Tuesday, March 03rd | CinemaSpartan.com

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 […]

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, […]

A Most Violent Year

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 […]

Caila Thompson-Hannant’s Good Thing

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, […]


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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What We Do In The Shadows (0)

Published on Fri, 20/02/15 | Comedy, Horror, Written By: Robert Patrick

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 trucker vampires with Jeff Reboulet mustaches. Even Aaliyah played a vampire queen. Bram Stoker’s quill couldn’t have imagined the horrors that would befall his vein piercing creation. Yet, after the litany of tired cliches and clumsy retooling of the genre over the years, Jim Jarmusch inoculated the boorish vampire aesthetic with his sinewy and sweltering Only Lovers Left Alive. And now, only months later, comes What We Do in the Shadows, a film that playfully lampoons the fang-baring undead.

Jemaine Clement and fellow writer/actor Taika Waititi weave a brilliant cat’s cradle of gallows humor and bruised levity - blood-specked walls and irreverent observational absurdity are specials of the night. Four idiosyncratic vampires share a web swaddled lair in New Zealand. Their flat has more oil paintings than a Scooby Doo cartoon or a Thomas Kinkade gallery. Three of the roommates are contemporary entities, while Petyr, the elder statesman of the bunch, resembles F.W. Murnau’s Count Orlok. Though spinal columns are left in the house, like discarded pizza crust, the troupe of vampires still have cavalier discussions about whose turn it is to wash the dishes (in this case, ornate chalices and antique plates).

Clement plays Vladislov, the most carnal and baritone of the bunch. Waititi, on the other hand, plays a more affable hellion – he’s affixed, almost permanently, with a naive smile. Meanwhile, Jonathan Brugh plays Deacon, the most wily of the group. Petyr, the monochrome and emaciated vampire, could literally be played by Max Schreck for all we know. The group, being hundreds of years old, aren’t acclimated to today’s technology, which is part of the set-up. But the real laughter comes from vampire lore being interlocked with menial house chores. There is an eye for dry wit in the most cavalier of circumstances. The hammed up accents, ranging from tinny Eastern European to old Hollywood Transylvanian put the proceedings over the top in the best way possible. Clement and Waititi’s gore inundated opus is spiked with enough cultural nods to keep a consistent pulse throughout the film.

Though a deft comedy, there is enough slinking bodies and jutting blood to appease horror fans. What We Do in the Shadows – now playing at Landmark’s Hillcrest Cinemas – is clever departure from a genre that has gotten too cool for its own good.


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Che (0)

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

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 […]

American Sniper (0)

Published on Thu, 15/01/15 | Biography, Drama, Written By: Robert Patrick
American Sniper

Through the Scope Clint Eastwood’s newest opus, based on the life of America’s most technically proficient sniper, is smeared with charcoal and flecked with blood. The late marksman in question, Chris Kyle, served his country with pride. Eastwood’s geographic devotion shadows that very theme, bringing the sweat and teeth-gnashing sacrifice of military service into the […]

Inherent Vice (0)

Published on Sat, 10/01/15 | Comedy, Crime, Drama, Written By: Robert Patrick
Inherent Vice

Smoke on the Water Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin Review written by Robert D. Patrick Inherent Vice is a Rubik’s Cube comprised of sand and California sunshine. The thwacking reverberations of weathered sandals on heat baked concrete. Hushed whispers and drowsy head tilts form the hazy aesthetic. Paul Thomas Anderson eases off the pedal in […]

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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

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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 […]

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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

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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

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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

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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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Presidents in Film

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Holiday Cards

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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

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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 […]