Monday, January 26th | CinemaSpartan.com

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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Caila Thompson-Hannant’s Good Thing

Top Ten Movies of 2014

The Academy cherry-picked some fine – sometimes dubious – films for this year’s awards ceremony. Lots of old dads, granddads, and aunts that look like Joan Cusack voted for their favorite films. Stupid, exasperating things were nominated (Into the Woods) and barbed, fang-baring films were not (Nightcrawler, basically). Wes Anderson churned out another pastel smudged hymn to […]

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Top Ten Movies of 2014

10 Worst Films of 2014

There may be some omissions, but here are ten films that made me want to do parkour into a vat of lava. 10. Monuments Men A theatrical, bombastic, and wretchedly out of breath score huzzahs, hiccups and goes through the motions of trying to elevate Clooney’s slovenly-paced material. There is so much going on, but […]

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10 Worst Films 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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American Sniper (0)

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

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 fray with overcast results.

The typical, almost Ron Howard-like accessibility of Eastwood’s presentation is omnipotent. The grime and saliva spattered dissonance of war is lodged within each frame, but the director’s reined in – and almost parental – sensibilities keep the film from feeling too dangerous at any given time. That said, Eastwood’s direction contains less artifice and shagginess than his recent films – particularly J. Edgar, Hereafter, and Invictus – which have all had their feet in cement due to maudlin scores and obtrusive emotional direction. Still, American Sniper palpitates with that particular Clint-like sheen.

Estranged from the director’s safety net is Bradley Cooper. The actor’s grizzled, steel-chested, and horsepower laden performance as Chris Kyle is the best of his career. Bradley’s drawl is a bourbon soaked pictograph of Americana machismo. Despite the airbags, Eastwood’s film is butane and caffeine, a bullet threading through an energy drink. But the patriotic ideals and muscle flexing is perforated by an emotional syntax. Neither language is subdued, and American Sniper is hulking even in its most muted moments.

An almost unrecognizable Sienna Miller anchors the domestic portion of the sniper’s life. The actress weeps in her trembling hands, and coddles her children. She emotes discomfort and snarls when necessary. Miller’s character is based on a real person, but we’re only given the greatest hits of her emotions. Without a discernible personality, she exists more as an object to move the story in specific directions without the screenplay having to do any heavy lifting.

Though based on Kyle’s life, some of the directing, specifically when an athletic Syrian sniper races over rooftops like an Assassin’s Creed character, is a bit excessive. Some have pointed out that American Sniper is too pro-military, but, if we’re to see the story through the protagonist’s eyes, why wouldn’t it be? Kyle was the protector, the brawn. To look at this film objectively, we have to see through his eyes first, and then our own.

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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 […]


Selma (0)

Published on Fri, 9/01/15 | Drama, Reality Based, Written By: Robert Patrick
Selma

In Search of a Director Starring: David Oyelowo, Tom Wilkinson Review written by Robert D. Patrick Martin Luther King, Jr.’s fervent cogency was an unmovable force; he splintered all forms of bullheaded resistance in his toilsome path to equality. The Atlanta born pastor’s power was built around strategic diction – each word was crafted with ardor and articulation. Punctuation, […]


Top Five (0)

Published on Tue, 30/12/14 | Comedy, Drama, Romance, Written By: Robert Patrick
Top Five

The Numbers Game Starring: Chris Rock, Rosario Dawson Review written by Robert D. Patrick Bumbling lunacy, plumes of weed, and anatomy jokes – that’s been the popular well for comedies in recent years. Writers and directors, such as Judd Apatow and Evan Goldberg, make their money drilling for this kind of crass oil. Sometimes the […]


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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…

A new column written by Kyle Henke that argues against critical viewpoints shared by many.  Was the movie really awful or actually great?  Is the actor playing the role amazingly while being shamed for the script?  Lets find out.  Share on Tumblr

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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

In 2008, I interviewed the mercurial, outspoken, often times wonky Matthew Friedberger of The Fiery Furnaces for The East County Herald newspaper. Here, in its entirety, is the clunky, humorous, sometimes incendiary transcript of the exchange I had with Matthew. Known for their staccato production, esoteric lyrics, plunking pianos and rarely middling subject matter, The […]

Medium to Medium with Colleen Green

Fuzzy, dirty, rollicking guitar riffs that feel like you’re being bludgeoned with a pillowcase full of Pop Rocks and fireworks. Ethereal and airy vocals that perforate the buzzing instruments. Lou Reed sunglasses and some jagged abandon define the mercurial, sonic, who-gives-a-fuck offerings of Colleen Green. With her newest record, Milo Goes to Compton, the barbed […]

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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