Thursday, April 02nd | CinemaSpartan.com

Deli Man

Love in the Time of Challah, Bruh Review by Robert D. Patrick A salvo of empirically pleasing images wash over the screen. Suddenly there is buttery meat, fine mustard, top shelf rye, and an honest serving of choleric wit. The Jewish deli, an institution for food lovers. You need an affable level of hubris and […]

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Deli Man

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

A Most Violent Year

1970s Cinema, 1980s Landscape, 2015 film Starring: Oscar Isaac, Jessica Chastain Review written by Robert D. Patrick A Most Violent Year is about the most blood-specked 365 days in New Year City’s history (1981 somehow eclipses the carnage of the Five Points in the 1860s?). Perennially overcast and painted with broad strokes of chrome and fog, […]

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A Most Violent Year
18:46

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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Serena (0)

Published on Fri, 27/03/15 | Drama, Written By: Robert Patrick

Love In a Time of Bore

Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper

Review written by Robert D. Patrick

Dust-licked North Carolina aches and trembles under the oppressive weight of the depression. In the shadow of a land dipped in sadness comes an irascible, headstrong businessman with his eyes set on timbre. His employees are lacquered in sweat and exhaust, but no problem will keep the aforementioned entrepreneur from rolling up his sleeves and forcing his hands into the belly of coarse earth. Bradley Cooper plays George Pemberton, the man with the affable grin and unflappable personality; an entity whose brick and mortar sensibilities earn him the ire of many (are you asleep yet?). In fact, Pemberton is so dapper and whip-smart that he earns the trust and love of a woman named Serena (Jennifer Lawrence) after one three-minute scene. The two become coiled around each other, suddenly, as if the projectionist lost a reel of film. The editing looks like it was done by an errant fan blade. Director Susanne Bier is a far better director than this film would suggest, but when approaching this particular period picture, it seems like she consulted a toy magic 8 ball before every scene. At least half of this movie is comprised of Bradley Cooper sponge bathing Jennifer Lawrence in a tub, while engaging in a prosaic conversation. Even Jacques-Louis David, the artist of Death of Marat, would say, “this is too much.” Think the tub scene in Harmony Korine’s Gummo was too long? Wait until you see this movie. Even Marlon Brando spent less time around a bath in Bernardo Bertolucci’s Last Tango in Paris. Maybe Bier had a deal with Home Depot.

Throughout the film, double-crossing friends twist their Snidely Whiplash mustaches and pug-like sheriffs glower and seethe. The actions are present, but they don’t feel accounted for. Serena’s downfall may be due to the fact that the costumes do not seem lived in. 1830s North Carolina feels like a community college play. Bradley Cooper looks like he’s internally convincing himself to not tear off his wardrobe and storm off of the set. This has to be the worst period picture since John Irvin’s abysmal Hemingway’s Garden of Eden or Milos Forman’s Goya’s Ghosts. Almost all of the actors come off as too contemporary. You can put a pocket watch on an iPhone and I wont believe it owned a timbre company in the 1800s. You cant simply dress something or someone up.

There’s also some weirdness in understanding Cooper’s accent. In one scene he speaks like a 1860s Boston police officer. In another he sounds like he’s from the depths of the bayou. In another he has no discernible brogue or inflection at all: It’s like he’s in his trailer spinning a bottle on what accent he should use next. Meanwhile, Jennifer Lawrence is a non-entity for the first time in her career. This makes her performance in House at the End of the Street look like an Oscar contender in comparison. During her screen time she leans over furniture or lets the lighting dictate her mood. I can imagine Bier giving her direction on set: “Lean, assertively, against that fixture. Cast a shadow against that wooden chair. Clutch that pillow. Drum your fingers on that table.” Most upsetting about Serena is its moribund running time. I cannot remember a movie so slovenly paced in all of my life. Imagine staring at a still life painting of an apple for four hours, and you’ll understand how inert this film is. Bier will have better films ahead of her, but Serena – opening today at La Jolla Village Cinemas - should have the Alan Smithee moniker all over it.

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What We Do In The Shadows (0)

Published on Fri, 20/02/15 | Comedy, Horror, Written By: Robert Patrick
What We Do In The Shadows

In the Land of Blood and Funny Starring: Jemaine Clement, Taika Waititi Review written by Robert D. Patrick Vampires, again? When drawing from an empty, moss-encased well, you would expect your rusty bucket to hit the sludge at the bottom. We’ve had empirically attractive, virile blood suckers. Well quaffed, Victorian vampires. Apathetic, vinyl hoarding shapeshifters. Grotesquely moribund […]


Che (0)

Published on Sat, 14/02/15 | Commentary, Written By: Robert Patrick
Che

Che Dir. Steven Soderbergh Yr. 2008 Spine #496 Written by Robert D. Patrick Denounced by vitriolic critics, the wily cynicism of pen-wielders and casual moviegoers alike bemoaned Steven Soderbergh’s Che. With its polarizing subject and David Lean-like running time, the sweat lacquered anti-epic was netted in confusion. Why make this film at all? Soderbergh wasn’t […]


Caila Thompson-Hannant’s Good Thing (0)

Published on Thu, 22/01/15 | Commentary, Written By: Robert Patrick
Caila Thompson-Hannant’s Good Thing

The banal ticking in the opening seconds of Mozart’s Sister’s “Good Thing Bad Thing” present a kind of lonely canvas. The arms of a timepiece move by in a staccato fashion, presenting nothing new or relevant; broad strokes of impassivity. And then the reverie, almost exhausted in its wanderlust, begins to crescendo. A gentle hum, lazily […]


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Top Ten Movies of 2014

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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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The Best of Arnold

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Sam’s Cosmic Movie Peeves

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B-Movie: Rock N Roll Nightmare

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A Chinese Torture Chamber Story

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Holiday Cards

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