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Split - Review

Posted by Nick Spake on January 20, 2017 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Back when M. Night Shyamalan was on top of the world, seeing one of his movies felt like an eagerly awaited event. Between “Lady and the Water” and “After Earth,” however, Shyamalan became a walking punch line. So when “The Visit” came along a couple years ago, film fans went into the theater anticipating another cringe-fest. To the surprise of many, though, Shyamalan tur...

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Was it wrong for Joseph Fiennes to play Michael Jackson?

Posted by Nick Spake on January 15, 2017 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Seeing how it’s 2017, you’d think that whitewashing would be a thing of the past. Every other week, though, it feels like another news story comes out about whitewashing in the entertainment industry. From Tilda Swinton in Doctor Strange to Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell, this controversial subject seems to be more relevant now than ever. The latest ...

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Lion - Review

Posted by Nick Spake on December 23, 2016 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (0)

“Lion” is kind of like “Slumdog Millionaire” meets “Finding Dory.” That might sound an odd combination, but it’s the perfect way to describe Garth Davis’ powerful movie. With such a rich, remarkable story, “Lion” has the essence of a modern fable or an animated feature. You could especially see a director like Don Bluth tackling this material, altho...

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La La Land - Review

Posted by Nick Spake on December 14, 2016 at 8:00 PM Comments comments (0)

The movie musical has made a major comeback over the past decade and a half. On the whole, though, every film has either been a Broadway adaptation like “Chicago” or a jukebox musical like “Moulin Rogue.” The only original movie musicals have been animated features, such as “Frozen” and “Moana.” Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” is a true treasu...

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Office Christmas Party - Review

Posted by Nick Spake on December 9, 2016 at 11:30 AM Comments comments (0)

“Office Christmas Party” has all the ingredients for a classic holiday comedy. The setup invites numerous potentially humorous scenarios and the cast is universally excellent. Alas, the movie never turns into a laugh riot, although there are big laughs spread throughout. For a film that had so many comedic possibilities practically giftwrapped, “Office Christmas Party” is somewh...

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Moana Interview - Animator Darrin Butters

Posted by Nick Spake on November 24, 2016 at 11:55 PM Comments comments (0)

My interview with character animator Darrin Butters (no relation to the "South Park" character). Butters has been part of the Disney family for 20 years. He got his bring break in 1996, working as an assistant on the studio’s first CG animated feature, "Dinosaur." Since then, he’s played a role in "Bolt," "Tangled," "Wreck-It Ralph," "Paperman," "Froze...

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Loving - Review

Posted by Nick Spake on November 10, 2016 at 6:05 PM Comments comments (0)

"Loving" is a dramatization of arguably the most significant interracial marriage in American history. It’s actually surprising that Hollywood has taken almost fifty years to produce a major motion picture about the Loving v. Virginia case. Of course there was a 1996 made for television movie starring Timothy Hutton and Lela Rochon. Even in today’s supposedly progressive world, the themes depic...

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Arrival - Review

Posted by Nick Spake on November 10, 2016 at 5:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Denis Villeneuve’s “Arrival” would make a superb double feature with Jeff Nichols’s “Midnight Special,” which hit theaters earlier this year. Both movies have phenomenal buildup, calling to mind Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” “Arrival” in particular is perhaps the closest any contemporary...

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Moonlight - Review

Posted by Nick Spake on November 4, 2016 at 2:00 AM Comments comments (0)

“Moonlight” is a stunning cinematic achievement that has a fair deal in common with Richard Linklater's “Boyhood.” Both films are extraordinary coming-of-age stories. “Boyhood” was primarily about capturing the experience of growing up, however, painting a picture that could speak to anybody. “Moonlight,” meanwhile, is arguably a more personal outing, depi...

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5 reasons Star Trek is moving in the right direction

Posted by Nick Spake on July 24, 2016 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (0)

As much as diehard Trekkers might deny it, though, the reboot films have all been exceptional in their own right. With the release of "Star Trek Beyond," let’s take a look at five reasons why this franchise is moving in the right direction.

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