Author: Adam Cook

Synecdoche, New York

    Written & directed by Charlie Kaufman Starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Samantha Morton, Michelle Williams, Catherine Keener, Diane Weist, Emily Watson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Hope Davis and Tom Noonan Synecdoche, New York is the latest film written by genius screenwriter, Charlie Kaufman. However, thanks to Spike Jonze (who collaborated with Kaufman on Adaptation and Being John Malkovich) being busy with his next film, Kaufman slips into the director’s chair for the very first time. He has stated in the past that he was interested in directing, but it’s no surprise that the neurotic Kaufman had to be kinda forced into making the decision to do so. It’s understandably nerve wracking going into this film, worrying if the talented writer can bring his words to life as well as Jonze and Gondry did. Oh, he can, and he does. The film is difficult to describe so I’ll just give a very general synopsis. Synecdoche follows a new york theater director named Caden Cotard, played by master thespian Phillip Seymour Hoffman, from roughly age 40-90 as he tries to create his masterpiece in a giant warehouse in New York. His central aim is to tackle mortality, but he wants his work to encompass everything it can. As the years pass, his production gets more and more out of hand, with hundreds of hired actors and incredibly elaborate sets. Eventually he...

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Zack and Miri Make a Porno

Written by Kevin Smith Directed by Kevin Smith Starring Seth Rogen, Elizabeth Banks, Craig Robinson, Jason Mewes, Jeff Anderson The main goal of a movie like Zack and Miri Make A Porno is to make you laugh. In that regard, the film is a wonderful success. If the second goal is to contain some heart and make you feel it is also a success. So, yes, this is a successful movie, but as far as Kevin Smith’s movies go, this is a bit of a disappointment. I don’t want to sound too negative throughout this review, as this is a nearly great comedy that I highly recommend, but I must declare I am a big fan of Kevin Smith. My favourite film ever is Chasing Amy, with many others of his high up on my list. Out of his filmography, Make A Porno ranks above only Jersey Girl, a movie most Smith fans have tried to forget. It has some great dialogue but it lacks some of the quotables of his other films. More importantly, there is no attempt at raising the bar substance wise, making this the third lateral movement in a row after the surprisingly meaningful, insightful and affecting Chasing Amy and the almost equally great but far more ambitious following film Dogma. Both those movies had the great dialogue, the great heart but they also had...

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Rachel Getting Married

Written by Jenny Lumet Directed by Jonathan Demme Starring Anne Hathaway, Rosemarie DeWitt, Bill Irwin, Debra Winger, Tunde Adebimpe and Mather Zickel Rachel Getting Married is one of my favourite films of the year. It’s a completely original, unique experience I’ll never forget and one that I’ll always treasure. First off there’s the plot which follows Kym, played by an Oscar worthy Anne Hathaway, just out of rehab to join her family for the weekend as her sister, Rachel, is getting married. Family drama ensues. Don’t get me wrong, the story is interesting on it’s own, but deserving more attention is the actual wedding. This is the best fictional wedding in film. When the credits roll, it feels as if you did indeed attend Rachel and Sidney’s ceremony, and it’s a shame to have to leave. This is one of the most remarkable accomplishments in cinema this decade. Rachel (Rosemarie DeWitt) is marrying Sidney (Tunde Adebimpe) at a backyard wedding with both families coming together for the very first time. Rachel, and her family, are white. Sidney, and his family, are black. This is never an issue. This is never brought up. The wedding displays their cultural diversity with various celebrations, dances and music. A testament to our (slowly) evolving society. The two families get along, ecstatic that bride and groom are happy. Many give colourful toasts, that are...

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Sugar

Written by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck Directed by Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck Starring Algenis Perez Soto Sugar is the story of a Dominican teenager working towards his goal of becoming a professional pitcher in Major League Baseball. Miguel Santos, or “Sugar”, is eventually recruited to the US minor leagues, and we get to follow his journey to the MLB. This is the next film from writing/directing duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, the pair who brought us the masterful Half Nelson. While this film isn’t as powerful and doesn’t feature a performance of the same magnitude that Ryan Gosling had, it’s a worthy follow up and the best sports film of the year. Great sports films are about as hard to come by as great horror movies. These genres, in my opinion, have very similar history and patterns. Both usually follow a very simple formula, with sports movies we follow an underdog team to an unlikely victory or a a players personal journey to fame and fortune. It’s no less than ridiculous, that almost every sports movie made, even ones being released this year, fall into those descriptions. So, when something comes along that doesn’t follow a formula, I give it full attention. Sugar is different because it barely follows any of the actual baseball games. It only shows what Santos does, how his pitching performance goes....

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Religulous

Written by Bill Maher Directed by Larry Charles Starring Bill Maher “Religion is detrimental to the progress of mankind”. This is the thesis Bill Maher uses to introduce his film, Religulous, directed by Larry Charles (Borat). I wish it wasn’t so simple, but if you agree with his statement, this is your movie, if you don’t, it probably isn’t. However, I urge everyone to see it. While it likely wont be changing all people’s views on faith, it is thought provoking. This is probably the best conversation starter in theaters this year. The director, Larry Charles is no newcomer to controversy. Two years ago he brought us the brilliant Borat, which immediately divided audiences with it’s offensive content. While Borat was accused of racism, it was actually meant to expose the prejudice of the “Land of the Free”. This time around, Charles is taking on religion which should spark even stronger controversy. Also, audiences will be divided within the first 30 seconds of the trailer. A shame, really, as this is one of the most thoughtful and powerful films of the year. We follow famous stand-up comedian Bill Maher on his quest to prove not that there’s no God, but that it’s impossible to know if one exists. As he puts it, he preaches the church of “I don’t know”. He interviews people of various faiths, but Catholicism is...

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