Gores Eats Film : LOOPER

LOOPER (Johnson) | ★★★½

Looper is my favorite kind of rarity: intelligent sci-fi that works on multiple levels. The film is a significant step forward for Rian Johnson as both a writer and a director: no affectations, no tricks; stylishly realized but not in an ostentatious way; resonant emotional depth. It is also one of the most entertaining films of the year.

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The guys discuss the new Paul Thomas Anderson film, THE MASTER. Nothing else. PTA deserves his own episode.


[audio http://www.reelfanatics.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/112-the-master.mp3]

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The guys discuss the new title from Drafthouse Films, THE AMBASSADOR, as well as David Mamet, Louis C.K., the passing of NFL Films founder Steve Sabol and why Jared doesn’t like documentaries.


[audio http://www.reelfanatics.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/111-the-ambassador.mp3]

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Gores Eats Film : THE AMBASSADOR

THE AMBASSADOR (Brügger) | ★★½

This slanted documentary from Danish journalist Mads Brügger is entertaining for a while, as he uncovers the scum and villainy of foreign diplomacy in African nations while also pointing fingers at the people responsible (read: rich European countries). Brügger is quite the showman, and he knows how to pull a good gag. At the same time, though, this skill, along with his increasingly tenuous position in the Central African Republic without legitimate repercussions, undermines the credibility of his investigation. In the end, it is unclear how much is real and how much is manipulation.

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower is much better than its tired, indie trailer would suggest. And it has the rare distinction of being both adapted and directed by the novel’s author, Stephen Chbosky, who is a capable filmmaker. The early-’90s time period is noticeable almost immediately. In fact, the lighting and cinematography have an appropriately aged look. The cast is uniformly strong, but Ezra Miller deserves special mention. While the narrative doesn’t really offer a fresh perspective on the high school experience, it does feel more authentic than similar films. To be perfectly honest, The Perks of Being a Wallflower brought back many high school memories, both good and bad. Perhaps that is precisely Chbosky’s goal.

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It is unfortunate that How to Survive a Plague has been flying under the radar because this is a moving documentary about dedicated activism and the fight to find a cure for AIDS.

When the AIDS crisis hit New York in the mid-1980s, it took a small but dedicated group of people to push for awareness, treatment, and fairness. David France’s How to Survive a Plague expertly depicts this battle through archival footage and interview segments.

While occasionally too detailed in its explanation of AIDS-fighting drugs, the film is affecting in its imagery and editing. The viewer gets to know several key figures in the ACT UP and TAG organizations, namely Peter Staley, Bob Rafsky, and Mark Harrington. Rafsky’s personal story is especially heartbreaking. How to Survive a Plague is an important film because it emphasizes the power of both the individual and the community in producing positive political and social change.

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Gores Eats Film : END OF WATCH

END OF WATCH (Ayer) | ★★

The found footage aesthetic is played out. Granted, Chronicle managed to do something interesting with it earlier this year, but its best days have passed. The application of found footage in David Ayer’s End of Watch is an example of egregious misuse. Only occasionally does it make sense in this picture, and it does nothing to enhance the story. That’s why Ayer has to incorporate traditional docudrama style cinematography to fill in the gaps. Protagonists Michael Peña and Jake Gyllenhaal have great chemistry but narrative contrivances and a clichéd ending sink the plot and undermine the gritty, insider’s look at police work. The best that can be said about the film is that it’s not boring.

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#110 : Top 5 “Regulation” Scenes


The guys count down their top five moments of cinematic “regulation”, a term coined by our co-host Joe Pudas.

#110 – Top 5 Regulation Scenes

[audio http://www.reelfanatics.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/110-top-5-regulation-scenes.mp3]

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Gores Eats Film: THE MASTER

THE MASTER (Anderson) | ★★★½

[NOTE: Potentially minor spoiler in the penultimate paragraph]

At this point, there’s really no debate: Paul Thomas Anderson is the best filmmaker of his generation. A wunderkind, he made his first masterpiece at the age of 27 and two (some might say three) more in the next ten years. So when he delivers anything less, it’s hard not to be disappointed. That is what happens when the bar is set so high. But such is the case with his latest work, The Master, a flawed but strong picture. Continue reading “Gores Eats Film: THE MASTER” »


Gores Eats Film : ARBITRAGE

ARBITRAGE (Jarecki) | ★★½

Arbitrage is a competently made generic thriller. Richard Gere gets a meatier role than usual and shows that he still has what it takes to carry a film. But writer-director Nicholas Jarecki’s script stacks the deck so high against Gere’s antihero that it feels artificial. Moreover, the “investigation” Gere’s character conducts late in the film to clear a family friend is downright silly and simplistic.

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