Archive for October, 2012

The Sessions

Posted in Comedy, Drama with tags on October 27, 2012 by Mark Hobin

PhotobucketThe Sessions is an unusual film. Its delicate but frank exploration of sex and romance is presented in a way unlike any I’ve ever seen. The Sessions is based on the true story of Mark O’Brien, a poet who became paralyzed from the neck down after he contracted polio when he was 6. From then on he would be confined to an iron lung, a machine to help him breathe for the rest of his life. Following his heartbreak with a pretty young caregiver named Amanda, he embarks on a quest at the age of 38 to know love at its most physical.

What makes The Sessions so unique is the delicacy with which they treat Mark’s plan. I mean when you get right down to it, this is the story of one man’s journey to “get some“. But the quest does not come off as prurient as that simplification sounds. This is a man, an explorer if you will, ready to embark on a journey – a journey he had long resigned himself as a world he would never experience. For one it’s his disease that stands in his way but there’s his religious beliefs as well. A devout Catholic, well aware of the church’s teaching regarding such activities outside of marriage he struggles with his desires. Enter Father Brendan (William H. Macy) a priest that ultimately sympathizes with his plight. If the clergyman’s attitudes seem a bit unorthodox it might help to learn that his church is located in Berkeley, California – a population not exactly known for its orthodoxy. Although he appears to be more lenient in these matters, the conversation concerns not just sexual exploits, but also the feelings of love that go along with the intimacy.

The performances are what truly sets makes this minor drama, a revelatory portrait. John Hawkes disappears into the psyche of quadriplegic Mark O’Brien. Knowledgeable moviegoers will remember John Hawkes as the cult leader in Martha Marcy May Marlene. He has imbued roles with his own unique stamp before, but his portrayal here is a revelation. He often disappears like a chameleon into each part, but I can scarcely believe this is the same man. Through a combination of physicality – his body twisted into a curved state – and genuine sensitivity, he absolutely conveys the sincerity of his quest. It takes a special actor to suggest these subtle emotions. Hawkes masterfully makes Mark a character we deeply care about.

Matching him every step of the way is Helen Hunt who plays Cheryl Cohen-Greene, a professional sex therapist/surrogate. For those who are unclear as to how she differs from a prostitute, she offers that a prostitute wants your repeat business, she doesn’t. Just six sessions and that’s it. She is incredibly direct, laying out the guidelines.  Her assertive tone is matter-of-fact, almost clinical.  As the sessions progress, Helen Hunt reveals body and soul. Her interactions with Mark are the story’s foundation. Although, the script definitely doesn’t shy away from their carnal aspirations, there is a surprising amount of thoughtful discussion. These are the emotions of two human beings laid bare. This is a depiction few actresses could’ve carried off with remarkable dignity. I’m still not sure how she manages to bring an importance to the role, but she does. Her character is memorable.

The Sessions is decidedly adult. It’s a tale about sexual intimacy that treats its subject matter with reverence. Given that goal you may be surprised it’s presented with such honor that the objective actually comes off as noble. Perhaps that’s founded on Mark O’Brien’s condition. A sweet and insightful man, John Hawkes makes him a most charming fellow. I mean how many people would discuss these thoughts with their parish priest. Director Ben Lewin, who was disabled from polio himself, elevates the chronicle. This increased sensitivity is furthered by leads John Hawkes and Helen Hunt. Expect Academy Award nominations for both as this subject has rarely been explored with serious candor. They are at the center of The Sessions, the saga two people with their souls (and bodies) exposed. The Sessions is a minor story. We’re not presenting the discovery of a cure for cancer or a country’s passage of some major reform. This is a slight production of introspection made major by sincere heartfelt performances. Despite the stated mission, the execution is never titillating or jejune. It is adult in the most mature and rewarding sense of the word.

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Cloud Atlas

Posted in Drama, Science Fiction with tags on October 26, 2012 by Mark Hobin

PhotobucketSix different historical epochs are interwoven to tell a story of humanity’s pursuit of righteousness. I must admit I had to be ambiguous in that description because I honestly couldn’t make heads or tails of this movie. In an effort to be more specific, I looked up the official synopsis which reads, and I quote, “An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution.” I question whether the person who wrote that nonsense actually saw the finished product because that outline is far from evident after watching this production.

Cloud Atlas is an epic adapted from the 2004 novel of the same name by David Mitchell. Directors Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski, and Lana Wachowski clearly think they’re making some grand statement about the nature of mankind. The movie is made up of different parables from the past to the future that ostensibly relate man’s inhumanity to man. As a complete work, the six stories are mildly interconnected as a whole, but evaluated on their own merits, the individual tales are rather simplistic. Surely their purpose is to promote an idea more intellectual than some people are good and others are bad. But that’s the clichéd moral Cloud Atlas tells over and over throughout its massive length. Each one unfolds like a dumbed down version of a better movie. For example, it’s not enough that a book publisher and his fellow patients are trying to escape from a mental institution. We’re also presented with Hugo Weaving dressed up in drag to look like Nurse Ratched to further the homage. I won’t spoil the other 5 (or more) films this rips off. That’s half the fun. Cloud Atlas is undeniably a visually stunning work that utilizes superior production design and makeup to present a portrait of society. Rarely has superficial embellishments been utilized so beautifully to “cloud” a story so inherently shallow.

In a story that demands an emotional connection, the narrative is sorely lacking in character development. Give that there are 6 parts, that leaves roughly 30 minutes per episode. In the original novel, these adventures were told chronologically allowing enough moments to develop feeling for the people. However in the film, the pieces are thrown into a cinematic blender where we’re only given brief glimpses before moving on to the next story as we cycle through each tale over and over through distinct time periods and people. One key character commits suicide for example and I felt nothing. We seem to start in the middle often without much exposition and leave at random junctures. The effect is to often muddle their innate simplicity by constantly introducing a new plot before the old one has a chance to flourish. The historical eras might be grouped by similar themes, but the picture suffers from the chopping. 40 minutes into the movie, having switched focus several times, the results were headache inducing. The ADD style of the shifting storyline is a frustrating chore to follow for almost 3 hours. The overall effect isn’t innovative, it’s mind numbing.

To further complicate matters, all of the lead actors star as different individuals in each of the various sagas. This is accomplished by a dazzling array of incredible makeup, regardless of age, race or gender. Apparently each performer is portraying the same “soul” reincarnated throughout the ages. However this isn’t always clear because in some parts, the actors are completely unrecognizable. It’s a testament to the incredible talent of the makeup department. At the very least, they deserve an Oscar nomination if there‘s any justice. Halle Berry as the wife of a Belgian composer, a white woman, and as a male Korean doctor in the future, are both a marvel of modern makeup.

Cloud Atlas is a beautiful fiasco. It’s impressive production design and ambitious scope fall apart under the weight of an unwieldy and largely incoherent narrative. Had the account been told from beginning to end, from past to future, this would have made more sense. However that decision would not have rendered the parts any more interesting. I suspect the decision to chop the chronicles up into an ever fluctuating storyline is an unsophisticated attempt to make it seem more complex. In fact, the dizzying time shift jumping makes things seem convoluted. Its constantly changing art direction impressively creates wildly divergent eras that are dazzling to look at but emotionally hollow. Add that the frequent star turns by Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving et al, popping up in the various stories as miscellaneous characters is distracting. I will concede I had fun playing “guess the actor” though. It may be an impressive display of makeup, but it does nothing to increase our sympathy. As I am unfamiliar with the source novel by British author David Mitchell, the film may hold more interest for fans of the original text. Alas, with apologies to Dave Eggers, Cloud Atlas is a heartbreaking folly of staggering incoherence.

Sinister

Posted in Horror, Mystery with tags on October 19, 2012 by Mark Hobin

PhotobucketFirst and foremost, there is a question every horror film must answer: “Is it scary?” With regards to Sinister, the reply is an unqualified yes. Sinister scared the living daylights out of me. Through a combination of mood, music and fundamentals of the genre, director Scott Derrickson has created an accomplished work inspired by Japanese horror. Our protagonist, author Ellison Oswalt, writes about true life crime. He has recently moved his wife and kids into a new home so he can investigate an unsolved murder for his new book. Not only has Ellison kept the case a secret from his family, but they remain ignorant of the fact that he has moved them into the very home where the killing took place. Soon after, Ellison discovers a box labeled “Home Movies” in the attic. Their vicious content is the subject of this tale.

The picture employs 3 plot devices that would each be scary enough on their own.  When combined, they make for an unbearably creepy narrative. The finding and subsequent viewing of these home movies, exploits a feeling of dread that proves to be most unsettling. A video record of the deaths of various families, they remain a most disturbing document of something evil. Second, children in peril is a malevolent contrivance that really adds to the rising tension. Third and finally, the summoning of a pagan god is rather frightful. Bagghul is a particularly nasty deity that we are given a history lesson on. This gives actor Vincent D’Onofrio the slightly random cameo of being the cult expert that Ethan Hawke must contact in order to make sense of what he’s experiencing.

Sinister is not a perfect film. I’ll admit, the father’s insistence on placing his family in peril and keeping them there is a far fetched basis necessary to accept in order for the story to even occur. However, the script addresses this. His last few books were unsuccessful and his family, once used to better financial times, have struggled recently. His ambition to write a bestseller upon solving the homicide of the previous occupants, consumes him. Ethan Hawke effectively portrays a man torn between protecting his family and a fervent desire to solve the mystery and achieve financial success. His motivations are much more convincing than say John Cassavetes in Rosemary’s Baby or Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Granted, there is a particularly unsavory element in uncovering a cache of what basically amounts to a collection of snuff films. Though the idea itself is pernicious, the presentation is thankfully restrained.

Sinister is rather chilling. As it details a man’s obsession to find out the truth, the narrative unfolds in a very believable fashion. Even when we the audience must take a leap of faith to stomach what this father/husband has indirectly brought upon his family, we can understand, though not condone, his motivations. By employing traditional cinematography along with the found footage of the super 8 movies he discovers, director Scott Derrickson fashions drama around a most unpleasant spirit. The grainy reels that Ellison watches late at night is eerie. The jump cutting, haphazard images combine with a truly creepy soundtrack by Christopher Young and a pastiche of dark original music by ambient music artists like Accurst and Boards of Canada. A shadowy figure, with a white triangular face and black eyes is seen in the bushes in one shot. The simple image is frightening. The whole production makes something like The Woman in Black (released last February) look like a ride on a children’s merry-go-round. Sinister is without question the scariest movie of 2012.

Seven Psychopaths

Posted in Comedy, Crime, Drama with tags on October 16, 2012 by Mark Hobin

PhotobucketMarty (Colin Farrell), a struggling screenwriter, is assisted on his latest work by his unemployed actor friend Billy who also happens to kidnap dogs in his spare time with partner-in-crime Hans. They return the animals to their owners for reward money. Billy inadvertently kidnaps a violent mobster’s beloved pet and that sets our story in motion. That might seem like a convoluted set up, but it’s just barely the tip of the iceberg of this tale. In fact that dog napping Shih Tzu storyline featured in the trailer and posters is but one aspect of a rapidly shifting plot that includes a writer’s desperate attempt to finish his screenplay, a “Jack of Diamonds” killer stalking Los Angeles mobsters, a Quaker out to avenge his daughter’s death and a Vietnamese priest with unresolved anger over the Vietnam war.

Seven Psychopaths features an “oh so hip it hurts” screenplay by Martin McDonagh. Its carefree tone plays with genre conventions in a manner that can be funny. However, that liveliness is frequently undone by gut churning violence. It’s really hard to keep laughing when we’re watching a man slice his own neck in unblinking style. To make matters worse this action is repeated when another man performs the same horrific act immediately after. There used to be a time when the camera would avert its gaze at such monstrosities but director Martin McDonagh insists on assaulting the audience. It completely takes us out of the humor of the situation. When Zachariah Rigby (Tom Waits) recounts how he and his girlfriend went around the country killing off other serial killers, the acts are performed in such gruesome detail that the carnage makes Saw or Hostel look like Babette’s Feast by comparison.

Where Seven Psychopaths shines is in the script. Its tale delights in being absurd. Woody Harrelson is notable as Charlie Costello. He’s a violent mobster who is quite comfortable with shooting a man at point blank range in the face. Yet he worships his prized Shih Tzu above all human life. Woody Harrelson is quite possibly the MVP of the picture. A majority of the best moments involve him, no small feat with a talented cast benefited by notorious scene stealers Christopher Walker as Hans and Sam Rockwell as Billy. Charlie’s interrogation of Hans’ wife at the hospital (played with steely resolve by Linda Bright Clay) is a mesmerizing exchange.

Seven Psychopaths satirizes mob movie conventions with rapid fire dialogue. The script is highlighted by a meandering, disjointed narrative. Even the very title is a misnomer because there are really only six psychopaths. One (Billy) gets counted twice. Plus they’re not the same lunatics represented on the poster. For example, where is the Vietnamese priest? Granted these are trivialities. It’s the odd mix of violence and humor that is truly unsettling. The film will hold considerably more appeal for viewers with strong stomachs that can find humor in extreme ultra violence. Yet for all its faults, Seven Psychopaths is simply too well acted and audacious to simply dismiss. There are definitely some amusing moments amongst the repartee and memorable characters. The quick exchanges have the actors rarely pausing to even take a breath. Christopher Walken amps up his eccentric delivery to comical effect where he becomes a parody of himself (in a good way). Sam Rockwell likewise chews the scenery, but it’s Woody Harrelson that truly takes the cake. When it’s finished, I’m not sure all the chaos really fits together in a coherent puzzle, but with a movie like this, I guess that’s not really the point.

Argo

Posted in Drama, Thriller with tags on October 12, 2012 by Mark Hobin

PhotobucketWhen Islamic militants seized control of the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979, six members of the staff escaped and were allowed protection in the home of one Ken Taylor, Canadian Ambassador to Iran. This has popularly been referred to as The Canadian Caper due to the valiant efforts of the brave man who risked his own life and those of his loved ones to keep them hidden. However, it would only be a matter of time before they would be found and executed. The full disclosure recounting the extraction of these six US State Department personnel from Iran on January 28, 1980 was a closely held secret until the information was declassified in 1997.

Now it can be told how CIA ‘exfiltration’ specialist Tony Mendez concocted a risky plan to get them out of the country. He would enter Tehran as a Canadian movie producer interested in scouting locations for an upcoming Star Wars rip-off called “Argo”, collect the refugees, pass them off as his cinema crew at the airport, and subsequently fly out of Iran. It’s the “best bad idea” they have. Joshuah Bearman’s 2007 Wired article entitled “How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to Rescue Americans from Tehran” was loosely adapted into the events portrayed here that recount the saga from Tony Mendez’s point of view.

When one hears period piece about a diplomatic crisis, the eyes are liable to glaze over. Argo is based on a true story of a political nature but it never feels like a history lesson. In presenting his implausible strategy to rescue them, there’s a constant tightly wound anxiety – that things could go wrong at any moment. Director Ben Affleck wisely gives us a brief primer detaining the underlying reasons for the Iranian Revolution and specifically the Iran hostage crisis. It’s just an intro, but it’s a an incredibly crucial step in helping the audience understand the dangerous political climate for Americans that remained in Iran. It lays the groundwork for the many agonizing situations depicted. When our 6 evacuees must ultimately leave their protective domicile and mix with the general public, there are moments of unbearable pressure. Likewise a minor scene where the Canadian ambassador’s housekeeper is questioned at the gate of their home is relentlessly tense.

One wouldn’t think there would be much room for levity in a film of this nature, but the script finds the humor in such an outlandish deception. Before Mendez can even set foot in Iran, he must consult with two Hollywood experts to make his production seem legitimate. Lester Siegel (fictional) is a former OSS agent turned movie producer and John Chambers (real) is a veteran makeup wizard. As played by Alan Arkin and John Goodman respectively, the pair are inadvertently involved but essential. The details they address to make this fabrication seem real is fantastic. They provide a satirically light touch to the drama, but their necessity in creating a plausible ruse shouldn’t be underestimated. It reinforces the concept of how many people were important to the success of this plan.

Argo is a brilliantly realized blending of historical fact and Hollywood fun to form a fascinating re-telling of the past. The production design is impeccably recreated. From the clothes to the hairstyles to a child’s bedroom filled with toys and posters, the era is strikingly accomplished. That also goes a long way in recreating the unbelievable undertaking into a satisfying period piece. The final act lightly rewrites the truth in order to gain a more heart pounding finish. It doesn’t quite feel credible, but it’s certainly engrossing. Affleck keeps the tension throughout and wisely focuses on the critical situations our 6 refugees have to face. We truly comprehend what they experienced in a very real way and that’s what makes this docudrama so effective. This thriller doesn’t attempt to deeply get your emotions, but it does entertain, and extremely well I might add.

Pitch Perfect

Posted in Comedy, Music, Musical with tags on October 9, 2012 by Mark Hobin

PhotobucketTake Glee, Bring it On and Bridesmaids, mix together, sprinkle liberally with cheese, and serve up to a receptive audience. Pitch Perfect is a recipe for fun. The story concerns the competitive world of collegiate a cappella groups. Pretty young Beca is a guarded cynic who would rather produce a tune than sing one. Having just entered college, she is newly recruited by an all girl a cappella group desperate for new members who can harmonize.

Pitch Perfect is greatly assisted by a talented cast. A few are worth a special mention. Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins are two ESPN style announcers that give play by play announcements interspersed throughout the a cappella singing competitions. Their witticisms from the broadcasting booth are side splittingly hilarious. In many cases, some of the biggest laughs. The only person who surpasses them is comedian Rebel Wilson, a zaftig Aussie who actually refers to herself as Fat Amy. As one of the girl vocalists she has an off kilter personality that makes her kind of a uniquely unexpected individual.

Of course the bread and butter of this diversion are the bright song selections that are enthusiastically arranged and passionately sung. The best performance is a “riff-off” between the boys and the girls, a rumble in the streets that uses superior vocals to beat down their opponents instead of guns and knives. It has a spontaneity that the official competitions lack. Unfortunately it only goes back and forth a couple times and then it’s over. What a shame that the segment is so short because it’s easily the most exhilarating sequence in the script. The drama hints at a plucky repartee that could have been sustained for the entire film.

Pitch Perfect is a crowd pleaser in the best sense of the word. Even if you have only a slight interest in hearing a cappella singing, this should make you very happy.  Anyone on the edge of their seat wondering how this is all going to play out would have to be under the age of 10. The storyline is pretty basic. Yet it’s helped immeasurably by an attractive cast with likable personas. Sure there’s the standard archetypes: the bitchy blonde, the slutty brunette, the sensitive heartthrob, etc. But they’re undeniably appealing. These characters have just enough modification to make them interesting. On the whole, the production is a spirited joy.

Frankenweenie

Posted in Animation, Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction with tags on October 5, 2012 by Mark Hobin

PhotobucketSimple, childlike drama about an intelligent young boy that tames the benefits of electrical power to bring his beloved dog Sparky back to life. As the title suggests, the story is a kiddie version of the vintage Frankenstein tale. Frankenweenie was originally a live action short starring Shelley Duvall and Daniel Stern released back in 1984. In its current incarnation, the 30 minute anecdote has been expanded to an 87 minute animated fantasy.

First the good. It’s one of Tim Burton’s most sweetly accessible family friendly films since Corpse Bride. It certainly looks fantastic. I don’t think anyone questions the director’s fetching macabre style. There’s a welcome purity in the visuals that actually benefit the modest tale. The movie is photographed in black in white as a tribute to the horror classics of the 1930s. The cast is fittingly quirky with four of his previous collaborators that include Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, and Winona Ryder. Their new substitute science teacher, Mr. Rzykruski, a particular standout. He is a ghastly joy, delightfully voiced by Martin Landau but with features that almost recall Vincent Price. There’s a magnificently uncontrolled climax that utilizes the idea of a science fair gone amok.

Now the bad. The whole affair has Tim Burton just coasting on the fumes of his earlier successes. The plot is slight in the extreme. Very little of it is innovative or original. The frequent allusions to other people’s works including Bride of Frankenstein or Godzilla feels more like lazy borrowing than the homage I think they’re meant to be. The few attempts at humor are weak and aimed strictly at young children.

Frankenweenie has the mark of quality. It’s a beautifully mounted stop-motion animation that will entertain an undemanding audience. The chronicle of a boy’s love for his dog by way of Frankenstein isn’t particularly fresh. I’ll admit, however, the visual feast is a retro production designer’s dream. The narrative is marked by a tranquil restraint that has been lacking in the director’s recent big budget creations as of late. Yes, this science-fiction comedy horror is pleasant enough, but it’s no classic.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Posted in Drama, Romance with tags on October 2, 2012 by Mark Hobin

PhotobucketUnless you were captain of the football team or head cheerleader, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is going to resonate on some level with you. How much is debatable, but this is without question, one of the most poignant dramas concerning high school life since the golden era of John Hughes. Teen angst is a subject often mined in the cinema. The subject arguably hit a commercial peak in the 1980s with generational classics like Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink. But Perks goes much deeper. It’s less humorous and more warmly accessible. An updated version of those films circa 1991 but made in 2012. The story is involving because it seems timeless – not of any particular time or place but of an experience and that experience is high school. Though fashions and music may change, the attitudes remain familiar. Insecurities are laid bare and exposed in a way that is both believable and at times heartbreaking.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a novel written in 1999 by Stephen Chbosky. Frank and mildly provocative, it has appeared on the list of most frequently banned books in libraries and schools, but so has Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Catcher in the Rye and To Kill A Mockingbird, so I suppose it’s in good company. The author takes the old adage “if you want something done right, do it yourself” to heart as he not only adapts his book into the screenplay, but directs the entire movie. Who better to convey the teen angst of the source novel that the author of the actual words? Surprisingly, he proves to be an adept director as he extracts honest performances from his young leads. Actor Logan Lerman is Charlie, a sensitive and withdrawn freshman unskilled in the social scene of high school. Sharp moviegoers might remember him at the titular character in Percy Jackson & the Olympians. As acceptable as he was in that adaptation, he completely nails the personality here. He is likeable and sweet and despite his better than average looks, still conveys the miserable sad sack that is required here. He eats lunch alone, gets bullied by his peers. He wont even offer the correct response in class when he clearly knows the answer.

Logan Lerman is matched by two key co-stars.  Taking the same shop class is a senior named Patrick played by Ezra Miller. As the sassy best friend he dazzles in a showy role that deserves to be his breakout. An eccentric personality, he likewise doesn’t quite fit with in-crowd and the two of them strike up a friendship. Completing the trio they form is Patrick’s stepsister Sam portrayed by Emma Watson. She subverts her English accent here to play an American teen. I’ve seen the competent actress in eight Harry Potter movies, yet I have never witnessed her give a more emotionally impressive performance than the one she gives in this film. They share a camaraderie that is incredibly touching. Watch them boogie down when the three of them unite at the homecoming dance. It’s awkward but tender.  You might even wish you were part of their inner circle. Charlie is soon introduced to their cohorts and this “island of misfit toys” becomes sort of support group for him.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is about a journey. The trek of a young freshman as he navigates high school saddled with his emotional baggage from the past. His befriending of these seniors that are outcasts as well, allow him to get through this incredibly difficult episode of his life.  True, the script is admittedly highlighted by some well worn tropes often found in literature. Charlie, Patrick and Sam could all be identified as familiar character types. However to label them as such is to reduce their impact. This is a an affecting take on high school life that feels authentic and sincere. The sentiment is real. You may not identify with these people, but you can certainly appreciate the dramatic weight of their pain. This is for anyone who has ever navigated the horror of high school. In other words, it’s for pretty much everyone.

Blogger Interview: Fast Film Reviews

Posted in Uncategorized on October 2, 2012 by Mark Hobin

I got to feel like a movie star for a day when Andy Swinnerton of “Rorschach Reviews” interviewed me about my blog. Click on the link above to read the full discussion!

Rorschach Reviews

Mark Hobin is the creator and writer behind Fast Film Reviews.  Since started the blog over four years ago, Mark has focused on conveying his opinions on every movie he sees as concisely as possible.  I “sat down” with mark (at separate computers) to ask him about his experience with blogging as well and more.

Rorschach Reviews: Between your tagline “For People who like their reviews short and sweet” and your blog’s name itself, you’ve firmly established your blog’s goal of giving your opinion in as few words as possible.  Do you often find it difficult to condense your views to that format?  What are some examples of movies for which you wish you could have written much more?

Mark Hobin:  My reviews may be short, but they used to be REALLY short.  When I originally started my blog, I was inspired by the one paragraph reviews found in…

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