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Home » Articles »   By Ryan Syrek
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Thursday, March 5,2015

Cons, vexing

‘Focus’ is irritatingly almost good.

By Ryan Syrek
Despite its title and the fact that Will Smith continually mouth-dumps exposition about how pulling a con requires attention to detail, Focus is hella sloppy. It’s not just that genuinely thrilling “who’s playing who” moments bump up against a holistically unbelievable romantic core, it’s that writers/directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa never decided on the movie’s tone. Lithe and funny until it’s leaden and obtuse, Focus would be pleasantly forgettable were it not for Margot Robbie, who is announced here as a capital letter Movie Star.
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Thursday, February 26,2015

Please sir, may I have my job?

‘Two Days, One Night’ pits poor versus poor

By Ryan Syrek
Sit down, Sartre. Writers/directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne get it a bit more right: Hell isn’t just other people. Hell is asking other people to surrender their bonuses so you can keep your job. Two Days, One Night is a harrowing social allegory, a dramatic minimization of a growing socioeconomic reality. The bosses of the world are greedily devouring an ever-expanding amount of wealth, leaving the impoverished to fight each other for table scraps. It is undignified, disgusting and downright heartbreaking to watch human beings alternate between fighting and begging each other for basic survival needs.
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Thursday, February 12,2015

Heaven is overrated

‘Jupiter Ascending’ delivers fun in a world of darkness

By Ryan Syrek
Mila Kunis plays the titular Jupiter, a sad sack who cleans houses with her family for a living. Turns out, she’s the reincarnation of a famous space alien who once ran the corporation that controls the universe.
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Thursday, February 12,2015

I’m-a let you finish, but…

The only list of the best and worst films of 2014 you need

By Ryan Syrek
Somehow Jake Gyllenhaal has transformed into one of the best actors of our era. His performance here is diabolically perfect. Writer/director Dan Gilroy spits in the face of screenwriting 101, as his main character never evolves or changes. Oh, and if there was an award for “best scene of the year,” the final shootout in this one would be a shoo-in.
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Thursday, February 5,2015

Don’t let millennials time travel

‘Project Almanac’ can go to hell%u2028

By Ryan Syrek
Man, you know a movie is bad when writing a review for it ruins your who just got into MIT but acts like he sociopathic needs to write a note on his hand reminding him it goes “unzip, then pee.” His dead dad was an inventor who left an unfinished time machine in thetime.
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Thursday, January 29,2015

The long on the shorts

2015’s Oscar-nominated live-action and animated shorts

By Ryan Syrek
‘A SINGLE LIFE,’ DIRECTORS: MARIEKE BLAAU, JORIS OPRINS, JOB ROGGEVEEN.
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Thursday, January 22,2015

Confusing hacktion

‘Blackhat’ tries sexy cybercrime-fighting

By Ryan Syrek
A similar attack on an American nuclear plant failed, so Chen hightails it to America with his sister, Lien (Wei Tang), to liaise with them because liaising is sexy. Chen convinces FBI agent Carol Barrett (Viola Davis) to spring Hathaway from the clink to help them locate the nasty cyber baddie.
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Thursday, January 15,2015

BlackVotesMatter

‘Selma’ resonates

By Ryan Syrek
King explains to President Lyndon B. Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) the “what” that must come “now”: Voting protection.
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Thursday, January 8,2015

The burden of actual Christianity

‘The Overnighters’ is brutal

By Ryan Syrek
The first shock-and-awe moment comes early: People are moving to North Dakota on purpose. The town of Williston is one of many North Dakotan locales blessed and cursed with the “oil boom.” They call it an “oil boom” because “fracking the planet into oblivion” doesn’t sound as fun.
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Wednesday, December 31,2014

Winter camp

‘White Bird in a Blizzard’ is a melodramatic avalanche

By Ryan Syrek
If you were weaned on John Waters, you’ll gobble up every cheese-tastic second, from a horny housewife lusting towards her daughter’s boyfriend to Christopher Meloni’s Yosemite Sam mustache. If you’re intolerant of goofy tomfoolery, you won’t survive dialogue like, “In the blink of an eye, my virginity was gone.
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