Now, Daisy's Will Power Is Not Quite Enough, Especially When It Comes to Cow Cheese

Posted by James Brown on Wednesday, November 6, 2013, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
How I Live Now





Directed By: Kevin Macdonald

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Tom Holland, Anna Chancellor, George MacKay, and Harley Bird

"If the world doesn't end, that's how I want to be, here with you.  And that's how I live now."
-Daisy (Saoirse Ronan)

Romances can kill movies sometimes.  The undying need to have repeatedly schmaltzy moments can sap away all the energy on screen.  I'm sure there are a million movies that fit this description.  The worst ones usually involve teens.  When this happens, ...

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REVIEW: For Adèle, Emma's Blue is the Warmest, Sexiest Color

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, November 3, 2013, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Blue is the Warmest Color





Directed By: Abdellatif Kechiche

Starring: Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux

Since founding STMR, I've been to more movies than I care to count.  Because of this, I've seen and interacted with all kinds of audiences.  Until last night, I thought I had seen it all.  When I attended a screening of Blue is the Warmest Color, however, I checked off one more thing I never could have anticipated, especially at an independent theater.  As you may know, Palme d'Or winner Bl...

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REVIEW: All Is Lost for the Virginia Jean and Her Crafty Captain Robert Redford

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, October 26, 2013, In : 0.00% Water 
All Is Lost





Directed By: J.C. Chandor

Starring: Robert Redford

In the 2012 awards season, veteran directors stepped up to the plate.  We saw the likes of Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, Kathryn Bigelow, and Ang Lee rising to the occasion and putting out great movies.  To some extent, the opposite is happening this year.  For instance, first-time director Ryan Coogler has got plenty of Oscar buzz for his poignant drama Fruitvale Station.  The same can be said for director Steve McQueen, who ...

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REVIEW: #HaveYouBeenBad? For All Its Drugs, Diamonds, & Cheetahs, The Counselor Strangely Doesn't Fit the Bill

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, October 26, 2013, In : 0.12% Hard Liquor 
The Counselor





Directed By: Ridley Scott


Starring: Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, and Brad Pitt


Some movies seem like the perfect recipe for success on paper but unexpectedly turn out to be failures on the grandest of scales.  Until today, the best example in recent memory was the 2007 thriller Lions for Lambs.  The film starred Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep, and Robert Redford.  To top things off, Redford was playing multiple roles by sitting in the director's chair ...

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REVIEW: Julian Assange May Have Hundreds of Volunteers in The Fifth Estate, But They Don't Get the Information Revolution Started Right

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, October 19, 2013, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
The Fifth Estate





Directed By: Bill Condon


Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Brühl, Anthony Mackie, David Thewlis, Alicia Vikander, Stanley Tucci, and Laura Linney

As the media unanimously covered the GOP's shutdown of the federal government and their manufactured debt ceiling crisis, some news fell through the cracks this week.  Recently, a judge in New York approved the NSA's continued bulk collection of Americans' call logs, something to which I would imagine most Americans are vehementl...

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REVIEW: 12 Years a Slave, Solomon Northrup Brilliantly Plays the Fiddle as Georgia Runaway Platt to Survive Until Freedom is Opportunity

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, October 19, 2013, In : 0.00% Water 
12 Years a Slave





Directed By: Steve McQueen

Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Lupita Nyong'o, Sarah Paulson, Brad Pitt, Alfre Woodard, Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry, and Adepero Oduye

In a review two months ago, I wrote about how filmmakers are taking us to school this year.  With films like Fruitvale Station, Lee Daniels' The Butler, and even 42, we've gotten a healthy dose of black history from Hollywood.  We've arrived at our fi...

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REVIEW: Yankee Irish Captain Phillips Grabs Seat 15 for Dear Life When Somali Pirates Board the Cargo Ship the Maersk Alabama as Fishermen

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, October 6, 2013, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Captain Phillips





Directed By: Paul Greengrass


Starring: Tom Hanks, Catherine Keener, and Barkhad Abdi

The fall movie season undoubtedly had a rocky start.  We had a rough first few weeks with duds like Getaway, Riddick, and The Family.  With movies like these, I was beginning to get a little disillusioned with Hollywood.  Once the awards contenders began landing at the box office in rapid succession, however, things kicked into gear.  Over the last several weeks, we've had great films like Priso...

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REVIEW: Runner Runner – Richie Furst Fails in This Online Gambling Drama, #nodisrespecttobenaffleck

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Saturday, October 5, 2013, In : 0.12% Hard Liquor 
Runner Runner
SoberFilmChick




Directed by: Brad Furman

Starring: Justin Timberlake, Gemma Arterton, Anthony Mackie, and Ben Affleck
`
I knew that Runner Runner was going to be a bad movie.  I am not a part of the “I hate Ben Affleck” fan club.  To the contrary, Affleck has had some great films: Good Will Hunting, Dogma, Argo, and The Town to name a few.  I did not join the countless fanatics that practically shut down Twitter when Affleck was cast as the new Batman.  I think he is a radically d...

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REVIEW: Given Clear Skies with a Chance of Satellite Debris, All Eyes Are on Dr. Ryan Stone and Her Journey Over that Big Blue Earth with No Gravity

Posted by James Brown on Friday, October 4, 2013, In : 0.00% Water 
Gravity





Directed By: Alfonso Cuarón


Starring: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, and Ed Harris

When it comes to technically impressive films, Avatar has long been my gold standard.  There's nothing quite like being immersed in James Cameron's daring vision of Pandora.  While I've got tremendous respect for the movie from a special effects standpoint, I've always thought that the story lacked substance.  When I initially heard of Gravity, I had similar concerns.  The trailer looked incredible, but ...

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REVIEW: For Spunky Little Girl Wadjda, Memorizing and Reciting the Koran is the Key to Riding Her Own Bike

Posted by James Brown on Monday, September 30, 2013, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Wadjda





Directed By: Haifaa al-Monsour

Starring: Waad Mohammed, Reem Abdullah, and Abdullrahman Al Gohani


Cinema is at its absolute best when it exposes us to different ways of thinking, different belief systems, and different ways of life.  A movie is a way of transporting one's culture all across the globe to viewers of all backgrounds.  With the homogeneity of blockbuster filmmaking in Hollywood, you're often not going to find this in mainstream cinema.  You have to set your sights on independ...

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REVIEW: During Estate Manager François's Last Harvest, the Land Chooses Philippe to Be Paul's Son & Heir Instead of Martin

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, September 29, 2013, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
You Will Be My Son





Directed By: Gilles Legrand


Starring: Niels Arestrup, Lorànt Deutsch, Nicolas Bridet, Anne Marivin, and Patrick Chesnais

As I've matured, I've made an interesting transition as a drinker.  I used to be all about the spirits.  I had a love for cocktails and martinis of all kinds.  Specifically, I was a gin man.  Things have changed as time has marched on.  Nowadays, I prefer wine to spirits, especially white wines.  I guess the transition to wine happens for a good chunk of us...

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REVIEW: Masseuse Eva Hears More Than Enough Said about Her Flabby Boyfriend Albert from Human TripAdvisor and Poet Marianne

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, September 28, 2013, In : 0.00% Water 
Enough Said





Directed By: Nicole Holofcener

Starring: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, James Gandolfini, Catherine Keener, Toni Collette, Ben Falcone, and Toby Huss


We've lost many iconic figures in Hollywood this year.  We've said goodbye to the likes of Roger Ebert, Jean Stapleton, and even Cory Monteith.  Though celebrity deaths generally don't take an emotional toll on me.  I do have to say that I was troubled by James Gandolfini's passing earlier this year.  The beloved actor made his mark on the world ...

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REVIEW: In Formula One Racing Movie Rush, the Intense Rivalry Between Superstar James Hunt & Asshole Niki Lauda Blazes Like No Other

Posted by James Brown on Friday, September 27, 2013, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Rush





Directed By: Ron Howard

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brühl, Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara, Pierfrancesco Favino, David Calder, and Natalie Dormer

It would be an understatement to say that I had low expectations for Rush.  Let's be real.  Did anyone really expect a serious awards contender out of a racing movie led by Thor?  I sure as hell did not.  I knew the film had Ron Howard in the director's chair.  I knew that there was a rich, intriguing story for Howard to tell based on t...

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REVIEW: Sex Addiction Comedy Thanks for Sharing Lets Its Inhibitions Run a Little Too Wild

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, September 21, 2013, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Thanks for Sharing





Directed By: Stuart Blumberg

Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins, Gwyneth Paltrow, Josh Gad, Joely Richardson, Alecia Moore, and Patrick Fugit

Addiction is a rarely funny subject that's often dramatized on the big screen.  More often than not, you're going to see films like Flight, Smashed, and Shame hitting theaters when it comes to depicting folks looking to get their latest fix.  This weekend, things are a little different.  Director Stuart Blumberg and his cast are adding ...

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REVIEW: In Afternoon Delight, Rachel Throws Sex Worker Bomb McKenna on Her Life With Husband Jeff Boyardee

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, September 7, 2013, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Afternoon Delight





Directed By: Jill Soloway

Starring: Kathryn Hahn, Juno Temple, Josh Radnor, Jane Lynch, and Jessica St. Clair

I will never know what it's really like to be a bored homemaker.  Beyond the simple fact that I get up and go to work every day, I just can't relate.  It certainly doesn't help that I'm a single guy in my twenties.  At this point in my life, the closest I'll ever get to understanding the boredom that plagues them is watching a few episodes of Desperate Housewives.  With...

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REVIEW: Thérèse Has the Wrong Ideas About Smoking Cigarettes, Arsenic Drops, and Especially the Pines

Posted by James Brown on Monday, September 2, 2013, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Thérèse (Thérèse Desqueyroux)





Directed By: Claude Miller


Starring: Audrey Tautou and Gilles Lellouche


The French had a really good run for a few years with cinema.  Think of films like The Artist, The Intouchables, and Amour.  With the notably consistent quality films that had been coming from across the Atlantic over the last several years, I've come to expect more of them.  Sadly, however, the French have been letting me down this year.  Augustine was a really dry period piece earlier this...

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REVIEW: Given Her Unwanted Pregnancy, Her Abusive Dad's Parole, and Her New Mini-Me Jayden at Short Term 12, Grace May Just Be Going Crazy

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, September 1, 2013, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Short Term 12





Directed By: Destin Daniel Cretton

Starring: Brie Larson, John Gallagher, Jr., Kaitlyn Dever, Rami Malek, and Keith Stanfield

There aren't that many films that tackle the issues of troubled youths, so I must always commend those filmmakers who opt to address these often unaddressed issues on the big screen.  The latest film to do so is Destin Daniel Cretton's Short Term 12.  It's a potent little indie centered by the talented young actress Brie Larson, who you may have just seen se...

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REVIEW: Jobs – Steve Jobs As An Innovative Jerk

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Sunday, August 18, 2013, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Jobs
SoberFilmChick




Directed by: Joshua Michael Stern


Starring:  Ashton Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad, Lukas Haas, J.K. Simmons, Lesley Ann Warren, Ron Eldard, Ahna O’Reilly, John Getz, James Woods, and Matthew Modine

Believe it or not, I did not have any interest in seeing a film about Steve Jobs.  While I respect his legacy and the impact he has had on my life, I was not exactly doing cartwheels when I was tasked with reviewing the film. Sure, I have seen Toy Story, used an iPod, an iPad...

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REVIEW: The Butler Is the Tale of Two Faces Needed to Survive — the Subversive Black Domestic Cecil Gaines and Freedom Rider Louis Gaines

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, August 17, 2013, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Lee Daniels' The Butler





Directed By: Lee Daniels

Starring: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Terrence Howard, David Oyelowo, Vanessa Redgrave, Mariah Carey, Robin Williams, Melissa Leo, James Marsden, Minka Kelly, Liev Schreiber, John Cusack, Alan Rickman, Jane Fonda, Alex Pettyfer, Yaya DaCosta, Colman Domingo, Aml Ameen, Orlando Eric Street, Nelsan Ellis, Alex Manette, Lenny Kravitz, and Jesse Williams


Filmmakers are taking us to school, and black history is front and center t...

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REVIEW: The Girl Next Door Linda Lovelace Obeys Her Husband Chuck Traynor and Becomes an Iconic Porn Star in Deep Throat

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, August 10, 2013, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Lovelace





Directed By: Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman

Starring: Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Sharon Stone, Adam Brody, Juno Temple, James Franco, Hank Azaria, and Bobby Cannavale

I'm no expert on the history of the pornographic industry, and I have no intentions of ever professing to be that.  In all honesty, I've never seen Deep Throat, and I've never gone to an adult movie theater to see a sexploitation film.  All of this old school stuff predates me.  It's simply before my time.  That b...

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REVIEW: In The Spectacular Now, Paper Girl Aimee Finecky Gets Alcoholic Sutter Keely to Write One Hell of a Personal Statement On Hardship

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, August 10, 2013, In : 0.00% Water 
The Spectacular Now





Directed By: James Ponsoldt

Starring: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Kyle Chandler

The summer of coming-of-age movies is coming to a close.  Before we say adios, I'd just like to say that it's been a fun ride.  With films like Mud, The Kings of Summer, and The Way, Way Back, we simply haven't gone wrong.  The closer for this summer is James Ponsoldt's The Spectacular Now, a daring comedy-drama that puts a new me...

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REVIEW: Popping Xanax Pills and Talking to Herself, Blue Jasmine Can't Get Past Her Past With Hal and That Fateful Song Blue Moon

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, August 3, 2013, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Blue Jasmine





Directed By: Woody Allen

Starring: Alec Baldwin, Cate Blanchett, Bobby Cannavale, Louis C.K., Andrew Dice Clay, Sally Hawkins, Peter Sarsgaard, and Michael Stuhlbarg

"Anxiety, nightmares, and a nervous breakdown.  There's only so many traumas a person can take ‘til they take to the streets and start screaming."
-Jasmine (Cate Blanchett)

It's that time of the year again.  Woody Allen has another film out.  However, that shouldn't come as a shock since the beloved director has been pu...

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REVIEW: Drinking Buddies Kate & Luke Act Like Fanatics By Ignoring the Love in the Atmosphere

Posted by James Brown on Tuesday, July 30, 2013, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Drinking Buddies





Directed By: Joe Swanberg

Starring: Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, Ron Livingston, and Jason Sudeikis

If this year has proven anything, it's that romance films are all but dead.  Just take a good look at the movies of 2013, and see if you can find some grand film with a sweeping romance.  You won't find it.  At best, you'll find Safe Haven, a watered-down, formulaic imitation of what romance movies once were.  Perhaps this is because our rather cynical generation of...

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REVIEW: In Fruitvale Station, Oscar Grant Tragically Doesn't Get the 30 Days Oprah Recommends to Form His New Habits

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, July 20, 2013, In : 0.00% Water 
Fruitvale Station





Directed By: Ryan Coogler

Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer, Melonie Diaz, Ahna O'Reilly, Kevin Durand, and Chad Michael Murray

Race and equality have been at the forefront of the American psyche for the last week or so.  With George Zimmerman being acquitted after killing 17 year-old Trayvon Martin, a long overdue conversation about what it means to be a black man in America may finally be getting started.  That conversation looks to be focused on a variety of topic...

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REVIEW: In The Way, Way Back, Pop-N-Lock Duncan Leaves the Riptide Beach House and Hits the Slides at Water Wizz

Posted by James Brown on Friday, July 5, 2013, In : 0.00% Water 
The Way, Way Back





Directed By: Nat Faxon and Jim Rash


Starring: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, AnnaSophia Bobb, Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolph, Rob Corddry, Amanda Peet, and Liam James

2013 marks the summer of coming-of-age comedies at the indie box office.  The proof is in the pudding.  This past June, Joe, Patrick, and Biaggio jammed on some logs in the woods in The Kings of Summer.  This month, Duncan is breaking it down on a cardboard dance floor at Water Wizz in The Way, Way Back....

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REVIEW: In Unfinished Song, Rusty Old Banger Arthur Shows His True Colors When His Wife Marion Says Let's Talk About Sex

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, June 29, 2013, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Unfinished Song (Song for Marion)





Directed By: Paul Andrew Williams

Starring: Terence Stamp, Gemma Arterton, Christopher Eccleston, and Vanessa Redgrave

Is it just me or do elder British actors have a lock on movies about old people?  In the last year or so, we've had The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Quartet, and now Unfinished Song.  With the exception of Amour, there haven't been too many non-British films about the elderly hitting theaters as of late.  I will say that each of these British fli...

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REVIEW: With Ovarian Hysteria & Sexually Stimulating Attacks, the Desensitized Augustine is the Most Sensual Patient of All

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, June 23, 2013, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Augustine





Directed By: Alice Winocour

Starring: Vincent Lindon, Soko, and Chiara Mastroianni

There haven't been quite as many weird movies at indie theaters this year thankfully.  I'm happy to say we haven't gotten another Holy Motors or The Paperboy.  This week, however, I think we're getting our first dose of weirdness with the French drama Augustine, a film that explores the relationship between neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot and his most interesting patient.

Augustine (Soko) is a housemaid a...

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REVIEW: Female Suicide Bomber Siham Leaves a Big Mess for Her Doctor Husband Amin in The Attack

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, June 23, 2013, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
The Attack





Directed By: Ziad Doueiri

Starring: Ali Suliman, Evgenia Dodena, Reymond Amsalem, Dvir Benedek, Uri Gavriel, Ruba Salameh, Karim Saleh, and Ramzi Makdessi

Because it's the summer season, we haven't been reviewing too many serious films, and I wouldn't have it any other way at this time of year.  That being said, I do recognize that some moviegoers would prefer some more serious material at the box office.  Well, those moviegoers are getting exactly what they've been craving this weeke...

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REVIEW: The Bling Ring Hits Up Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, & Orlando Bloom for Cash & Clothes But Completely Misses the Mark

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, June 22, 2013, In : 0.12% Hard Liquor 
The Bling Ring





Directed By: Sofia Coppola

Starring: Israel Broussard, Katie Chang, Taissa Farmiga, Claire Julien, Georgia Rock, Emma Watson, and Leslie Mann

Earlier this year, Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers rocked the box office.  It was an oversexed movie with a purpose about four teen princesses turning to a life of crime for the chance of having a legendary spring break.  Showing a life of crime and partying in all its decadent glory, Korine dished out some potent commentary on what the myt...

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REVIEW: Before Midnight, Take a Time Machine Back to Six Lovely Weeks in the Peloponnesian Islands

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, June 2, 2013, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Before Midnight





Directed By: Richard Linklater

Starring: Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy


Unlike Hollywood movies, it's very rare that an indie film gets a sequel.  With the exception of some sick horror films, this just doesn't happen too often.  You won't see Midnight in Paris Deux, 1000 Days of Summer, or Moonrise Kingdom 2.  Even when they generate big profits, they're not coming back to theaters again.  The exception to this rule is the Before series from Richard Linklater.  First, there was Bef...

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REVIEW: Ahoy Sexy! Frances Ha is Definitely Undateable With All Her Wild Antics That Aren't Really Antics

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, May 25, 2013, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Frances Ha





Directed By: Noah Baumbach

Starring: Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver, and Grace Gummer

Greta Gerwig has had a long, hard road to success on the big screen.  Frances Ha doesn't mark her first leading role.  We've seen her lead the pack for somewhat underwhelming films like Damsels in Distress and Lola Versus.  She hasn't had that breakout role yet, that performance that leaves an indelible mark on movie-goers.  Frances Ha might just be that role.  We'll just have to wait and s...

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REVIEW: From a Porn Lab to the Mob, The Iceman is One Cold-Blooded Contract Killer

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, May 19, 2013, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
The Iceman





Directed By: Ariel Vromen

Starring: Michael Shannon, Winona Ryder, Chris Evans, Ray Liotta, James Franco, David Schwimmer, Stephen Dorff, and Erin Cummings

Michael Shannon might just be the most underrated actor of his generation.  Despite a very impressive filmography and a long list of memorable characters on screen, Shannon has never attained mainstream popularity and is still relatively unknown to the movie-going public at large.  It's unfortunate because he's a really prolific ac...

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REVIEW: My Brother the Devil is a Terrorist, Not a Homo???

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, May 11, 2013, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
My Brother the Devil





Directed By: Sally El Hosaini

Starring: James Floyd, Fady Elsayed, and Saïd Taghmaoui


I was just having a conversation yesterday about homosexuality in Islamic culture.  Though I wasn't particularly interested in the conversation at the time, another individual and I were discussing how being gay is more than just taboo to Muslims.  It's comparable to a mortal sin and can often have fatal consequences.  It's so fitting that I ended up seeing Sally El Hosaini's My Brother th...

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REVIEW: Kiss of the Damned Is One Steamy Erotic Mess of a Vampire Movie

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, May 11, 2013, In : 0.12% Hard Liquor 
Kiss of the Damned





Directed By: Xan Cassavetes

Starring: Josephine de La Baume, Roxane Mesquida, Milo Ventimiglia, and Anna Mouglalis

As the owner of Sobriety Test and its webmaster, I try to regularly stay abreast of comments by readers checking out reviews all over the site.  I would like to say thank you to all those who take the time to contribute to the discourse here on this small website.  Whether encouraging, enthused, or critical of my reviews, I do appreciate all of your comments and l...

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REVIEW: Even With Bootlegging, Boozing, & Partying, Old Sport Jay Gatsby Lacks Valor Extraordinaire and Any Hope Whatsoever

Posted by James Brown on Friday, May 10, 2013, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
The Great Gatsby





Directed By: Baz Luhrmann


Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher, Jason Clarke, Amitabh Bachchan, and Elizabeth Debicki

Baz Luhrmann's "modern" take on the classic American novel The Great Gatsby was originally set to be released on Christmas day last year.  This would have landed the film in direct competition with the likes of Les Miserables and Django Unchained, which were also released on the same day.  To make matters worse, L...

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REVIEW: Kon-Tiki is a Slow Ride Through an Interesting Theory

Posted by Zach Davis on Monday, May 6, 2013, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Kon-Tiki
Zach Davis




Directed By: Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg


Starring: Pål Sverre Valheim Hagan, Anders Bassmo Christiansen, Tobias Santelmann, Gustaf Skarsgård, Odd-Magnus Williamson, Jacob Oftebro, and Agnes Kittelsen

Kon-Tiki is a harrowing tale of survival propelled by an interesting theory from Thor Heyerdahl.  According to Heyerdahl, the Peruvians were the first to colonize Polynesia from the east contrary to the traditional notion that Asians migrating from the west settled on th...

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REVIEW: Number One in Seven Counties, Henry Whipple Will Expand or Die At Any Price, Including Reselling Liberty Seeds

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, May 5, 2013, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
At Any Price





Directed By: Ramin Bahrani

Starring: Zac Efron, Dennis Quaid, Heather Graham, Clancy Brown, Ben Marten, Kim Dickens, Chelcie Ross, Red West, Maika Monroe, and Sophie Curtis


Running a business is a tough endeavor, especially in a saturated market.  I sure as hell know it.  The competition is stiff.  The customers are demanding. The regulations within the industry are nothing more than a setback.  All in all, running a business is like survival of the fittest.  You'll either expand or...

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REVIEW: Mud, Ellis, & Neckbone Make One Good Deal for a Boat, a Pistol, and Love

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, April 28, 2013, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Mud





Directed By: Jeff Nichols

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland, Reese Witherspoon, Michael Shannon, Sarah Paulson, Sam Shepard, and Stuart Greer

Matthew McConaughey has been pigeonholing himself recently.  He's been in a slew of Southern-themed indie flicks.  Think Bernie.  Think Killer Joe.  Think The Paperboy.  While these are all distinct films, they share some geographic similarities, which isn't necessarily a plus for McConaughey's filmography.  I'd very much like ...

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REVIEW: A Malt Mill is the Whisky of Choice in The Angels' Share

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, April 28, 2013, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
The Angels' Share





Directed By: Ken Loach

Starring: Paul Brannigan, John Henshaw, William Ruane, Gary Maitland, Jasmin Riggins, and Siobhan Reilly


Every year, two percent of alcohol evaporates from a barrel of whisky.  It's what's called the angels' share.  It's a damn shame.  Nature steals two percent of one of God's greatest gifts every year.  It's the good stuff too!  The whisky lost has aged and has only gotten better with time.  On the other hand, this is what makes older whisky much more va...

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REVIEW: If You're a Member of the Weather Underground Organization Like Nick Sloan, Secrets are the Only Company You Keep

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, April 14, 2013, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
The Company You Keep





Directed By: Robert Redford

Starring: Robert Redford, Shia LaBeouf, Julie Christie, Susan Sarandon, Jackie Evancho, Brendan Gleeson, Brit Marling, Anna Kendrick, Terrence Howard, Richard Jenkins, Nick Nolte, Sam Elliott, Stephen Root, Keegan Connor Tracy, Stanley Tucci, and Chris Cooper

Robert Redford has been a busy man as of late.  He's joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Nick Fury's boss in Captain America: Winter Soldier.  He'll be appearing in survival thriller All...

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REVIEW: To the Wonder Does Nothing to Awaken the Love, That Divine Presence Within Us

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, April 14, 2013, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
To the Wonder





Directed By: Terrence Malick


Starring: Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel McAdams, and Javier Bardem


Two years ago, I went to bat for Terrence Malick's Tree of Life.  It was an artsy movie without a lot of dialogue.  At the same time, however, it was a beautiful, impactful statement about life, the universe, and parenthood.  In Malick's latest movie To the Wonder, he's moved onto smaller themes, namely love and faith.  Once again, he creates a film with sparse dialogue that tries ...

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REVIEW: Mr. Rickey Helps Number 42 Jackie Robinson Control His Temper and Go Home Sweet Home on the Baseball Field

Posted by James Brown on Friday, April 12, 2013, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
42





Directed By: Brian Helgeland

Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford, Christopher Meloni, Jud Tylor, Alan Tudyk, Lucas Black, Jon Bernthal, and Nicole Beharie

Jackie Robinson is one of the most iconic athletes of the 20th century.  It's 2013.  It's been 66 years since Robinson began his historic rookie season with the Brooklyn Dodgers, and we're just getting our first feature film in my lifetime about his incredible journey.  Well, it's about damn time.  Sure, we had the film The Jackie Rob...

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REVIEW: Luciano Holds onto His Big Brother Dreams Too Long, Which is a Sad Reality for Moviegoers

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, April 7, 2013, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Reality





Directed By: Matteo Garrone


Starring: Aniello Arena, Loredana Simioli, Claudia Gerini, Paola Minaccioni, Ciro Petrone, Nunzia Schiano, Nando Paone, Arturo Gambardella, and Angelica Borghese

I was never big on reality TV.  Sure, I watched the first few seasons of American Idol and the first season of Survivor back in the day.  After that brief foray into it, I went right on back to scripted programs.  That's what I knew and that's what I loved.  I've never watched any of the popular serie...

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REVIEW: With Bank Robbers, Corrupt Cops, and Bitter Sons, The Place Beyond the Pines is the Place Where Luke and Avery Show Their True Colors

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, April 6, 2013, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
The Place Beyond the Pines






Directed By: Derek Cianfrance


Starring: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Ray Liotta, Ben Mendelsohn, Rose Byrne, Mahershala Ali, Bruce Greenwood, Harris Yulin, Dane DeHaan, Emory Cohen and Olga Merediz

"If you ride like lightning, you're gonna crash like thunder."

-Robin (Ben Mendelsohn)

I am a big advocate of filmmakers who take creative risks.  Many are so afraid of crashing and burning that they don't think or do anything outside the box, particularly in main...

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REVIEW: In The Sapphires, Bridesmaids' Chris O'Dowd and the Songbirds Take Some Aboriginal Soul on the Road to Vietnam

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, March 30, 2013, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
The Sapphires





Directed By: Wayne Blair

Starring: Chris O'Dowd, Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebbens, and Miranda Tapsell

The music of today is some real crap.  We all know it.  We all hear it.  Some of us even do something about it.  Personally, I've found that I spend very little time listening to Top 40 radio anymore.  It genuinely sucks.  What passes for music today is truly a sin and a shame.  Consequently, I stay in the past and tend to go for the oldies.  I listen to the likes of...

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REVIEW: Temptation: Confessions Of A Marriage Counselor – If You’ve Seen The Trailer, You’ve Seen The Movie

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Saturday, March 30, 2013, In : 0.12% Hard Liquor 

Temptation: Confessions Of A Marriage Counselor
SoberFilmChick


Directed by: Tyler Perry

Starring:  Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Lance Gross, Robbie Jones, Kim Kardashian, Brandy Norwood, and Vanessa Williams

When I first saw the movie trailer for Temptation: Confessions Of A Marriage Counselor, I thought it revealed too much about the film’s plot.  From the movie preview alone, I could see that the lead character is a woman who is tired of being ignored by her husband. She is tempted by a rich exe...


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REVIEW: On the Road, Dean and Sal Have More Sex, Drugs, and Liquor Than I Thought Humanly Possible

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, March 24, 2013, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
On the Road





Directed By: Walter Salles

Starring: Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Amy Adams, Tom Sturridge, Danny Morgan, Alice Braga, Elisabeth Moss, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen, Terrence Howard, and Steve Buscemi


Despite its impressive cast, I was never really looking forward to On the Road.  This adaptation of Jack Kerouac's 1957 novel may have Mary Jane, Lois Lane, and Aragorn, but it also has Bella.  I always have my doubts with a Kristen Stewart movie, or any film starring a...

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REVIEW: In Like Someone in Love, Millipedes Akiko and Noriaki Quarrel All the Time

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, March 24, 2013, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Like Someone in Love





Directed By: Abbas Kiarostami

Starring: Rin Takanashi, Tadashi Okuno, and Ryo Kase


Love might just be the most dangerous force on Earth.  Some people really can't handle it when they're rejected by the one they love.  It devastates them to the point that they just snap.  They become a danger to any and every person around them.  That being said, this is something we've seen depicted on the big screen many times before with countless angry husbands, wives, boyfriends, and gir...

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REVIEW: In Ginger & Rosa, the Young War Protester and Dad's Side Chick Can't Be Best Friends Forever

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, March 24, 2013, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Ginger & Rosa





Directed By: Sally Potter

Starring: Elle Fanning, Alice Englert, Alessandro Nivola, Annette Bening, Timothy Spall, Oliver Platt, and Christina Hendricks

There have been a lot of period pieces this month.  We've been taken back to post-WWII Germany and Japan in Lore and Emperor.  We've been taken to Chile back in the 1980s in No.  This weekend, we're being taken back to 1960s London during the height of the Cold War with the United States and the Soviet Union embroiled in a tense fe...

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REVIEW: Thanks to Boring Old Portia, the Secret to Getting Into Princeton-Based Comedy Admission is That You Just Can't

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, March 23, 2013, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Admission





Directed By: Paul Weitz

Starring: Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, Michael Sheen, Lily Tomlin, Wallace Shawn, Nat Wolff, and Gloria Reuben


From the day I heard about it, I was destined to see Tina Fey's latest comedy Admission, a film shot at my alma mater Princeton University.  It's a movie that satirizes the university's admissions process in which a random few get highly coveted acceptance letters.  Director Paul Weitz clearly has a bull’s-eye fixed on the orange bubble and other Ivy League i...
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REVIEW: Spring Break Forever Bitches! These Four Little Chickies' Trip to Florida Seems Like a Dream

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, March 23, 2013, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Spring Breakers





Directed By: Harmony Korine

Starring: James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine, and Gucci Mane

I came into Spring Breakers with some pretty low expectations.  The trailer simply didn't make the sale for me.  A gangster party movie with some all grown up, scantily clad teen princesses and a thugged up James Franco didn't leave me expecting much.  There are so many ways that a movie like this could go wrong.  In my mind, there was no way this thing ...

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REVIEW: In Beyond the Hills, No Confession or Exorcism Can Cure Alina's Evil Spirit or the Movie

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, March 16, 2013, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Beyond the Hills





Directed By: Cristian Mungiu


Starring: Cristina Flutur, Cosmina Stratan, Valeriu Andriutâ, Dana Tapalagâ, Catalina Harabagiu, Gina Tandura, Vica Agache, Nora Covali, Dionisie Vitcu, Ionut Ghinea, Liliana Mocanu, Doru Ana, and Costache Babii


Exorcism movies are frequent, but intelligent ones are a rare gem.  Like the horror genre as a whole, teen-oriented mindless exorcism movies are the norm.  We're plagued with films like The Devil Inside and The Last Exorcism Part II as oppo...

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REVIEW: Heaven or Hell, Lore Will Do What She Must to Get to Her Omi in Hamburg

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, March 10, 2013, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Lore





Directed By: Cate Shortland

Starring: Saskia Rosendahl, Kai-Peter Malina, Nele Trebs, and Ursina Lardi


In my review of Emperor, I wrote that I was tired of movies about World War II. I said that filmmakers had covered every aspect of the second Great War and that there was nothing more that could be done.  Honestly, I'm going to have to retract the second part of that statement.  There was one thing I had never fathomed I would see in a World War II movie, but it's here with Australian war ...

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REVIEW: Emperor — The Fate of This Living God Is Not the Spark That Keeps This Movie Alive

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, March 9, 2013, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Emperor





Directed By: Peter Webber

Starring: Matthew Fox, Tommy Lee Jones, Eriko Hatsune, Toshiyuki Nishida, Kaori Momoi, and Colin Moy


World War II has been done to death on the big screen.  If there's some aspect of WWII that's not been brought back to life on film, I would be genuinely stunned.  Over the last 20 years alone, we've had films like Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, Pearl Harbor, and many more.  That's why another WWII movie is the last thing we need right now, but that's exa...

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REVIEW: Voting NO Against Pinochet Means Happiness is Coming for Our Comrades in Chile; YES Means a Better Sex Life With the Same Old Dictator

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, March 3, 2013, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
NO





Directed By: Pablo Larrain

Starring: Gael García Bernal, Néstor Cantillana, Amparo Noguera, Antonia Zegers, Marcial Tagle, and Luis Gnecco

"No me gusta, no.  No lo quiero, no... (I don't like him, no.  I don't want him, no...)"
-Chilean Singers

The Academy Awards have come and gone.  That means that the awards season is finally done.  The golden statuettes handed out this year are now collecting dust on the trophy-laden shelves of the winners.  Slowly but surely, films like Amour, Beasts of t...

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REVIEW: Safe Haven – An Incredibly Long Tale Involving Domestic Violence And Rediscovering Love Set In The Familiar Town Of Southport, North Carolina

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Monday, February 18, 2013, In : 0.09% Cocktails 

Safe Haven
SoberFilmChick




Directed by: Lasse Hallstrom

Starring:  Julianne Hough, Josh Duhamel, David Lyons, Cobie Smulders, Mimi Kirkland, Noah Lomax

Happy belated Valentine’s Day movie-lovers!  On cue, an adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks’ novel has hit theaters for those looking for a romantic date movie.  Sparks has brought us such films as The Notebook, Message In A Bottle, Dear John, etc.  Except for The Notebook, which was a phenomenal film, he is generally renowned for somewhat sappy...


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REVIEW: Knife Fight – The Master Of Disaster Shows The End Justifies The Means In This Political Drama

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Sunday, February 10, 2013, In : 0.09% Cocktails 

Knife Fight
SoberFilmChick




Directed by: Bill Guttentag

Starring:  Rob Lowe, Jamie Chung, Carrie-Anne Moss, Julie Bowen, and Eric McCormack

To win in politics, you have got to be the person who is willing to bring a gun to a knife fight.” – Paul Turner (Rob Lowe)

My early year movie slump continues.  I have yet to see a stellar film this year and I was hoping against hope that the Rob Lowe driven political indie Knife Fight would jump start 2013 for me.  Unfortunately, it did not.

Pau...


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REVIEW: At the Beecham House Annual Gala, the Quartet Brings Down the House with Verdi's Rigoletto

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, January 26, 2013, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 

Quartet





Directed By: Dustin Hoffman

Starring: Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins, Billy Connolly, Michael Gambon, and Sheridan Smith

"Old age is for sissies."
-Cecily "Cissy" Robson (Pauline Collins)

It's no secret that we have an aging population in the US.  The baby boomers are dragging our population into old age.  Consequently, we're starting to see more and more movies about the elderly at the box office.  In the last year, we've had films such as The Best Exotic Marigold Hote...


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REVIEW: Like the Bolton Village Sale, Broken City Just Doesn't Add Up

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, January 19, 2013, In : 0.09% Cocktails 

Broken City





Directed By: Allen Hughes

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Barry Pepper, Kyle Chandler, Natalie Martinez, and Jeffrey Wright
 
January must be trash collection month at the box office because Hollywood keeps dumping crap onto the big screen.  Our latest junk film is Broken City, a crime drama starring Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, and Catherine Zeta-Jones.  If released any other time of the year, it's something that would have been considered a worthwhi...


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REVIEW: Amour Is a Superior Distraction About the Tragic Beauty of Long Life and One Bold Pigeon

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, January 13, 2013, In : 0.00% Water 

Amour (Love)





Directed By: Michael Haneke

Starring: Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, and Isabelle Huppert

Getting old sucks, or so I've heard.  If we live long enough, it's a journey we all must take.  It's a subject that's often glossed over at the movies, but the floodgates have opened as of late on this topic.  While we've had lighter fare like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in recent months, director Michael Haneke, a septuagenarian himself, has decided to tackle the darker side o...


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REVIEW: In Zero Dark Thirty, Maya's Canaries Follow Courier Abu Ahmed to Deliver Justice Upon Osama bin Laden

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, January 12, 2013, In : 0.00% Water 

Zero Dark Thirty





Directed By: Kathryn Bigelow

Starring: Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt, Kyle Chandler, Edgar Ramirez, Mark Strong, Jennifer Ehle, Mark Duplass, Scott Adkins, and Taylor Kinney

History seems to be the predominant story of this awards season.  It's the history of our sixteenth president and his fight to pass the Thirteenth Amendment in Lincoln.  It's the history of six American diplomats making a fake movie to escape Iran in Argo.  It's the history o...


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REVIEW: In the Matter of Progress vs. a Better Future, Gangster Squad Loses Its Badge

Posted by James Brown on Friday, January 11, 2013, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 

Gangster Squad





Directed By: Ruben Fleischer

Starring: Josh Brolin, Ryan Gosling, Nick Nolte, Emma Stone, Sean Penn, Anthony Mackie, Giovanni Ribisi, Michael Peña, and Robert Patrick

2012 was the year of long movies.  Many of them were good, but they were long.  The Avengers, Skyfall, and Lincoln all flirted with the two and a half hour mark, while The Dark Knight Rises, Les Misérables, and Django Unchained blew right past it.  Those are some long movies.  Because of this I made a New Year'...


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REVIEW: Please Stand By...Bad Movie Alert for Not Fade Away

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, January 5, 2013, In : 0.09% Cocktails 

Not Fade Away





Directed By: David Chase

Starring: John Magaro, Will Brill, Jack Huston, Bella Heathcoate, Brad Garrett, James Gandolfini, and Christopher McDonald

It's January.  What that means is that good new movies are hard to find at the box office.  Whether you're an action junkie or an indie lover, you're in for a drought for the next couple of months.  The holdovers from November and December are here to stay through the awards season.  At this point, studios are gearing up to release ...


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REVIEW: In the Absolut Madness of Promised Land, Athena Dirties Up the Natural Gas Business

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, December 29, 2012, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 

Promised Land





Directed By: Gus Van Sant

Starring: Matt Damon, John Krasinki, Frances McDormand, Hal Holbrook, Rosemarie DeWitt, Scoot McNairy, Lucas Black, and Titus Welliver

For all intents and purposes, this year is just about a wrap at movie theaters around the country.  There are no major new releases slated before the new year.  The Hobbit, Les Misérables, and Django Unchained should continue to rock the box office, and I'm willing to bet money on that.  With this in mind, I've decided...


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REVIEW: Django Unchained – A Western, Slavery-Themed Revenge Flick

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Wednesday, December 26, 2012, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 

Django Unchained
SoberFilmChick



Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, and Samuel L. Jackson

I started off this morning playing Santa Claus for my three year old daughter.  Suffice it to say that watching a western set during slavery with a significant body count was not exactly how I thought my Christmas night would end.  However, Quentin Tarantino films are always worth the effort.

Django Unchained is set in 1858, shortly ...


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REVIEW: Les Misérables. I Dreamed a Dream of Time Gone by With Prisoner 24601, the French Revolution, and the Perfect Christmas Movie

Posted by James Brown on Tuesday, December 25, 2012, In : 0.00% Water 

Les Misérables





Directed By: Tom Hooper

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Samantha Barks, Helena Bonham Carter, Eddie Redmayne, and Sacha Baron Cohen

In musicals, acting is often compromised at the expense of singing.  Because a musical's selections are traditionally recorded before filming occurs, actors are playing to performances they gave before ever arriving on set.  As such, creativity and spontaneity are often stifled in actors' portrayals of their...


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REVIEW: Rust and Bone is OPé (Operational)

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, December 22, 2012, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 

Rust and Bone (De rouille et d'os)





Directed By: Jacques Audiard

Starring: Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts

At the indie box office, it seems to be the weekend for depressing movies.  After revisiting one of the worst natural disasters in human history, I now get the distinct pleasure of watching Rust and Bone, a movie about a killer whale trainer who loses her legs in a tragic accident with the very orcas she trained.  What happened to putting out happy movies around the holiday sea...


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REVIEW: Fasten Your Seatbelt Because The Impossible Shoots for the Stars

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, December 22, 2012, In : 0.00% Water 

The Impossible (Lo Imposible)





Directed By: J.A. Bayona

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, Tom Holland, Samuel Joslin, Oaklee Pendergast, Geraldine Chaplin, Marta Etura, and Simon Blyberg

There's always some tragedy on the news related to a natural disaster.  Earthquakes, tsunamis, and hurricanes leave paths of devastation marked by unthinkable death tolls and billions of dollars in damages.  When we see it on the news, we often get the big picture.  It's completely understandable because ...


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REVIEW: The Details is a Disastrous Series of Bad Dreams About Raccoons

Posted by James Brown on Thursday, December 20, 2012, In : 0.12% Hard Liquor 
The Details





Directed By: Jacob Aaron Estes

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Elizabeth Banks, Kerry Washington, Ray Liotta, Laura Linney, and Dennis Haysbert

I'm rarely at a loss for words when it comes to churning out a movie review.  For Jacob Aaron Estes's The Details, I find myself in this fairly unfamiliar position.  This movie is just so strange and uninteresting that I don't quite know where to begin writing.  However, I do know that this indie comedy-drama is not something you should find yoursel...

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REVIEW: Save the Date is an Authentic Romance with Plenty of Drawings

Posted by James Brown on Tuesday, December 18, 2012, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 

Save the Date





Directed By: Michael Mohan

Starring: Lizzy Caplan, Alison Brie, Martin Starr, Geoffrey Arend, and Mark Webber

With the awards season well under way, we at Sobriety Test have not been paying too much attention to the indie VOD marketplace over the last several months.  We've had bigger fish to fry.  We've dropped the ball on this and plan on getting back on our A-game with these often surprising indies over the next several months.  A great starting point is a little romantic co...


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REVIEW: With Hot Dogs, Mistresses, and 1812 Cartoons, Hyde Park on Hudson Takes a Swing at History and Misses

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, December 15, 2012, In : 0.09% Cocktails 

Hyde Park on Hudson





Directed By: Roger Michell

Starring: Bill Murray, Laura Linney, Samuel West, Olivia Colman, Elizabeth Marvel, Olivia Williams, Elizabeth Wilson, Martin McDougall, and Andrew Havill

Hollywood has made one too many movies with the Great Depression and World War II as the historical backdrop.  Just look to movies like The Way Back, The Debt, and Red Tails for examples over the last couple of years alone.  It's time to make movies about some other era.  More specifically, we ...


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REVIEW: Like America, Killing Them Softly is All About the Almighty Dollar

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, December 1, 2012, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 

Killing Them Softly





Directed By: Andrew Dominik

Starring: Brad Pitt, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn, Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta, and Sam Shepard

In recent years, a lot of people have begun to think that America has lost its way, that we're on a downward trajectory as a people, and that the highest offices in government go to the highest bidders.  While we can certainly debate the first two points, there's no debating the final one.  After all, we live in an America where th...


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REVIEW: Hitchcock is a Fiendishly Entertaining Look at the Man Hiding in the Corner with a Camera Watching

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, November 24, 2012, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 

Hitchcock





Directed By: Sacha Gervasi

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Toni Collette, Danny Huston, Jessica Biel, and James D'Arcy

Last year, the awards season was dominated by movies about making movies. All the buzz was about films like The Artist, Hugo, and My Week with Marilyn.  Hollywood apparently missed one because they've decided to do a biopic on the legendary Master of Suspense Alfred Hitchcock and the making of Psycho, one of the defining films of his ca...


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REVIEW: As a Hobo, Motion Capture Actor, & Leprechaun, Monsieur Oscar Likes to Punish Others in Holy Motors, Including Us

Posted by James Brown on Thursday, November 22, 2012, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 

Holy Motors





Directed By: Leos Carax

Starring: Denis Lavant, Édith Scob, Eva Mendes, Kylie Minogue, Élise L'Homeau, Michel Piccoli, and Jeanne Disson

I have seen some weird movies this year.  Up until this point, Lee Daniels's The Paperboy held the crown for the strangest film of the year.  After all, watching Nicole Kidman give John Cusack an imaginary blow job and urinating all over Zac Efron is some pretty crazy stuff.  After seeing Holy Motors though, my opinion changed.  The Paperboy i...


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REVIEW: Life of Pi – Ang Lee Brings Yann Martel’s Novel, And One Amazing Tiger, To Life

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Thursday, November 22, 2012, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Life of Pi
SoberFilmChick




Directed by: Ang Lee


Starring:  Suraj Sharma, Tabu, Adil Hussain, Irrfan Khan, Gerard Depardieu

Many years ago, I read Yann Martel’s coming of age tale Life of Pi. When I first learned that the novel was being turned into a film, I was a little skeptical.  I found it difficult to believe that the true emotional weight of the tale could be translated to film.  However, when I discovered that Ang Lee was at the helm, I actually began to get excited about the adaptation. ...

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REVIEW: Despite the Trash Bag for Attire, Mr. Excelsior Runs with Greatness in Silver Linings Playbook

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, November 18, 2012, In : 0.00% Water 

Silver Linings Playbook





Directed By: David O. Russell

Starring: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Anupam Kher, Julia Stiles, and Chris Tucker

"You have to do everything you can, you have to work your hardest, and if you stay positive, you have a shot at a silver lining."
-Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper)

Two years ago, director David O. Russell rocked my world with The Fighter.  In my opinion, it may be the best boxing movie in the last three decades.  When I hear...


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REVIEW: Despite Bingo, the Cemetery, and Paris, Starlet Is All About the Benjamins

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, November 18, 2012, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 

Starlet





Directed By: Sean S. Baker

Starring: Dree Hemingway, Besedka Johnson, Stella Maeve, James Ransone, and Karren Karagulian

Have you ever wondered what you would do if you found some large sum of money by chance?  Would you head straight to the bank?  Would you hit the mall?  If you knew the person to whom it belongs, would you return it?  You’re probably thinking all the politically correct things right now.  While it all seems clear when you talk about this in the hypothetical, it m...


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REVIEW: Anna Karenina's Impure Love Doesn't Get the Job Done. What a Sin!

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, November 17, 2012, In : 0.09% Cocktails 

Anna Karenina





Directed By: Joe Wright

Starring: Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Kelly Macdonald, Matthew Macfayden, Emily Watson, Domhnall Gleeson, and Alicia Vikander

"Romantic love will be the last delusion of the old order."
-Nikolai Levin (David Wilmot)

With the possible exception of Moonrise Kingdom, Anna Karenina has been the most heavily marketed indie flick this year.  Over the course of 2012, I have seen more advertisements for this tale of love than I care to remem...


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REVIEW: What Sex is This Carrot Cheyenne? This Must Be the Place Doesn't Even Know

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, November 11, 2012, In : 0.09% Cocktails 

This Must Be the Place





Directed By: Paolo Sorrentino

Starring: Sean Penn, Frances McDormand, Judd Hirsch, Eve Hewson, Kerry Condon, and Harry Dean Stanton

"Something's not quite right here.  I don't know what, but something."
-Cheyenne (Sean Penn)

That quote perfectly captures my mindset after seeing the trailer for Paolo Sorrentino's This Must Be the Place.  I doubt anyone is genuinely interested in watching a road trip movie on some middle-aged rocker in retirement.  Who really wants to se...


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REVIEW: With Steven Spielberg's Compass, Lincoln Finds Its True North

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, November 10, 2012, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 

Lincoln





Directed By: Steven Spielberg

Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook, Tommy Lee Jones, Jackie Earle Haley, Jared Harris, John Hawkes, and David Oyelowo

"We must cure ourselves of slavery. This amendment is that cure. We’re stepped out upon the world stage now with the fate of human dignity in our hands. Blood's been spilled to afford us this moment.  Now!  Now!  Now!"
-President Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis)

...

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REVIEW: The Fugue Unleashes Their Passion in A Late Quartet

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, November 4, 2012, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 

A Late Quartet





Directed By: Yaron Zilberman

Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walken, Catherine Keener, Mark Ivanir, Imogen Poots, and Wallace Shawn

Harmony is a difficult thing to achieve.  In musical groups, it's all about having one's instrument in tune and being in sync with other group members.  In life, it's about navigating multiple views, competing agendas, and human imperfection.  In Yaron Zilberman's A Late Quartet, harmony is even harder to achieve amongst the musician...


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REVIEW: With Bottles, Cans, & Even Minis, Whip Keeps the Drinks Flowing in Flight

Posted by James Brown on Friday, November 2, 2012, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 

Flight





Directed By: Robert Zemeckis

Starring: Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Kelly Reilly, John Goodman, Bruce Greenwood, and Melissa Leo

The age of movie stars is over.  Can you think of larger-than-life actors or actresses in their 20s and 30s?  I certainly can't.  There's nobody with that X factor.  The glory days of mega stars like Will Smith, Tom Cruise, and Brad Pitt are in the rear view mirror.  While they're all still active and making good movies, the next generation has not steppe...


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REVIEW: Abraham's Sons Isaac & Ishmael Find a Common Bond in The Other Son

Posted by James Brown on Tuesday, October 30, 2012, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 

The Other Son





Directed By: Lorraine Lévy

Starring: Emmanuelle Devos, Pascal Elbé, Jules Sitruk, Mehdi Dehbi, Areen Omari, Khalifa Natour, and Mahmud Shalaby

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a touchy subject to say the least, and there have probably been a thousand movies bringing this controversial subject to light.  Most probably think of Steven Spielberg's Munich as the most prominent film on the topic.  Others probably think of the documentary Waltz With Bashir.  None are more creati...


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REVIEW: With Violins, Shipyards, and Secret Letters, Simon and the Oaks is Really the War of the Dads

Posted by James Brown on Monday, October 29, 2012, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 

Simon and the Oaks (Simon och ekarna)





Directed By: Lisa Ohlin

Starring: Bill Skarsgård, Helen Sjöholm, Jonatan Wächter, Stefan Gödicke, and Jan Josef Liefers

Violins seem to be back in style at indie theaters this fall.  We had Chicken with Plums last month, Simon and the Oaks this month, and A Late Quartet next month.  All these films are about violinists.  While I definitely love the strings, I would happily welcome a flick about some other instrument.  For now, I'm going to tell you a...


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REVIEW: The Children of the Tides May Understand the Four Pillars of the Human Foundation, But Chasing Mavericks Doesn't Quite Understand the Four Pillars of Good Filmmaking

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, October 28, 2012, In : 0.09% Cocktails 

Chasing Mavericks





Directed By: Curtis Hansen and Michael Apte

Starring: Gerard Butler, Leven Rambin, Jonny Weston, Elisabeth Shue, Abigail Spencer, and Taylor Handley

"We all come from the sea. But we are not all of the sea. Those of us who are, we children of the tides, must return to it again and again."
-Frosty Hesson (Gerard Butler)

I'm not a risk-taker, at least not when it comes to my physical health.  I'm certainly not one who would ever willingly put myself in harm's way purely for t...


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REVIEW: Full of Flashbacks & Flash-Forwards, the Cloud Atlas Sextet is an Ambitious, Brilliant, & Beautiful Composition

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, October 27, 2012, In : 0.00% Water 

Cloud Atlas





Directed By: Tom Tykwer, Lana Wachowski, and Andy Wachowski

Starring: Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, James D'Arcy, Zhou Xun, Keith David, David Gyasi, Susan Sarandon, and Hugh Grant

"Our lives are not our own.  From womb to tomb, we are bound to others, past and present.  And by each crime, and every kindness, we birth our future."
-Sonmi-451 (Doona Bae) / Abbess (Susan Sarandon)

Ambition is the word of the day thanks to...


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REVIEW: Kate May Have a Boring New Life in Smashed, But There's Always Some Moist Cake Around

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, October 20, 2012, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 

Smashed





Directed By: James Ponsoldt

Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Paul, Octavia Spencer, Nick Offerman, and Megan Mullally

Each and every member of the STMR team can hold his or her liquor, so we have no problem whatsoever knocking back some drinks when a film calls for it.  Alcohol can help overcome any bad movie.  However, I do realize that everyone who frequents the site may not be so responsible in their drinking, and I've discovered just the right flick for them.  James Ponso...


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REVIEW: A Sex Surrogate. A Wild Priest. An Iron Lung. The Sessions Will Touch You with Its Kinky Words

Posted by James Brown on Thursday, October 18, 2012, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 

The Sessions





Directed By: Ben Lewin

Starring: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, and William H. Macy

Sometimes, I wonder what makes a screenwriter tick.  I wonder how they come up with some of the crazy stuff they put in screenplays.  With all I've seen in recent months (e.g., For a Good Time, Call..., Cosmopolis, The Paperboy, etc.), I've really been pondering this lately.  Every once in a while, it's sheer creativity.  More often than not though, they simply got the idea from somebody else.  In the ...


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REVIEW: Argo is No Longer a Fake Movie or a Fake Hit

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, October 13, 2012, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 

Argo





Directed By: Ben Affleck

Starring: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, and John Goodman

Argo couldn't have come to theaters in a more timely fashion.  Just several weeks after the attack in Benghazi that left the US ambassador J. Christopher Stevens to Libya and three other Americans dead, we revisit a similar situation, the Iran Hostage Crisis during which the lives of 52 embassy employees were put in grave danger for a total of 444 days.  While the film was put into production lo...


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REVIEW: In The Oranges, the Old Cow Eating the Young Grass Does Not Lead to a Happy Movie

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, October 6, 2012, In : 0.09% Cocktails 

The Oranges





Directed By: Julian Farino

Starring: Hugh Laurie, Leighton Meester, Catherine Keener, Adam Brody, Alia Shawkat, Oliver Platt, and Allison Janney

New Jersey.  The Garden State.  The state where you can't pump your own gas.  It's not exactly the hottest travel destination (for good reason).  It's suburbia.  It's where urbanites go to die.  With this in mind, it's the perfect location for a film like the dramedy The Oranges.  Nothing quite says quintessential suburban life like the ...


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REVIEW: Though Won't Back Down Says "Yes We Can", This Movie Really Has No Hope

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, September 30, 2012, In : 0.09% Cocktails 

Won't Back Down





Directed By: Daniel Barnz

Starring: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Holly Hunter, Oscar Isaac, Rosie Perez, Ving Rhames, and Marianne Jean-Baptiste

Sometimes, I watch a trailer, and I just know a movie will be bad.  I don't have to have any reasons.  I don't have to have any evidence.  I just know.  More often than not, I'm unfortunately right.  I just knew that I was in for a bad one when I saw the trailer for the drama Won't Back Down several months ago.  Because the movie ...


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REVIEW: Dear Friend, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is Infinitely Entertaining

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, September 29, 2012, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower





Directed By: Stephen Chbosky

Starring: Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, Ezra Miller, Paul Rudd, Kate Walsh, and Dylan McDermott

It's been a long time since we've had a good teen movie.  These days, Hollywood spews crap at us like Prom and I Love You, Beth Cooper.  It's rare that we actually get a worthwhile flick that deals with growing up, surviving high school, and finding the right group of friends.  It's been a long time since the heyday of John Hughes when we w...


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REVIEW: 10 Years Tries Too Hard to Be the Best You've Never Had

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, September 23, 2012, In : 0.09% Cocktails 

10 Years





Directed By: Jamie Linden

Starring: Channing Tatum, Justin Long, Kate Mara, Chris Pratt, Scott Porter, Brian Geraghty, Anthony Mackie, Rosario Dawson, Oscar Isaac, Lynn Collins, Max Minghella, Juliet Lopez, Aaron Yoo, Kelly Noonan, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, and Aubrey Plaza

Hollywood has a tendency to rely on its older, more proven talents to portray younger characters.  Because of this, we sometimes don't relate to characters that are our age and are going through struggles similar to our...


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REVIEW: In The Master, Paul Thomas Anderson Finds His Inherent State of Perfect

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, September 23, 2012, In : 0.00% Water 

The Master





Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, Laura Dern, Jesse Plemons, and Ambyr Childers

It's been awhile since we've seen Paul Thomas Anderson at work.  It's been five years since Daniel Day-Lewis struck oil in Anderson's There Will Be Blood.  Now, Anderson has returned to the big screen with The Master, an ambitious, challenging masterpiece.  Featuring Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams, the film delves int...


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REVIEW: End of Watch is a Cop Mockumentary with a Foul Mouth

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, September 23, 2012, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 

End of Watch





Directed By: David Ayer

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña, Anna Kendrick, Natalie Martinez, America Ferrera, Frank Grillo, and David Harbour

We've had our fair share of bromances this year.  With This Means War, 21 Jump Street, and Savages having already rolled into theaters in the last several months, it's safe to say that there has been plenty of male bonding on the big screen.  With David Ayer's cop mockumentary End of Watch hitting movie theaters this weekend, it's al...


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REVIEW: Trouble with the Curve Has a Little Trouble of Its Own...Moneyball

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, September 22, 2012, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 

Trouble with the Curve





Directed By: Robert Lorenz

Starring: Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, Matthew Lillard, and John Goodman

As most of you know by now, Clint Eastwood made some rather interesting remarks at the Republican National Convention several weeks ago to an empty chair in which an invisible Obama supposedly sat.  While I believe his comments were insulting to the presidency, I have a website to run, and I have to be able to separate the political activist from the scr...


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REVIEW: For the Love of Ludo, Little White Lies Reveals His Real Friends and the Weasels

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, September 16, 2012, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Little White Lies





Directed By: Guillaume Canet

Starring: François Cluzet, Marion Cotillard, Benoît Magimel, Gilles Lellouche, Jean Dujardin, Laurent Lafitte, Valérie Bonetton, and Pascale Arbillot


Lies almost always catch up with you, especially the small ones. The worst lies are those that you tell yourself. You can't evade the truth forever. Sometimes it just comes crashing down on you, and you're absolutely helpless when it does. This is definitely the case for a group of longtime friends ...

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REVIEW: When the Angel of Death Faces the Power of Prayer, We Get Chicken with Plums

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, September 16, 2012, In : 0.00% Water 
Chicken with Plums





Directed By: Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud

Starring: Mathieu Amalric, Edouard Baer, Maria de Medeiros, Golshifteh Farahani, Eric Caravaca, and Chiara Mastroianni

A title can sometimes tell you everything about a movie long before you see it or absolutely nothing at all.  Of all the movie titles I've encountered over the years, I have to say Chicken with Plums might just be the most enigmatic I've ever heard.  When I first learned of this movie, my initial thought was "...
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REVIEW: With Memory Problems, Gardening, and Theft, Robot & Frank Showcases How Old People are Sharper Than You Think

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, August 25, 2012, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Robot & Frank





Directed By: Jake Schreier

Starring: Frank Langella, Peter Sarsgaard, James Marsden, Liv Tyler, and Susan Sarandon

Indie cinema is all about the future this weekend.  With David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis and Jake Schreier's Robot & Frank, we've got two different movies at the indie box office that look ahead to what’s next for mankind.  While I'll talk about Cosmopolis later this weekend, I'd like to take a little time to talk about the futuristic comedy-drama Robot & Frank and how...
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REVIEW: While He's the Boy Who Keeps on Giving Leaves, Timothy Green Is Far from Perfect & Leads an Odd Life

Posted by James Brown on Friday, August 17, 2012, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
The Odd Life of Timothy Green





Directed By: Peter Hedges

Starring: Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton, CJ Adams, Ron Livingston, Dianne Wiest, Odeya Rush, Rosemarie DeWitt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, M. Emmet Walsh, Lois Smith, David Morse, and Common

August is the anti-climactic part of the summer movie season.  Every year, we basically get the same thing.  We'll get a healthy dose of B movies, awful horror flicks, and one or two sappy films.  This year, one of those sappy movies is The Odd Life of Timothy...
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REVIEW: Dr. Feld Breaks Some Noses to Get Things Going for Arnold and Kay in Hope Springs

Posted by James Brown on Friday, August 10, 2012, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Hope Springs





Directed By: David Frankel

Starring: Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Steve Carell, and Elisabeth Shue

Life is good for Meryl Streep this year.  She's added another statue named Oscar to her award shelf.  She's considered by most to be the greatest living actress.  She's enjoying her status as acting royalty and taking her career in whatever direction she chooses.  Now that she's brought The Iron Lady to the big screen, the legendary actress is joining forces with Tommy Lee Jones to e...
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REVIEW: Farewell, My Queen is the Wrong Title for This Movie. 'Goodbye' is Not in Sidonie's Vocabulary

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, July 29, 2012, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Farewell, My Queen





Directed By: Benoít Jacquot

Starring: Diane Kruger, Léa Seydoux, and Virginie Ledoyen

I can't lie.  When I first heard of Farewell, My Queen, I thought it would be a rather steamy film that highlighted an alleged lesbian romance between Marie-Antoinette and the Duchess of Polignac with the French Revolution as the backdrop for the film.  As it turns out, it's just the opposite.  This lesbian romance is emphasized in the film but takes a backseat to the French Revolution and ...
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REVIEW: In Trishna, Freida Pinto Blossoms Like a Jasmine Flower & Then Shows Us the Sad Truth Love Has Taught Her

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, July 29, 2012, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Trishna





Directed By: Michael Winterbottom

Starring: Freida Pinto and Riz Ahmed

I love movies about Indians.  There's something special about getting exposure to Indian culture on the big screen—their music, their dance, their arts.  These movies are often uniquely enjoyable experiences.  To some extent, it's like traveling without actually going anywhere.  With the British drama Trishna, we get just that, a healthy dose of Indian culture.

Jay (Riz Ahmed) and his friends are traveling in India. ...
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REVIEW: Take This Waltz — Playful Flirtation, Lust, Marriage and The “A” Word

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Sunday, July 8, 2012, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Take This Waltz
SoberFilmChick




Directed By: Sarah Polley

Starring: Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Sarah Silverman, and Luke Kirby

It is incredibly difficult to tell an original story about love and marriage.  Let’s face it, romance has been stirred, beaten and cooked to death by books, television and movies.  But with Take This Waltz, Director Sarah Polley offers a fresh and real perspective on marriage and relationships between men and women.

Margot (Michelle Williams) is a young married writer...
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REVIEW: As the Fabric of Her Universe Unravels, Hushpuppy Learns How to Survive in the Bathtub in Beasts of the Southern Wild

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, July 7, 2012, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Beasts of the Southern Wild





Directed By: Benh Zeitlin

Starring: Quvenzhané Wallis and Dwight Henry

"The whole universe depends on everything fitting together just right. If one piece busts, even the smallest piece... the whole universe will get busted."
-Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis)


The SoberFilmCritic has the inside scoop for you today.  I just checked out Beasts of the Southern Wild, an indie based on Lucy Alibar's play Juicy and Delicious.  The moviegoers in my screening got a special treat....
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REVIEW: In People Like Us, Sam Leans Into It Despite the Fact That He Has a Certain Talent for Running Away From His Family's Drama

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, June 30, 2012, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
People Like Us





Directed By: Alex Kurtzman

Starring: Chris Pine, Olivia Wilde, Elizabeth Banks, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mark Duplass, and Jon Favreau

You don't see too many mainstream family dramas coming out at this time of year.  With films like Ted, Magic Mike, and The Amazing Spider-Man getting all the buzz, a good family drama is likely to be a flop at the box office.  People Like Us is an interesting choice for release on 4th of July weekend.  It's a great movie.  Sadly, it's also a film that's ...
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REVIEW: God Bless America — A Vicious Indictment of American Culture

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Monday, June 25, 2012, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
God Bless America
SoberFilmChick




Directed By: Bobcat Goldthwait

Starring: Joel Murray, Tara Lynne Barr, Mackenzie Brooke Smith, and Melinda Page Hamilton

In the opening scene of God Bless America, the antihero dreams of going next door and shooting his incredibly obnoxious neighbors.  He shoots the father and then shoots the baby as blood splatters all over the mother.  As a viewer, at that point, I had to decide whether to follow my instinct and recoil from the sight or momentarily suspend my ho...
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REVIEW: You Can Get All Your Classic Rock While Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, June 23, 2012, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Seeking a Friend for the End of the World





Directed By: Lorene Scafaria

Starring: Steve Carell, Keira Knightley, Rob Corddry, Patton Oswalt, Adam Brody, Derek Luke, and Martin Sheen

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think Steve Carell has been typecast as an actor.  In one way or another, he always plays somebody with an emotional imbalance.  His characters are either way too jolly or way too depressing.  He hardly ever plays normal people.  Just look back at a long list of films ranging fro...
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REVIEW: Getting Drunk, Going Down, & Getting Weird. Jack and Hannah Clearly Have a Good Time in Your Sister's Sister

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, June 16, 2012, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Your Sister's Sister





Directed By: Lynn Shelton

Starring: Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Mark Duplass

If a guy and a girl are best friends for a long period of time, chances are that they're going to fall in love some time down the road if they haven't done so already.  It's been proven time and time again in life.  It's even been proven on the big screen.  From When Harry Met Sally... to Zack and Miri Make a Porno, there are tons of examples on film.  The latest movie about best friends fall...
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REVIEW: Bel Ami May Not Be a King, But Being a Manwhore Pays Well Enough

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, June 9, 2012, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Bel Ami





Directed By: Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod

Starring: Robert Pattinson, Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Christina Ricci, and Colm Meaney

I'm not going to sugarcoat it.  Robert Pattinson is not my favorite actor.  His Twilight flicks are everything movies shouldn't be — utter crap.  Team Edward has corrupted a generation of female moviegoers.  If his career in the acting world must continue, a film like Bel Ami is a good fit for him.  After all, playing a manwhore is a step up fro...
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REVIEW: Chickens, Sparrows, and Peacocks. Peace, Love & Misunderstanding Has a Serious Obsession with Birds...and Weed

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, June 9, 2012, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Peace, Love & Misunderstanding





Directed By: Bruce Beresford

Starring: Jane Fonda, Catherine Keener, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Elizabeth Olsen, Chace Crawford, Nat Wolff, Marissa O'Donnell, Kyle MacLachlan, and Rosanna Arquette

If you were a hippie back in the day, you're now officially old.  The 60s were a long, long time ago, and the world has changed quite a bit.  There's one thing that hasn't changed.  People still love weed.  That's why we need hippie grandmothers like Jane Fonda's Grace in Peace...
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REVIEW: With References Like Kool & the Gang and Earth, Wind & Fire, Driss Gives Us One Wild Ride in The Intouchables

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, June 9, 2012, In : 0.00% Water 
The Intouchables





Directed By: Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano

Starring: François Cluzet and Omar Sy

It was voted the cultural event of the year in France last year.  It's won countless awards.  It has enamored millions of international moviegoers and conquered the box office overseas, raking in hundreds of millions of dollars in the process.  The celebrated film The Intouchables has finally made it to the US.  With the rather tepid reception here though, it's been a bit anticlimactic.  A fil...
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REVIEW: ¡Viva Cristo Rey! This Doesn't Mean You Won't Need Some Tequila During For Greater Glory Though

Posted by James Brown on Thursday, June 7, 2012, In : 0.12% Hard Liquor 
For Greater Glory





Directed By: Dean Wright

Starring: Andy Garcia, Eva Longoria, Eduardo Verástegui, Peter O'Toole, Bruce Greenwood, Oscar Isaac, and Nestor Carbonell

Religious tolerance has been a major issue throughout all of human history.  Nobody wants to be told by anyone else what to believe or what not to believe.  People want religious freedom (at least for themselves).  Nonetheless, what history remembers most often concerns those who are persecuted and denied the right to believe in wh...
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REVIEW: Polisse. That's How the Good Lord Works

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, May 26, 2012, In : 0.00% Water 
Polisse





Directed By: Maïwenn

Starring: Karin Viard, Joeystarr, Marina Foïs, Nicolas Duvauchelle, Karole Rocher, Emmanuelle Bercot, Frédéric Pierrot, Arnaud Henriet, Naidra Ayadi, Jérémie Elkaïm, and Maïwenn

Our society has a way of turning some of our more serious problems or struggles in life into entertainment.  Reality TV is a prime example of this.  It's turned love and relationships into a joke with shows like The Bachelor and Flavor of Love.  It's turned family life into a gag with...
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REVIEW: The Perfect Family Plays Like a Lifetime Movie

Posted by SoberFilmChick on Wednesday, May 16, 2012, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
The Perfect Family
SoberFilmChick




Directed By: Anne Renton

Starring: Kathleen Turner, Emily Deschanel, and Jason Ritter

I am a huge Kathleen Turner fan. I grew up on films like Romancing the Stone and The War of the Roses.  So I was delighted when I was tasked to review The Perfect Family, Turner’s new indie flick.  While the film definitely has some bright moments, it unfortunately feels more like a made for television movie.

The Perfect Family follows Eileen Cleary (Turner), a dutiful Catholic...
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REVIEW: Sink or Swim, The Old Folks Do It Up in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, May 5, 2012, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel





Directed By: John Madden

Starring: Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Dev Patel, Celia Imrie, Ronald Pickup, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, and Penelope Wilton

"Everything will be alright in the end.  So if it's not alright, it is not yet the end."
-Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel)

It's the summer blockbuster season once again, and we're at a time when all we get from Hollywood at the end of a hard week is a happy ending.  The world can be destroyed, but filmmakers have to make moviegoer...
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REVIEW: Monsieur Lazhar is the King of the Hill with a Classroom Full of Trees and Chrysalises

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, April 29, 2012, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Monsieur Lazhar
E7UBG7XVG7N8




Directed By: Philippe Falardeau

Starring: Mohamed Fellag, Sophie Nélisse, Émilien Néron, Danielle Proulx, Brigitte Poupart, and Jules Philip

A child's innocence is a one-time deal.  Once it's gone, it's gone for good.  That's why we as a society value it so much.  When a child is robbed of this innocence, it's a true tragedy.  That's why it's so incomprehensible that a suicidal teacher would hang herself in a classroom for all the school to see.  That's the proble...
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REVIEW: In Its Search for the Light, The Only Destiny That The Lucky One Finds is Deep Darkness

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, April 21, 2012, In : 0.12% Hard Liquor 
The Lucky One





Directed By: Scott Hicks

Starring: Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Jay R. Ferguson, and Blythe Danner

Love is the theme of the weekend at the box office.  After a couple of months full of comedies and action flicks, studios decided to throw the dating public a bone and try to give them something a little more romantic.  With the adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks novel The Lucky One, they failed miserably though.

US Marine Logan Thibault stumbles across a photo of a beautiful woman whil...
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REVIEW: If the American Educational System is Dead, Detachment is the Eulogy

Posted by James Brown on Friday, April 6, 2012, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Detachment





Directed By: Tony Kaye

Starring: Adrien Brody, James Caan, Christina Hendricks, Lucy Liu, Marcia Gay Harden, Tim Blake Nelson, Bryan Cranston, Sami Gayle, and William Petersen

Teaching is a tough vocation, particularly in public schools.  Aside from being underpaid and overstressed in a thankless job, teachers have to deal with the most dangerous force on Earth, ignorance.  They have to deal with ignorant parents who don't equip their kids with the tools or the mindset to thrive in th...
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REVIEW: The Kid with a Bike Is a Scrappy Little Pitbull

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, April 1, 2012, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
The Kid with a Bike





Directed By: Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne

Starring: Cécile de France and Thomas Doret

If you recall from my review of Delicacy last week, I was hoping that the saccharine romantic comedy was a hidden gem among a slate of great films from or involving France.  I was wrong then, and have some leftover Merlot to prove it.  I'm happy to say that I've found a gem in Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's French (and Belgian) film The Kid with a Bike.

Cyril (Thomas Doret) is a 12 ...
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REVIEW: The Deep Blue Sea Is Lethally Romantic

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, March 31, 2012, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
The Deep Blue Sea





Directed By: Terence Davies

Starring: Rachel Weisz, Tom Hiddleston, and Simon Russell Beale


"Sometimes, it's tough to judge when you're caught between the devil and the deep blue sea."
-Hester Collyer (Rachel Weisz)

Love is the most powerful force on Earth.  It can be the best and worst part of life.  It can give you a euphoria you've never known, or it can just as easily put you through a hell that clouds your judgment.  This is the case for Hester Collyer when she tries to comm...
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REVIEW: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen Has a Little Bit of Something for Everyone

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, March 11, 2012, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen





Directed By: Lasse Holström

Starring: Emily Blunt, Ewan McGregor, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Amr Waked

Running a site like STMR means I have to go see movies that don't necessarily appeal to me.  In the last few weeks alone, I've seen the crappy party movie Project X, the absolutely humorless film Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie, and the less than impactful romance The Vow.  Now, I'm relegating myself to going to see movies about fishing with the British romantic...
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REVIEW: Being Flynn Is All About Being Homeless on the Cold, Hard Streets

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, March 11, 2012, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Being Flynn





Directed By: Paul Weitz

Starring: Robert De Niro, Paul Dano, Olivia Thirlby, and Julianne Moore

Every single one of us has some homeless person we encounter on a regular basis.  He may be that guy you see on the subway or bus on your way to school.  He could be someone you regularly pass on the streets while walking to work.  He could even be the guy you see in the mirror when you wake up in the morning.  My point is that homelessness is an all too common phenomenon, and you never kn...
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REVIEW: We Need To Talk About Kevin...Seriously. This Kid Is Evil!

Posted by James Brown on Thursday, March 8, 2012, In : 0.00% Water 
We Need To Talk About Kevin





Directed By: Lynne Ramsay

Starring: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, and Ezra Miller


Some kids are just born monsters.  From the moment they arrive, you know they're rotten to the core.  Their parents can dish out all the love and affection in the world.  They can try to instill some semblance of moral values.  They can do everything in their power to give these black sheep normal lives.  At the end of the day, they're just pure evil in human form.  There's absolutely n...
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REVIEW: The Forgiveness of Blood - The Kanun And Blood Feuds

Posted by Mary Dieng on Tuesday, March 6, 2012, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
The Forgiveness of Blood
Mary Dieng




Directed By: Joshua Marston

Starring: Tristan Halilaj, Sindi Lacej, Refet Abazi, and Ilire Vinca Celaj


There are some films that make you surf the Internet and do a little research upon viewing them.   You feel compelled to find out whether the subject matter is real or whether the filmmakers were pulling your leg.  Joshua Marston's The Forgiveness of Blood is that kind of film and I found myself googling Albania and the Kanun as soon as the credits started rol...
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REVIEW: Declaration of War- A Parent’s Worst Nightmare

Posted by Mary Dieng on Saturday, March 3, 2012, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Declaration of War
Mary Dieng




Directed By: Valérie Donzelli

Starring: Valérie Donzelli, Jérémie Elkaïm, and César Desseix


A parent’s worst nightmare is that their child will become sick.  From the moment you have a baby, you feel an overwhelming need to protect him or her from anything and everything.  But there are some things, like disease, that even mom can’t make go away.  The French film Declaration of War takes us into the heart of a family’s struggle with the unthinkable.

Romeo ...
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REVIEW: Tyler Perry's Good Deeds – Not Too Bad

Posted by Mary Dieng on Saturday, February 25, 2012, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Good Deeds
Mary Dieng




Directed By: Tyler Perry

Starring: Tyler Perry, Thandie Newton, Brian J. White, Rebecca Romijn, Jamie Kennedy, Phylicia Rashad, and Gabrielle Union


I will confess, I was not excited when I was asked to review Tyler Perry’s new film Good Deeds.  Not that I don’t like Perry (Mr. Brown aside).  At their core, his films tend to be about redemption and the triumph of the human spirit.  They are, however, often predictable, and the trailer for Good Deeds looked like a made-for...
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REVIEW: Kill List - A Brutal, Disturbing Thriller

Posted by Mary Dieng on Sunday, February 12, 2012, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Kill List
Mary Dieng




Directed By: Ben Wheatley

Starring: Neil Maskell, Michael Smiley, MyAnna Buring, and Emma Fryer


Confused and Disturbed.  That would describe my feelings at the end of viewing Kill List.  WTH would also be appropriate.  Kill List is the story of Jay (Neil Maskell), an ex-British soldier who has hit hard financial times.  He has not worked in over eight months and his wife Shel (Myanna Buring), also a former soldier, is irate.  The film begins with them bickering at a dinner pa...
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REVIEW: Moments of Impact. The Vow Offered Very Few of Them.

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, February 11, 2012, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
The Vow





Directed By: Michael Sucsy

Starring: Channing Tatum, Rachel McAdams, Sam Neill, Scott Speedman, Jessica Lange, and Jessica McNamee

I can't lie. I'm not a huge fan of Channing Tatum.  I think he's a very limited actor whose best moments on screen are those when he's not talking.  At the same time, I'm a fan of Rachel McAdams.  It's been a long time since the days of Mean Girls and Wedding Crashers, and I've enjoyed watching her grow as an actress over the years.  With each new role she ta...
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REVIEW: Perfect Sense – A Sexy Love Story In The Midst Of the Apocalypse

Posted by Mary Dieng on Saturday, February 4, 2012, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Perfect Sense
Mary Dieng




Directed By: David Mackenzie

Starring: Eva Green and Ewan McGregor


The mark of a solid independent film is whether it leaves you thinking long after you have seen it.  You know what I’m talking about—the films where you’re not sure what you just saw after the lights go up and you walk out of the theater; the films that leave you conversing with a friend, questioning what the purpose was and what it all means; the films that make you want to go back to a college comp...
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REVIEW: Loosies – Pickpockets Have Problems Too

Posted by Mary Dieng on Sunday, January 29, 2012, In : 0.09% Cocktails 
Loosies
Mary Dieng




Directed By: Michael Corrente

Starring: Peter Facinelli, Jaimie Alexander, Michael Madsen, Joe Pantoliano, and Vincent Gallo

Criminals, they’re just like the rest of us!  They work their nine to five jobs with little financial reward and the “man” on their backs.  They take care of their moms, and they don’t make the best decisions when it comes to love.   Who knew?

Bobby (Peter Facinelli) is a thirty-something year old pickpocket who works the streets of New York.  Bobb...
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REVIEW: Albert Nobbs Is a Daft Picture of Repression

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, January 29, 2012, In : 0.12% Hard Liquor 
Albert Nobbs





Directed By: Rodrigo García

Starring: Glenn Close, Mia Wasikowska, Aaron Johnson, Janet McTeer, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Brendan Gleeson, and Maria Doyle Kennedy

January is the worst time of year for movies.  We as moviegoers get the short end of the stick in so many ways.  For mainstream films, we get all the crap that studios can't put out any other time of the year when there's real competition.  For indie films, we're stuck with the flicks we've already seen in the fall.  They've ...
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REVIEW: As Margaret Thatcher, Meryl Streep Gives Us the Rusty Old Iron Lady

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, January 14, 2012, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
The Iron Lady





Directed By: Phyllida Lloyd

Starring: Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Anthony Head, and Richard E. Grant

Does great acting make a film great?  This awards season has answered this very important question.  Though it was never posed, it is worthwhile.  Well, the answer has consistently been an adamant "no".  Just look at Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar.  On paper, the film was destined for the Oscars.  What we got however was a subpar historical drama on one of America's most controversial m...
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REVIEW: With Silent Movie The Artist, Hazanavicius Makes A Loud Declaration of His Love For The Films of the Past

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, December 25, 2011, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
The Artist





Directed By: Michel Hazanavicius

Starring: Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo


Fall 2011 seems like the season for filmmakers to put out movies about making movies.  First, we had Martin Scorsese's Hugo.  Then, we had Simon Curtis' My Week with Marilyn.  Now, we have French director Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist.  With all these films, I'm now just waiting on some bold director to tackle the current period in movie history.  I wonder how they're going to glorify the crap that studios ...
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REVIEW: Young Adult Is a Little Too Heavy at Times. I Might Have to Take a Break at the Bar.

Posted by James Brown on Saturday, December 17, 2011, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Young Adult





Directed By: Jason Reitman

Starring: Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson, and Patton Oswalt


When I first heard of Jason Reitman's Young Adult, I got pretty excited.  With great films like Up In the Air and Juno on this guy's resume, I figured we were in for a real treat.  Those black comedies that Reitman's has done in the past have a great blend of humor and drama.  Given this, I expected more of that same good stuff in Young Adult, especially considering that Charlize Theron is starrin...
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REVIEW: We Bought a Zoo Is Better Than It Looks, Seriously

Posted by James Brown on Monday, November 28, 2011, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
We Bought a Zoo





Directed By: Cameron Crowe

Starring: Matt Damon, Thomas Haden Church, Elle Fanning, Colin Ford, Scarlett Johansson, and Desi Lydic

The holidays inevitably bring lots of attempts by Hollywood to make heartwarming films.  More often than not, they're a bunch of sappy crap, but every once in a while, a good family film is made that's both stirring and realistic.  When I heard acclaimed director and screenwriter Cameron Crowe was tackling the story of Benjamin Mee in We Bought a Zoo,...
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REVIEW: The Descendants Is One Big Beautiful, Somber Take on Hawaiian Life

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, November 20, 2011, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
The Descendants





Directed By: Alexander Payne

Starring: George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Judy Greer, and Beau Bridges

George Clooney has been a busy man this year. He's directed and starred in The Ides of March.  Now he's starring in Alexander Payne's The Descendants.  In both films, he's been at his absolute best.  On the other hand, Alexander Payne, who's known for his films About Schmidt and Sideways, has been just the opposite.  We haven't seen him behind the camera in seven years.  In The D...
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REVIEW: Margin Call Is the Right Call for Moviegoers

Posted by James Brown on Tuesday, November 15, 2011, In : 0.00% Water 
Margin Call





Directed By: J.C. Chandor

Starring: Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Penn Badgley, Simon Baker, Mary McDonnell, Demi Moore, and Stanley Tucci


With the Occupy Wall Street movement raging around the country, this is an ideal time to put out a movie about the decisions of a few that have tremendously impacted the lives of many.  J.C. Chandor's Margin Call chronicles the beginning of doomsday for a large investment bank on Wall Street.  Margin Call is a gripping ...
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REVIEW: Like Crazy Balks Hollywood Tradition and Tells the Truth About Love

Posted by James Brown on Wednesday, November 9, 2011, In : 0.00% Water 
Like Crazy





Directed By: Drake Doremus

Starring: Anton Yelchin, Felicity Jones, and Jennifer Lawrence


Love is a truly unpredictable thing that can challenge, inspire, and torment you at the same time.  When you find it, you should hold onto it.   It undoubtedly will present many challenges and a taste for a few strong drinks along the way.  No challenge is more difficult or painful than distance.  Specifically, long distance relationships can hurt like hell and can kill the spark between two love...
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REVIEW: The Rum Diary Proudly Stumbles Into Theaters in a Drunken Stupor

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, October 30, 2011, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
The Rum Diary





Directed By: Bruce Robinson

Starring: Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Rispoli, Amber Heard, Richard Jenkins, and Giovanni Ribisi

What's so special about the Sixties?  Sure, they had MLK, JFK, and hippies, but studios have fallen for this decade a bit too hard lately.  After the success of AMC's Mad Men, shows like Pan Am and the short-lived The Playboy Club started popping up everywhere.  The small screen wasn't good enough however.  We also had films like Hairspray, Get Smart,...
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REVIEW: 50/50 Beats the Odds and Strikes Cinematic Gold

Posted by James Brown on Monday, October 3, 2011, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
50/50





Directed By: Jonathan Levine

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Anjelica Huston


Generally, dealing with the subject of cancer is a touchy subject, even on the big screen.  When the powers that be decided to tackle the life of screenwriter Will Reiser and the nearly insurmountable challenges posed by his cancer and the notion of dying young, they knew that they needed a few jokes to cut the tension of such depressing subjects.  In the dramedy...
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REVIEW: Moneyball Has a Perfect Batting Average

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, September 25, 2011, In : 0.00% Water 
Moneyball





Directed By: Bennett Miller

Starring: Brad Pitt, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jonah Hill, Robin Wright, Chris Pratt, and Casey Bond

Most sports movies capture the thrill of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.  They delve into the joys of winning and the sorrows of losing.  They do nothing more than depict competition and what drives it.  That's your basic sports movie.  Anything beyond that is a bonus.  Given this, I went into Bennett Miller's Moneyball expecting a decent baseball fl...
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REVIEW: Ryan Gosling Puts the Pedal to the Metal in Drive

Posted by James Brown on Sunday, September 18, 2011, In : 0.03% Wine Coolers 
Drive






Directed By: Nicolas Winding Refn

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, Albert Brooks, and Ron Perlman


Every once in a while, a movie comes along, and you don't quite know what to make of it.  You know you enjoyed it, but you feel that something is missing that's keeping you from running to the mountaintops shouting how great the movie is.  You wonder if it could have been just a little better.  Nicholas Winding Refn's Drive is one of those films.  Do...
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REVIEW: Warrior is a Decent Sports Flick Worth a Few Rounds

Posted by James Brown on Wednesday, September 7, 2011, In : 0.06% Beer or Wine 
Warrior





Directed By: Gavin O'Connor

Starring: Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy, and Nick Nolte


There's an unique euphoria we all get from watching people beat the hell out of each other for a couple of hours in a great sports flick.  It just makes us feel good inside.  The mixed martial arts (MMA) film Warrior has plenty of great moments, but it drowns in unnecessary drama.

Paddy Conlon (Nick Nolte)  is a former alcoholic whose addictive and abusive tendencies ripped his family apart years ago.  His wife...
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