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The Unknowable, by Tyler Smith

29 Jul

the-end-of-the-tour-2

James Ponsoldt’s The End of the Tour is a fascinating and sensitive exploration into the inner life of an unknowable person. In an attempt to delve into the complicated world of David Foster Wallace, Ponsoldt goes so much deeper and uncovers truths that are at once specific to Wallace, yet universal to anybody that has ever attempted to express himself, creatively or otherwise. It is a dark and invigorating place, and Ponsoldt has captured it perfectly.

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Little Hero, Big Problems, by Tyler Smith

16 Jul

ant-man-trailer1

Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man can certainly be commended for being different. As the other films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe get larger in their scope, Ant-Man appropriately scales things down to a much more manageable size. We don’t get galaxies hanging in the balance. Instead, it’s just a basic story of corporate greed and recklessness and a few plucky heroes out to stop it.

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Togetherness, by Tyler Smith

30 Apr

avengers-age-of-ultron-robert-downey-jr-01-636-380

There is a moment early in Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron in which the superhero team contemplates how they could possibly fight against another onslaught of interstellar monsters. Captain America quietly states, “Together.” In the moment, it seems somehow sad, maybe even pathetic, to think that the only consolation about impending death is that they’ll die alongside one another. The moment has power, but not because it is inspirational.

The inspiration comes later, after the in-fighting and paranoia. After blame is thrown around and the characters are belittled by one another. Only after the team is at its lowest, with virtually no cohesion at all, do they finally come together to fight against an army of robots. Why does this happen? Because when you’re that low, you come to realize just how weak you are and how much you need other people. It is at that moment, after exposing one another’s flaws and fears and accepting them, that the Avengers truly comes together as a team.

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Home Movies, by Tyler Smith

19 Aug

CHANNEL NEWS (2010)
Written and Directed by: Jacob Kindberg
Starring: Jacob Kindberg, Sarah Kindberg, Joe Burger, Adam Lynch

Life is not without a sense of irony. When we’re kids, we spend all of our time wishing that we were adults. Then, when we take a look around at the mounting debt and missed opportunities that is adulthood, all we want to do is be children again. We realize too late that it was a simpler, more magical time in our lives. The future seemed like an endless expanse of possibilities. But, now, here we are, disgusted to find that our once-vast vision of the future extends no further than next week, when we have all that stuff we need to get done.

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If At First You Don’t Succeed, by Tyler Smith

10 Aug

MISSIONARY POSITIONS (2005)
Written and Directed by: Bill Day
Starring: Craig Gross, Mike Foster

Many already know about XXX Church, the Christian website dedicated to helping the millions of men (and women) dealing with porn addiction. The site and its founders, Craig Gross and Mike Foster, have become so high profile in the modern church, one would be hard pressed to find a Christian guy, age 18-30, that hasn’t heard of the site. The supportive environment offered by XXX Church, as well as the practical accountability software, allows Christians to be more open and honest about these struggles than ever before.

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But for the Grace of God, by Tyler Smith

2 Aug

JUDGMENT AT NUREMBERG (1961)
Directed by: Stanley Kramer
Written by: Abby Mann
Starring: Spencer Tracy, Marlene Dietrich, Maximilian Schell, Burt Lancaster

Is there anything more disturbing than when somebody tries to justify rape? Not that many people out there are doing that, but the fact that there are some men out there who blame it on the woman is both infuriating and just sad. One looks at this mindset and tries to figure out what exactly these people are thinking. How can they defend this? What is wrong with them?

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Accentuate The Positive, by Tyler Smith

1 Jun

HAPPY-GO-LUCKY (2008)
Written and Directed by: Mike Leigh
Starring: Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan

In these days of controversial warfare and economic downturn, who could possibly manage to be happy? This is the question posed over and over again in Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky. The story is very simple. A young teacher named Poppy struggles to maintain her upbeat demeanor in the face of resentment, anger, and abuse. That may sound uninteresting to some, but Leigh approaches it as the central conflict of our time. And I think he just may be right.

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Survival, by Tyler Smith

4 May

“Survivor” has long since established itself as a prime time staple.  In many ways, it has paved the way for reality competition programs.  Challenges, alliances, confrontations; it all started with “Survivor.”  I myself was never a big fan of the show; like so many others, I wrote it off as “just another reality show.”

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A Healthy Skepticism? by Tyler Smith

3 Apr

RELIGULOUS (2008)
Directed by: Larry Charles
Starring: Bill Maher

Two things I should say from the outset. First, I am a Christian. Second, I did not like the film Religulous. I recently told this to an atheist acquaintance of mine and he suggested that that reason I didn’t care for this unabashedly anti-religious film was because I was “in denial of the central premise.”

An interesting point. On some level, he’s right. As a Christian, there were several things I did not like about this movie. I felt both misrepresented and insulted; always a frustrating combination. However, as angry as I was as a Christian, I was absolutely livid as a film critic.

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Always Keep Your Eye On The Ball, by Tyler Smith

31 Mar

W. (2008)
Directed by: Oliver Stone
Written by: Stanley Weiser
Starring: Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Banks, James Cromwell, Richard Dreyfuss, Geoffrey Wright

There is a haunting scene in Oliver Stone’s W. in which President George W. Bush is asked by a reporter what mistakes he has made during his presidency and what he has learned from said mistakes.  Bush chuckles to himself and states that he knows he’s made all kinds of mistakes.  He then, with the eyes of the press squarely on him, proceeds to rack his brain to think of what he has learned.  The scene ends with him simply choosing not to answer the question.  He then storms out of the press room, cursing the reporter for asking such a question.

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