Author: Paco Casablanca

JOE Movie Review

Like the Kanye West of Hollywood, Nicolas Cage is a misunderstood genius whose work is redefining what can be considered great or visionary. The Cage is well aware of his legacy’s misgivings but this hasn’t stopped him in pioneering a new acting style (Nouveau Shamanic) in an effort to transcend the art form’s more well known first dimension. After years of embracing a kabuki-style performance, Cage stated he wanted a quiet role he could sink his teeth into. In David Gordon Green’s newest project, JOE, he found a complex character whose being he could embody effortlessly. JOE begins with a long, static take focused squarely on an haggard man’s face. A teenage...

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NOAH Movie Review

After the ridiculously profitable BLACK SWAN ($330 million worldwide on a $13 million budget) doors opened for director Darren Aronofsky. He got the necessary clout to finally make a movie about NOAH, a man whose story he had been obsessing over since childhood. After rumors of a tumultuous production that allegedly had studio heads breathing down his neck to make it more commercial it was thought Aronofsky’s niche sensibilities would be minimized to make room for something more palatable. However, within a few minutes of watching NOAH I knew that for the next two+ hours I was going to...

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AMERICAN HUSTLE Movie Review

Given his propensity for on-set conflict, it’s with great surprise to find David O. Russell turned into a reliable hit-making director of the modern Hollywood era. He’s like a Ben Affleck but with a sense of humor. Given his professional limbo that followed the tepid reception to the under-appreciated I HEART HUCKABEES you wouldn’t have been remiss to have predicted artistic oblivion for O. Russell’s future. But alas, it is nine years later and the man finds himself on what will prove to be a three-movie hit streak (in every sense –critically, commercially, and awards-wise). The hoopla that followed...

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THE WORLD’S END Movie Review

THE WORLD’S END is the long awaited, amongst film dorks at least, final installment in Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy (named such for the appearance of a different flavor in each of the three films – SHAUN OF THE DEAD and HOT FUZZ being the other two). The three films are less of a narrative trilogy and more like three friends working together multiple times exploring some of the same themes. SHAUN OF THE DEAD examined the perils of consumerism, “sorting your life out, mate” and zombies. It’s a sweet zombie movie that was equal parts irreverent and terrifying. It...

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THE COUNSELOR Movie Trailer

A trailer came out for a movie you didn’t even know you wanted to see. After you find out who’s behind and in front of the camera along with its plot you’ll be as excited for THE COUNSELOR as you are for any other 2013 release. Official synopsis: Legendary filmmaker Ridley Scott and Pulitzer Prize winning author Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men) have joined forces in the motion picture thriller THE COUNSELOR, starring Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, and Brad Pitt. McCarthy (making his screenwriting debut) and Scott interweave the author’s characteristic wit and...

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ONLY GOD FORGIVES Movie Review

Unfortunately, this reflection on Nicholas Winding Refn’s new film ONLY GOD FORGIVES will have many pretentious-sounding film school words like “expressionism” and “mise en scene.” I apologize ahead of time but if you want to chop someone’s hands off set your sights on director Mr. Refn (PUSHER trilogy) himself instead of me. The film presented to audience by the man behind the terribly infectious BRONSON and the deliriously minimal VALHALLA RISING will be something of a letdown after 2011’s extremely nerd-popular, DRIVE. In his latest, Refn re-teams with Ryan Gosling (THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES) and composer Cliff Martinez...

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THE WOLF OF WALL STREET Movie Trailer

Marty “I was made to make movies” Scorsese has a new film (starring who else? but Leo DiCaprio) that comes out this Autumn. It’s called THE WOLF OF WALL STREET based on memoirs about this guy who in the 80’s was super rich off Wall Street. The book (and ostensibly, the movie) is about his rise and fall GOODFELLAS style. The screenplay was penned by none other than Terence Winter of BOARDWALK EMPIRE and THE SOPRANOS fame. Oh, so that’s how he knows Marty. As with any Scorsese film, no trailer no matter how bad, can convince me not...

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MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING Movie Review

Warning: The following review was written by a man who is neither a Whedonite nor a Shakespearean nerd. He was merely intrigued by Joss Whedon’s foray into a black and white microbudget adaptation of Shakespeare’s MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. Third person references notwithstanding, this review is going to get personal (as in I will be talking a little about myself –not “personal” like making fun of Joss Whedon’s male pattern baldness). It seems that films adapted from the works of William Shakespeare are in a genre of its own. If you don’t like them then perhaps you just “don’t get” Shakespeare....

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THE WORLD’S END Movie Trailer

Yo nerds! Are you excited to see the trailer from a movie made by the holy nerd trinity of Edgar Wright (SCOTT PILGRIM), Simon Pegg (HOT FUZZ) and Nick Frost (SHAUN OF THE DEAD)? If you answered “Yerp” then today is your lucky day. In THE WORLD’S END we follow these old chaps as they head back to their home town to carry out an immense pub crawl (American translation: bar hop) they never finished years ago. Once they arrive they notice something isn’t right with the townspeople. Have they stumbled upon an apocalypse in the making or are...

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TRANCE Movie Review

Writing a review for a twisty-topsy-turvy film like TRANCE is a little like walking through a minefield (not really, that would be horrifying). One false move and boom you’ve spoiled the movie. Now people hate you. It’s a thankless task. Even mentioning the existence of twists might be considered a spoiler to some. If you’ve seen the trailer then you wouldn’t be wrong to assume there are twists. After all, TRANCE is a heist film that heavily incorporates hypnosis into its plot. Or is it a hypnosis film that incorporates heists? Or am I describing INCEPTION? The two films,...

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ELYSIUM Movie Trailer

The year was 2009 when a modest Sci-Fi film directed by an unknown quantity grabbed the movie world in the throat by earning more than its budget back within the first three days. What followed was a total love affair between the movie geek world and the little South African film that could. It came out of nowhere, was set in a foreign land and starred actors very few had heard of. Thanks to Producer Peter Jackson (THE HOBBIT) who saw something special in Neill Blomkamp, the world has DISTRICT 9. Accumulating a $210 million worldwide gross and four...

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ONLY GOD FORGIVES Redband Movie Trailer

Hey, Girl. The redband trailer for the new Ryan Gosling and Nicolas Winding Refn (DRIVE) film has dropped out of genre-geek heaven. ONLY GOD FORGIVES is the name of their new crime drama that has the aforementioned Gosling (THE NOTEBOOK) in Thailand seeking revenge after a local police lieutenant kills his brother. He is spurned on by his unstable mother (Kristin Scott Thomas of MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE fame). If the film’s poster and Winding Refn’s earlier work are any indication we can expect a provocative blend of highly-stylized gritty violence. Let’s see if everyone’s hopes and dreams will come true. [youtube]http://youtu.be/YqAeVosG4zI[/youtube]...

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STOKER Movie Review

STOKER begins with an image of a young lady standing quietly in a field of wheat. In voiceover she pontificates that “just as a flower does not choose its color, we are not responsible for what we have come to be. Only once you realize this do you become free.” The film has just announced its main thesis but the audience is still trying to figure out what the unusual visuals of the opening scene mean and if the sound cutting in and out is there by design or if theater management should be notified (the former). While this...

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CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 Movie Trailer

A couple years back when it was announced that 21 JUMP STREET was going to get a 2012 repackaging in the form of a feature film many film fans were left scratching their heads. A lot of us wondered why anyone would revive a long dead property from the 80’s considering the target demographic of this new movie was probably unborn during the TV show’s heyday. I admit I was also puzzled and had doubts. Then I did a little research and learned it was directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller who were the two comedic gems that...

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SIDE EFFECTS Movie Review

SIDE EFFECTS opens with a crane shot of the New York city skyline that slowly moves over to a large apartment building with dozens and dozens of windows. From the outside every window looks identically harmless. The building isn’t in great shape. The design is practical and its colors dreary. It’s a dull structure. Despite this the camera pushes closer to one particular window inviting the audience to peep into the lives of those who inhabit the space. Like any big city there’s a thin veil of normalcy brought about by the population’s daily routines. Director Steven Soderbergh’s (OCEAN’S...

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TRANCE Movie Trailer

After taking some time off to direct the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, Danny Boyle (28 DAYS LATER, SUNSHINE) is back with the mind-bending heist thriller TRANCE. The film is well cast with James McAvoy (X-MEN: FIRST CLASS) as its lead; an expert thief who gets bonked in the head and cannot recall where he hid an invaluable piece of art. In supporting roles, there’s the awesomest Vincent Cassel (BLACK SWAN, EASTERN PROMISES) as the possible baddie who hires hypnotist Rosario Dawson (DEATH PROOF) to retrieve priceless information from our lead (Let’s hope whatever romance angle is...

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ZERO DARK THIRTY Movie Review

Why do we go the movies? Is it to disconnect from the little worlds we’ve created for ourselves? Is it in order to get lost in a make-believe narrative? Above all else, is it to be entertained? If so, where does a film like ZERO DARK THIRTY fit in? A film that in numerous media outlets has been described as “cold and clinical” in its procedural approach to telling the story of the largest manhunt in history: the search for Osama Bin Laden. The writer/director team (Mark Boal and Kathryn Bigelow) that brought us THE HURT LOCKER three years ago...

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THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES Movie Trailer

Back in 2010 Ryan Gosling (DRIVE) burst into the mainstream eye with Oscar nominated BLUE VALENTINE directed by Derek Cianfrance. The film was recognized as an emotionally gut-wrenching family drama that chronicled one couple’s ascension from courtship into blissful love and finally soul-crushing defeat. Cianfrance was touted for extracting a raw and vulnerable performance from Gosling, whom opposite Michelle Williams (BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN), garnered tons of critical acclaim. This year, the writer/director has teamed back up with Ryan “so hot right now” Gosling for THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES, the story of a motorcycle stunt driver turned felon in order to provide...

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TO THE WONDER Gets a Beautiful Trailer

Terrence Malick, resident hermit of American filmmaking, has been busy at work with a new movie set for US release this coming Spring 2013. It’s called TO THE WONDER and stars Ben Affleck (ARGO), Rachel McAdams (WEDDING CRASHERS), Olga Kurylenko (QUANTUM OF SOLACE) and Javier Bardem (NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN). Anyone who has seen Malick’s last two films (THE TREE OF LIFE, THE NEW WORLD) knows that it doesn’t matter who stars in it. Malick will probably show a ton of beautiful cinematography, peppered in with philosophical voice overs and solemn-faced actors. TO THE WONDER debuted at Cannes in...

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PAIN AND GAIN Movie Trailer

After the immense TRANSFORMERS trilogy, Michael Bay had the urge to scale it down and make a smaller film. He teamed up with Mark Wahlberg (THE FIGHTER), Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (FAST FIVE) and Anthony Mackie (THE HURT LOCKER) to bring to the screen a story about three dumb gym rats who think they’re smart enough to pull of a crime against dangerous baddies and find out the hard way that they are not. Can Michael Bay make a movie without destroying a city? Can he make a movie about humans? Let’s see. [youtube]http://youtu.be/SEQ8jyvmYtw[/youtube] So this is what a...

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