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Does It Float?: Parkland

So far in this series on Wylie Writes, re-watching Parkland has been the closest I’ve come to agreeing with the other side of the fence.  However, I won’t be persuaded so easily. Peter Landesman’s drama Parkland, a film documenting the day of John F. Kennedy’s assassination and the next few days that followed it, has plenty of accomplishments.  Landesman’s ability to capture 1960’s period detail is spot on, and there no sign of fabrication when the film…

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The Selfish Giant

By: Addison Wylie The Selfish Giant gives off an aroma of a film that will be remembered for a very long time.  The staying power of its troubled characters as well as the painfully realistic portrayal of a down-and-out community in Northern England are quite remarkable. This directorial feature debut from British director Clio Barnard trails the life of two young troublemakers trying to make sense of their early teens.  Both boys always yearn to…

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The Final Member

By: Addison Wylie The Final Member – an outrageous documentary from filmmakers Jonah Bekor and Zach Math – is cheekily strange and hilariously honest.  I half expected mockumentary legend Christopher Guest to come running out at any moment. There’s no way this documentary about the world’s lone penis museum could be real.  Fortunately, it is.  And, don’t be surprised if this fascinating film becomes one of your favourite docs of the new year.  Not since…

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Devil’s Knot

By: Addison Wylie The on-going trials and debates about The West Memphis Three have been discussed in Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky’s revered Paradise Lost documentary series.  The docs have always been on my list of films to watch, but I’ve never been able to find the time. As I watched Atom Egoyan’s Devil’s Knot, I wished I had watched those documentaries about the controversial child murders first, rather than being educated by Egoyan’s ham-fisted reenactment….

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Adore

By: Addison Wylie To say Adore is a misfire would be putting it lightly.  A swan dive off the cliffs of good taste is more like it.  Adore is not only a wicked boo-boo filed under the heading “films that are just plain wrong”, but it’s a howlingly bad one. There were multiple times where Anne Fontaine’s film had me at a loss for words.  However, there were other scenes where Fontaine had me expressing…

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Linsanity

By: Addison Wylie Basketball superstar Jeremy Lin had a rise to fame that was the epitome of an underdog story. Having set aspirations to become an athlete someday, Lin rarely winced when faced with challenges.  He played basketball because he enjoyed it, planted reasonable expectations while cementing his priorities, and gained notoriety by naturally being a talented player. Evan Jackson Leong’s uplifting doc doesn’t phonily paint Lin as such an upstanding individual.  He simply comes…

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Inside Llewyn Davis

By: Addison Wylie My experience with Inside Llewyn Davis is not like any I can recently recall off the top of my head.  My appreciation for it came hours after watching it and declaring the film was a bit of a wet noodle. The latest film from the Coen Brothers was unsatisfying.  Then again, the film was the type of work from Ethan and Joel Coen that is not my cup o’ tea. The Coen’s…

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American Hustle

By: Addison Wylie American Hustle is like watching a group of distinguished hard boiled card players play poker when you’re only learning the ropes.  None of them will break their deadpan expression or expose their hand.  Suddenly, someone will make a game changing move and raise the stakes.  Someone to your left leans over and – with pure exuberance – tells you how important the move was.  Meanwhile, you nod with acknowledgment and when they’re…

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Big Bad Wolves

By: Addison Wylie It’s easy to see why Quentin Tarantino named Big Bad Wolves as the best film of 2013.  It’s basically a love letter to the filmmaker’s earlier work – an elaboration on that infamous torture scene in Reservoir Dogs. Filmmakers Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado’s bottled thriller has three men (a father who’s daughter has been kidnapped and murdered, a renegade cop, and a tied up potential criminal) spar with one another to…

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Stranger by the Lake

By: Addison Wylie The realism in Stranger by the Lake (or, L’Inconnu du lac) is what initially draws audiences in.  It’s paced deliberately slow to match life’s sunny tranquilities, and the cruising men who attend this private beach looking for a getaway and the occasional hook up come across as real people. Stranger by the Lake is uneventful for the most part, but its serenely baked atmosphere is musing.  Once a dangerous dramatic turn comes into play, that…