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Out in Theaters: ‘STRONGER’

Outside of the inclusion of a deadbeat protagonist, there’s not much to distinguish Stronger as a David Gordon Green effort. The director behind such mumblecore indie fare as Prince Avalanche and Joe (the former of which I detested, the later proved a borderline-excellent showcase for Nic Cage)  and comedy zingers the likes of Pineapple Express and the Kenny Powers-led Eastbound and Down (I’m a big enough fan of both) has decided to lens the Boston Marathon Bombing through the eyes of one of its victims and the result, though finely acted, is a mixed bag of emotional highs and lows at best and opportunistic at worst. Surely it’s not the shmuck bait of Charlie Sheen’s 9/11 but there is very little to justify its existence beyond Hollywood capitalizing on tragedy and you feel that in almost every second of Stronger.  Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘GOAT’

Goat harrowingly explores the hypocrisy of fraternal brotherhood, bearing witness to the ugly rights of passage that men must submit to into order to earn their badge of masculinity. In Andrew Neel‘s testosterone-fueled melodrama, ideas of modern masculinity are examined through the lens of the Phi Sigma Mu fraternity of the fictitious Brookman University as new arriving “goats” (that’s pledges to those who don’t speak frat) are victim to a brutal “hell week”.    Read More

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Sundance ’16 Review: ‘GOAT’

Goat harrowingly explores the hypocrisy of fraternal brotherhood, bearing witness to the ugly rights of passage that men must submit to into order to earn their badge of masculinity. In Andrew Neel‘s testosterone-fueled melodrama, ideas of modern masculinity are examined through the lens of the Phi Sigma Mu fraternity of the fictitious Brookman University as new arriving “goats” (that’s pledges to those who don’t speak frat) are victim to a brutal “hell week”. Read More

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Out in Theaters: ‘OUR BRAND IS CRISIS’

David Gordon Green is as hit-and-miss a director as they come. He is also about as prolific as they come. Our Brand is Crisis is Green’s fourth film over the last three year period, coming on the heels of 2014’s widely panned Manglehorn starring Al Pacino. In 2013, Green saw two films open, the highly regarded backwoods drama Joe, starring a Nicholas Cage at the top of his game, and the off-beat buddy comedy Prince Avalanche. Even as a relative Green fan, I hated Prince Avalanche, citing its ill-fitting petulance and overwhelming sense of idiotic indecency as sources of extreme personal annoyance, but found Joe to be thoughtful and dramatically rich (if not excessively dour). Not to mention, it featured Cage’s best performance in years. Read More

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Out in Theaters: JOE

Joe populates a stretch of XL bible belted, confederate flag-waving backwoods Texas with rapists and murders of the worst degree, painting a picture so unrelenting bleak that a repeat drunk driver that spends his days in whore houses and/or dog fighting is our closest thing to a hero. It’s a place where slavery may as well have been yesteryear, where molestation lurks around every corner, where hope goes to die. It’s a small nowheresville of inexplicable evil. Like a flash sideways where Jack didn’t cork the Island’s malevolent juju (“Lost” reference alert). Joe lives in a land where morals come to roast on skewers and are snacked on by open-mouthed buffoons. This is Kentucky Fried hell. But even hell must have its fallen angels. Read More