Wednesday, May 27th | CinemaSpartan.com

Dark Star: H.R. Giger’s World

Skull and Cross Tomes Review written by Robert D. Patrick Dark Star, the title of director Belinda Sallin’s charcoal-colored hagiography, lets you know precisely enough about its subject. Sharing the name with a Grateful Dead song, and, more modernly, a terrifically catchy Polica track, Dark Star knows where to clamp its fangs. Swiss artist Hans […]

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Dark Star: H.R. Giger’s World

Pitch Perfect 2

With a Rebel Yell, More, More, More Starring: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson Review written by Robert D. Patrick Marty McFly waltzed into to the old west, the Ninja Turtles ran afoul in feudal Japan, Ace Ventura sprang to the jungle, and now the Bellas head to Europe. When you’re writing a sequel, there’s no time to […]

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Pitch Perfect 2

The Top Ten Best Songs of 2014

Helado Negro by Eve Sussman Written by Robert D. Patrick After crushing my skull with thousands of songs in 2014, I came up with my top 100 tracks, only to chisel them down to an electric ten. Chromeo had the best dance song of the year (“Jealous”), and Caribou had one of the best pure […]

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The Top Ten Best Songs of 2014
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Musicians on Pitchfork

When I began the process of interviewing musicians, sometime in 2008, I hadn’t really thought of online journalists – specifically those of whom were devoted to acerbic album reviews. In the aughts, the juggernaut of esoteric references and irreverent snark, Pitchfork Media, had been widening their net over independent music. Practicing my brand of unfocused paper shuffling, […]

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Interview with Spencer Krug of Moonface

The melancholy latticework of Spencer Krug is like an ethereal brume. Operating as Moonface, the musician juts his hands over a piano and begins to weave a gossamer kaleidoscope comprised of recollections and fears. City Wrecker, the singer songwriter’s newest EP, releases later this year. We interviewed Spencer about the importance of lyrics, the influence […]


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Mad Max: Fury Road (0)

Published on Sun, 17/05/15 | Action, Drama, Written By: Robert Patrick

Cars 3: Car-cass

Starring: Charlize Theron, Tom Hardy

Review written by Robert D. Patrick

Windshields are matted by fingerprints, rust-colored sand envelopes the world, and blood specked incisors tear away at any semblance of humanity. Director George Miller’s easel is made of bones and sinew, the canvas lacquered with saliva and sweat. Mad Max: Fury Road is punctuated with filleted wheel rubber and scudding gasoline. With his newest opus, Miller, the captain behind the original dystopian trilogy of Mad Max pictures, resumes his role as ringleader and firecracker lighter. The newest iteration of the death-before-dialogue series adds a straight jacket to the source material. This is the kind of action film that no American director could make: mechanized breast pumps and cysts with names? I don’t think so. No, here in the carousel of Australian director George Miller’s mind, conventional action will simply not do. There is more H.R. Giger and Francis Bacon under the hood of this car than there is Michael Bay or John McTiernan.

The plot is skeletal as you can imagine. The world has been eradicated by a fallout, and the survivors cling to animus and gasoline. Utopia for the mangled and marred survivors lies in the hope of filling their sand-baked jars with water or food. Of course, when the livin’ is hard, there is always some maniacal opportunist with the heart of a buzz saw to preside over the weary. Here, the villain is a moribund antagonist with the artificial jaws of a piranha. When the aforementioned malefactor loses something that “belongs” to him, we, as an audience, become spectators to the great roadshow of inverted metal and revving engines that is so famous to the Mad Max franchise.

Losing his mind, a gravelly-voiced Max (Tom Hardy) is taken hostage by wiry, pale-faced bandits. In captivity, he is subject to heinous punishments that give him throngs of flashbacks. He has a dark past, we assume, because of the flickering memories that strafe his brain throughout the film. Hardy’s compact but surly stature fits the casting for callous-palmed antihero, but he has little to do in the way of acting. Ever since his breakthrough in Bronson, he has been given fewer and fewer lines in films. In his next movie I’m literally expecting him to play a monolith. Give the guy some dialogue. While Fury Road boasts the Mad Max name, Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa is the marquee star of the carnage. She is the true protagonist of the film, and becomes an unlikely ally to the disheveled Max, giving him purpose and direction.

While Fury Road sounds like a Sega Genesis title, and plays like a midnight movie with an insidiously large budget, it has more technical prowess than one would expect. Everything from the sound editing to the effects is intensely articulate. And while there is no doubt that the movie is deliberately derivative of itself, this film also borrows heavily from the aesthetics of video games such as Borderlands, Fallout, Road Rash, and Twisted Metal. The adrenaline fueled narrative is like Run Lola Run on wheels. And the dirt-smeared, chrome-transfixed set design is reminiscent of MTV’s Liquid Television. But the litany of comparisons would not exist if not for Miller’s original Mad Max film. It’s truly a barbed circle, one that is a necessary watch on a large screen.

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Adult Beginners (1)

Published on Fri, 24/04/15 | Comedy, Drama, Written By: Robert Patrick
Adult Beginners

Kroll Over, Play Dead Starring: Nick Kroll, Rose Byrne Review written by Robert D. Patrick A thirty-something has an existential crisis, burrows into depression, and has some snarky, impertinent bile to spew against the walls of their loved ones’ home. This is an insipid, burgeoning genre that began with the tired eyelids of Owen Wilson […]


True Story (0)

Published on Fri, 17/04/15 | Crime, Drama, Reality Based, Written By: Robert Patrick
True Story

Close-Ups: The Movie Starring: Jonah Hill, James Franco Review written by Robert D. Patrick The gossamer web that director Rupert Goold weaves is more of the plastic bag, Halloween variety. Fake, difficult to pull apart, and without a genuine aesthetic. True Story is a film about two desperate men interrogating one another by spitting venom through […]


Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (0)

Published on Fri, 17/04/15 | Drama, Written By: Robert Patrick
Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter

Panic at the Mythos Starring: Rinko Kikuchi, David Zellner Review written by Robert D. Patrick The first image that emblazons the screen is that of a woman, wearing a red sweater. The heat radiates like a crimson-hot coal streaking over an unknown shoreline. Imagine a lipstick smudge or a shock of red paint. The figure’s feet […]


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Top Ten Movies of 2014

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Pootie Tang: Revisited

I wanted to confirm my suspicions that Pootie Tang was indeed relegated to hatred and disgust prior to writing this column.  Yes, I am that delusional about this film… according to others.  I browsed to a certain spoiled produce aggregator and saw a resounding 26% approval, lauded as dismal, and completely admonished by various critics.  […]

Critical Failures: Coming Soon…

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Interview with Spencer Krug of Moonface

The melancholy latticework of Spencer Krug is like an ethereal brume. Operating as Moonface, the musician juts his hands over a piano and begins to weave a gossamer kaleidoscope comprised of recollections and fears. City Wrecker, the singer songwriter’s newest EP, releases later this year. We interviewed Spencer about the importance of lyrics, the influence […]

Interview with Journalist

Journalist’s musical palette is flecked with words, strategic intonations, acute ideas. He’s been wading through hip-hop for over a decade, and in that time he has shared the booth with incisor-flashing mavericks such as Canibus. Once signed to Motown, the lyricist is now on Hardrout, his own label. Mastering the craft of internal rhymes and battle hardened […]

From the Vault: Interview w/ Wolf Parade

  Working as an editor of a small weekly in the aughts, I fought to perforate the innocuous milquetoast sheen of community articles by bringing in band interviews. The experiment didn’t last long, and pictures of pumpkin patches prevailed. I was in my early twenties, I was barking up the wrong tree. Though violently abridged, this […]

Interview with TV Girl

‘I’m fascinated by beautiful women & not in a (strictly) prurient sense’ TV Girl’s hushed, ethereal hymns aren’t as docile or playful as they may seem. Flecked with emotional carnage and fanged observations, the Los Angeles based band has carved out a living making heart-masticating songs that deal with the pangs of acceptance. Brad Petering, […]

Interview with Colleen Green

Cool, ethereal, and blistering. Colleen Green’s fuzz-laden punk-rock is a carbonated minefield of guitar riffs and drum machines. It’s a sort of sonic hush that emblazons every fiber of her music. “Sock it to Me,” the newest opus by Green, has been heralded by critics and adored by fans. Cinema Spartan managed to catch up […]

Interview with Chastity Belt

‘We Don’t Have to Hide Behind Anything Now’ The rowdy, carbonated, guitar tenderizing music of Chastity Belt hails from Walla Walla, Washington. Through a cocktail of venomous riffs and feet stomping snark that bruises amps, the band released one of the best records of 2013. Lead singer Julia Shapiro’s sonic, booming vocals soar over the […]

Q&A w/ Julie Klausner

Julie Klausner’s anecdotal, razor-sharp wit has branded everything from television shows to an autobiographical memoir.  Bubble wrap snark and cultural observations stirred by cocktail swords, Klausner always has something new in her book bag. Her show, How Was Your Week?, was earmarked by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the top ten comedy podcasts of […]

From the Vault: The Fiery Furnaces Interview

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Medium to Medium with Colleen Green

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Medium to Medium: The Wooden Birds

Andrew Kenny’s achingly ethereal voice whittles away your preconceptions about what a band, emotionally, is capable of doing. The singer-songwriter has been a workhorse when it comes to traveling coast-to-coast – he has done it practically nonstop – throughout his career; if you tracked the flight lines across the United States it would look like […]

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The Best of Arnold

I was a child of the ‘80s and ‘90s, and as a result I was weaned on action movies, particularly the glorious works of Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, and, OF COURSE, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Watching these films still imbues me with a sort of visceral delight, an upsurge of joy and contentment within the universe. I […]

Ultraman: Episodes 1&2

I was thrilled this weekend when I glanced through a $3.99 movie bin at Albertson’s and pulled out the most random inclusion I could find: Volume One of the 1966-7 Japanese TV show ULTRAMAN: A SPECIAL EFFECTS FANTASY SERIES.  One look at the cover art and I knew I’d be in for a treat. A quick […]

Sam’s Cosmic Movie Peeves

We’ve all got our little pet peeves when it comes to movies and television. Sometimes it stems from our areas of expertise (“Well I’M a fighter pilot and there’s no way I’d do it like that”) or sometimes we just learn some trivia and can never look at those troublesome scenes the same way again. […]

B-Movie: Rock N Roll Nightmare

Review by Sam Wood Jon Mikl Thor, the Legendary Rock Warrior, has had an expansive career spanning back to 1973 and continuing on in the present day. According to his VERY self-aggrandizing website, “THOR first made waves in the bodybuilding world, becoming Mr. Canada and Mr. USA, always using heavy music as an intensive training […]

A Chinese Torture Chamber Story

My little column turns twenty posts old today, and what better way to celebrate than by reviewing the most ridiculously sleazy Hong Kong exploitation film I have ever seen? “A Chinese Torture Chamber Story” exemplifies the concept of a guilty pleasure film. It is as hilarious as it is disgusting. The first time I watched […]

Presidents in Film

I was puttering around the Box Office Mojo website recently and came across an interesting comparison: the domestic box office gross of films about U.S. presidents. This includes documentaries, fictionalized accounts, and accounts that are entirely fictional in the first place. Here are the fifteen top-performing presidential films (rounded to the nearest million): Independence Day […]

Holiday Cards

In lieu of an article this week I thought I’d provide something special for all the procrastinators out there. If you haven’t sent out Christmas cards this year, but you vaguely intended to do so, and now you’re looking at the calendar and realizing there is no way in hell they would arrive in time: […]

Solarbabies

From the moment the title screen flew at my face, I knew I was in for something special. And I was right! “Solarbabies” is not just special, it is exceptional, mind-blowing, earth-shattering (sometimes literally). The movie has a whopping 0% approval rating on Rottentomatoes (though in its defense there are only 10 accumulated reviews, and […]

My Favorite Aliens

Guys, I have a confession to make. I am really excited about the upcoming “Cowboys and Aliens.” Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Sam Rockwell? Um, cowboys fighting aliens? I’m a little nervous though, because often when Hollywood raises my expectations with a fun concept they are planning some prank to dash it all away again. The […]

Old School Movie Review: The Hobbit

I was initially planning to do another B-Movie review this week, but decide to do an old-school movie review instead. There’s a fine distinction between them sometimes, but in this case I couldn’t classify the film in question as B-grade material. Mostly it’s just… horrible. Plain horrible. Just not due to budgetary reasons. Purportedly this […]

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