Sugar KurtzI was all totally jazzed about Searching for Sugar Man. The movie sits right in my wheel house. Some Afrikaner music nerds get all every-man-detective and go looking for answers regarding a mysterious American singer/songwriter by the name of Sixto Rodriguez–who went by the fairly uncreative nom de plum Rodriguez. I remained totally jazzed over the two days I watched it. However, in the day (and change) that has elapsed since I finished it, I’m left feeling pretty empty. (more…)


One of the benefits of having limited resources is that I’m much more careful with that $10-15 when I approach the box office. I know there were bad films this year, like every year, but I didn’t see any of them. To some extent, that makes these lists that much harder to write. Because 2011 seemed to be an uncharacteristically great year for cinema–my numbers two and three could have been at the top in almost any other year, this list is both a labor of love and an actual labor. As I’ve written, or struggled to write, about certain films, I’ve shuffled things around, dropped them off my list, gone back and reviewed when films were easy to access–though having them streaming on Netflix doesn’t always make them accessible (nudge, nudge). So, without further ado, here are the films that resonated most strongly with me in 2011 (though I saw three of them in 2012). (more…)

This is my second post about Kevin Smith’s cinematic “swan song,” Red State. I realize I may be succumbing to the trench coat-clad director’s whims by spending so much of my time on it, but the movie practically screams out to the world “talk about me!”
I’ve already talked about the film’s uneven second half, but I’ve felt compelled to chronicle the film’s downfall. Like the collapse of the 2011 Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox, there’s something magical and fascinating about the erosion of Red State. Strap in, this is a long one (but there are also lots of pictures!). (more…)

I haven’t felt the desire to write much lately–as the date line on the second most recent post will indicate, but Kevin Smith‘s supposed cinematic swan song, Red State, has stirred something in me. I have a real soft spot for art with rough edges. Red State definitely fits the bill. I find the film so interesting, I’m compelled to compose two write-ups on Smith’s foray into horror: this more conventional review, and a breakdown of one of the film’s pivotal scenes; which will probably drop in a week or so.
As I’ve already implied, Red State is a mixed bag of a film. A film with a broad scope and vision without the budget to bring it to fruition, a run time without space to show it as thoroughly as needed, and an auteur without the patience to give each aspect it’s due diligence. However, what Smith has almost always lacked in technical skill, he’s usually made up for with above average to even great dialogue and an obvious love for the project. (more…)

2010 was a lean year, my friends; both cinematically and personally. While I spent much of the summer cooped-up, wishing for enough money for a ticket to a show or a movie, there were few films which were actually worth the $10+ admission. Of course, no year is completely devoid of entertainment or pathos-rich catharsis. So, below, I present the a list, the final list in this long series looking back at this past year, of 10 films (and honorable mentions) that really did it for me in 2010.  (more…)

Director: Davis Guggenheim
Featuring: Geoffrey Canada, Michelle Rhee, Bill Strickland & Davis Guggenheim

1/2 (out of five)

There are several issues at play in Davis Guggenheim’s latest zeitgeist-tapping, Oscar-baiting, tear-jearking documentary, Waiting for Superman, and some of the scatter-shot pinpointing pokes holes in what seems to be Guggenheim’s central thesis: charter schools are the wave of the future and teacher’s unions are bad. While, at heart, this isn’t a terrible line of thought, this issue is complex and ignores the instances where charter schools are unsuccessful and teacher’s unions are advocates for a grossly put upon and poorly paid profession. (more…)

Director: Kanye West

Staring: Selita Ebanks & Kanye West

(out of five)

Part of Kanye West’s original appeal was not only his beats and his openness, but also a great potential, a promise that he may actually be the new direction for hip-hop, if not pop music. I don’t know if Runaway fulfills that promise, but it certainly is one more brick in that wall.
West has been in a league of his own for the last several years, nearing pop figure-heads like Prince, Michael Jackson, and Madonna in cross-over appeal/potential. Yeezy’s aped the alien hip-hop persona of Andre 3000  while living high and kingly like his “big brother,” Jay-Z, creating this hybrid of European flash, and mogul rapper, almost Euro-trap. Even his languid auto-tunned Dear John of an album, 808’s and Heartbreak occupied it’s own corner of a newly crowded R(ap)&B field, if by no other metric than a single-minded, well-constructed theme (heartbreak). But his serial mixtape, which I’ve been covering fanatically, and this new promotional film put him in a whole other category, approaching the stratospheric heights of pop-as-art like The Beatles. (more…)

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