Author: Whit Denton

Getting Jiggy With It: Charting The Career of Will Smith

The career decisions of Will Smith are ones that shock, appall, delight, and confuse. He’s done everything from Oscar bait family dramas, to action flicks, to whatever the hell Wild Wild West was. For years people flocked to see him in family friendly comedies and science fiction movies where he and Tommy Lee Jones blow things up in a fury of green ooze and blue lasers. He was birthed out of the cinematic desert of the 1990’s, making an excellent film debut in Six Degrees of Separation. The kid-friendly rapper-turned-actor, who had the nonchalance of a teenager and the gravitas of a...

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Five Times The Academy Boldly Got It Right

Every year the windows open and the night rings with the sound of outraged voices. Profound declarations of anger and disparate opinions that can be quelled by nothing. A deep fire has been sparked that shall never go out. Twitter fights are fought. Old wounds are opened. The tears of Leonardo DiCaprio flow freely, and Harvey Weinstein looks out from his mansion balcony knowing he is the only winner here. It is the night of the Oscars, and nothing is sacred. Since 1929, the enigmatic and inherently evil entity that is the Academy has dished out awards every year...

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The Duke of Burgundy

Overview: A lesbian couple who study butterflies face challenges as their unorthodox desires intensify and their relationship complicates. Artificial Eye; 2015; Unrated; 104 Minutes. Nature: The Duke of Burgundy begins in an old fashioned town filled with massive stone estates covered with ivy in the more isolate country areas, and small stucco shops that line the cobblestone streets in the more urban parts. Although urban seems the wrong word. The whole setting has an atmosphere that can only be described as quaint. Women pedal back and forth from the forest on brisk morning jaunts. Everyone wears clothes fit for a...

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Criterion Discovery: Short Cuts

Background Short Cuts, directed by the great Robert Altman, was released in 1993. It was released as a Criterion DVD on October 4th, 2008 as spine #265. It has yet to be released on Criterion Blu-Ray. Short Cuts is one of the five films Altman has in the Collection, the others being Nashville (spine #683), 3 Women (spine #230), Secret Honor (spine #257), and Tanner ‘88 (spine #258). Story Based on a series of Raymond Carver short stories, Short Cuts tells the sprawling collection tale of the lives of twenty-two people in Los Angeles intersecting over the period of...

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Minority Report

Overview: Based on the Philip K. Dick short story of the same name, Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report follows “Precrime” cop John Anderton (Tom Cruise) as he navigates his way through a dense mystery to try and prove his innocence of a crime he did not commit. 2002; 20th Century Fox; PG-13; 145 minutes. “You dig up the past, all you get is dirty.”: When we first see Tom Cruise’s character, a cocksure and talented DC cop, he’s running around solving cases with a skill and precision that only comes standard to the main character of an action film. Later...

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Once Upon a Time in America

Overview: After years of solitude, an ex-gangster reflects on his long and tumultuous career when he returns to his old stomping grounds in Manhattan. 1984; Warner Bros. Pictures; Rated R; 229 minutes. Time Is An Ocean: Once Upon A Time In America is predominantly told through flashbacks. The past we are witnessing is the past as remembered by Robert De Niro’s character, David “Noodles” Aaronson. Filtered through tears and cataract-stricken eyes, it is displayed in a fragmented manner, cutting back and forth and not always showing the whole story until the end. The film weaves in and out of...

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