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Oscar-Nominated Short Films


The 2013 Oscar-nominated Shorts sizzle
Ryan Syrek

Outside of the unspeakable fame and groupies, the best part of being a movie critic is getting a peek at stuff you may otherwise never see. One of my favorite annual traditions is checking out what the Academy felt were little films worthy of a little guy made of gold. This year’s group is cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die (no takebacks) the...

entered on 01/25/13 at 11:24 PM | read more »



You’ll Need a Haneke

Amour

Oh, hell no. Why you gotta do us like that, writer/director Michael Haneke? Is life not already emotionally dense enough that you have to go and drop Amour on us just to remind us how finite and precious this human experience is? This is the sort of film you don’t watch first thing in the morning (because your whole day is shot wallowing in the reality of mortality) or last thing at night...

entered on 01/12/13 at 09:05 AM | read more »



Mile-High Rock Bottom

Flight

By the ghost of Ernest Hemingway: Is anything more consistently compelling than the narrative of a brilliant, talented soul undone by uncontrollable addiction? Flight is an old spin on an old tale, focusing on a hero without a heroic bone in his body and a liver that hates him. Director Robert Zemeckis and writer John Gatins may go to the proverbial cliché well over and over again, but so long...

entered on 01/12/13 at 08:39 AM | read more »



White People Nearly Died

The Impossible

The 2004 tsunami that struck Eastern Asia was the sixth deadliest “act of God” in recorded history and quieted just under 300,000 lives. The first major motion picture to tackle the subject, The Impossible, is about a group of white folks who get injured and significantly inconvenienced while brown people all around them die in horrible fashion. This is equivalent to making a Holocaust movie...

entered on 01/12/13 at 08:00 AM | read more »



Where You Been, Laden?

Zero Dark Thirty

That members of the US Senate have spent more time discussing the fictional depiction of torture in Zero Dark Thirty than they spent discussing the actual torture the military was performing in the wake of 9/11 is yet more proof that “congress” is the opposite of “progress.” Of course, this isn’t to say that director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal aren’t challenging our ethics. They...

entered on 01/11/13 at 11:29 PM | read more »



Golden Piffle

Silver Linings Playbook

“Never go full retard.” – Kirk Lazarus (aka Robert Downey Jr), Tropic Thunder

 

Writer/director David O. Russell used to go “full retard.” This is to say that in search of making meaningful art, he was willing to offend folks (which is why there is a cultural slur in the statement above). Russell’s latest, Silver Linings Playbook, chooses to adhere to that mantra, spoken by fictional actor...

entered on 01/09/13 at 11:15 PM | read more »



Les Swing and Les Miss

Les Miserables

Two minutes in: You can do this, Ryan. Sure, a three-hour film version of a Broadway musical is a dry way to waterboard you, but people say Les Misérables is the best adaptation yet. Maybe this is the one that finally changes your mind.

Five minutes in: No. No, It isn’t. This is hell. This is my personal hell.

Twenty minutes in: If anyone finds this message, please get word to director Tom...

entered on 01/08/13 at 05:51 AM | read more »


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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

The epic conclusion to the most epic of epics.

GRADE
A-


The Babadook

A terrifying tale of an ooky pop-up book and motherly love.

GRADE
A


The Tale of Princess Kaguya

A water-colored take on a Japanese folktale that is prettier than it is interesting.

GRADE
B-


The Theory of Everything

"Out of this world" performances buoy a sub-par script.

GRADE
B+


Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Half of what promises to be an epic conclusion to a fabulous series.

GRADE
B+


Birdman

A delirously fun satirical send up of artistic pretension. 

GRADE
B+


The Overnighters

"The Grapes of Wrath" in documentary form set in North Dakota.

GRADE
A-


Interstellar

If this was humanity's last hope, give up.

GRADE
D


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