If you want the gravy…

…You've got to get the biscuits!


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DOPE Review – ***½

They're supposedly 90s devotees, but the tagline references a song from 2005. (Source)

They’re supposedly 90s devotees, but the tagline references a song from 2005. (Source)

¹Dope is the kind of film that defies easy categorization and criticism. Its tone, its story, and its special mixture of strengths and weaknesses cannot be easily summarized. It’s the kind of film which many will consider better than it is–and for valid reasons. It’s the kind of film you want to like, and there are times when I liked it quite a bit. But it has serious fundamental issues, some easier to address than others, and in the end it barely sneaks into the **** level¹.

It’s the kind of film which gives you too much time to ponder its issues.

¹After further reflection, I realized the film’s issues were enough to push from a low **** to a high ***½.

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LOVE & MERCY Review – ****½

One of the better posters of the year so far. And one of the better films. (Source)

One of the better posters of the year so far. And one of the better films. (Source)

So I’m back home and back reviewing movies, and I’ve got quite a bit of catching up to do. There are a number of reviews I’d like to get out in the next two weeks, and originally this was to be part of a triple review with Tomorrowland and The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. But this film is good enough to have its own article, and indeed, it’s one of the nicest surprises of the first half of 2015: a musical biopic that just might stand on its own cinematic legs in the years to come. As with many such films, it highlights a superior lead performance(s), but Love & Mercy has more to it than that. It’s a hell of a film in a lot of ways, and even if it probably won’t make a tenth of what Jurassic World made in its first weekend, it’s by far the better film.

See it before it’s gone.

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TRAILER SALAD IX – THE MEGAPACK: MACBETH, EVEREST, THE WALK, FELT (NSFW), THE TRIBE (NSFW?), Z FOR ZACHARIAH, MISTRESS AMERICA, ARABIAN NIGHTS, KAHLIL GIBRAN’S THE PROPHET, CRIMSON PEAK, SUFFRAGETTE, PAWN SACRIFICE, IRRATIONAL MAN, EDEN, I BELIEVE IN UNICORNS, 99 HOMES, LILA & EVE, UNEXPECTED, WELCOME TO HAPPINESS, A WALK IN THE WOODS

Oh, hell yes.

The reviews for this out of Cannes were pretty damn good. And I can see why.

I’m predicting nominations from me for Actor, Actress, Cinematography, Makeup, Original Score, and Sound Mixing, with Picture and Director distinct possibilities.

This is also just a damned well-cut trailer.

Anyway, I’ve got 19 more trailers for you, so let’s get to it:

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THE SAND CASTLE Review – ***

“What’s it gonna be?”
“A sand castle.”
“…sand castle? (long pause) Sand castle?” (Source)

My dad used to own a CD-Rom called Cinemania, a movie encyclopedia which was a major, major influence on my blossoming love of film. The foundation of Cinemania was a vast collection of movie reviews, most notably those of Leonard Maltin, Roger Ebert, and Pauline Kael. Among the films I first heard of through Cinemania was a 1960¹ film called The Sand Castle, described by Maltin as the story of a boy who builds a sand castle and imagines people living in it.

It was an interesting enough premise, and the fact that I’d never heard of the film didn’t hurt. Years later, remembering the film, I looked it up, only to find little trace of it online. I would continue to search, and was able to find the film’s soundtrack, but the actual film continued to elude me. I learned I could rent a tape of the film from the Museum of Modern Art for $45 (or buy it for $160!), but barring such an indulgence, the film seemed effectively out of my reach.

Then, Googling the film yet again, searching for whatever I could find about it, I discovered that the Jerome Foundation–devoted to The Sand Castle‘s writer-director Jerome Hill–had uploaded the film to Vimeo, ending my search. Finally, I had a spare hour², and finally saw the film I had so long wondered about.

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