Crimes of Passion: A Look at “Wild Tales”

Image from Wild TalesIf there’s one universal truth that binds humanity together, it’s this: everyone has had a moment where they want to absolutely destroy whomever has wronged them. Whether over a stolen parking space, obnoxious behavior in public, or a long-standing grudge, every human being on Earth has been subject to a strong desire for revenge at some point. It’s in our nature – or so the Argentinian nominee for Best Foreign Film at last year’s Oscars would have us believe. Wild Tales, currently playing in an art house near you, makes the case that revenge is an animalistic urge, to which we are all subject. The black comedy proceeds to argue its case in the form of six short stories segued together by theme in this anthology film.

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Celluloid Obsessions: Whiplash and Birdman

Image of JK Simmons in Whiplash

Oscar season, like the baseball season I spend much of the year covering, drags on. It’s literally a year-long discussion, and like baseball, has its peak months. We’re entering that stretch now, and it’s an amazing time. Over the next few months, we’ll see a barrage of high quality, high profile “Oscar movies” – a term I dislike because it somewhat discredits (in my opinion) the relative worth of the labeled film as an artistic piece in and of itself. With that being said, my tastes tend to lean towards what might be described as “long shots” – smaller movies with something to say that fall just short of being labeled front runners. (Think Her, Nebraska, and Before Midnight from last year.)

Recently, I’ve taken in two movies that will probably fall by the wayside as the season goes on through no fault of their own, but because they lack the narrative that propels movies like Dallas Buyers Club and the overwhelming weight of 12 Years a Slave.

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