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Frank | Review

21 August 2014 3:00 PM, PDT

Lenny Abrahamson's Frank is one of the best cinematic representations of the artistic tug of war between creativity and success in the music business. Debatably, popular music has historically relegated the most creative and talented musicians to the underground, leaving only the most homogenized music for the mainstream audiences consume. An artist as conceptually complex as Frank has no desire to become homogenized, thus throwing any chances of becoming a financially successful musician (which in itself has become a bit of an oxymoron, even in pop culture). Music is Frank's lifeblood, his passion, his dream; the financial piece of the equation does not seem to matter to him. Though the possibility of having a large YouTube fan base seems somewhat appealing (at least a curiosity) to him, Frank reveals no real desire to become famous. Frank would probably like for people to connect with his music, but he really »

- Don Simpson

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We Are Mari Pepa (Somos Mari Pepa) | Review

18 August 2014 7:30 AM, PDT

Writer-director Samuel Kishi Leopo's We Are Mari Pepa relishes in its neo-realist sensibilities; relying on documentary techniques and occasionally switching to a first person perspective, the rich authenticity appears at all levels of the production, with dialogue that poetically captures the things that only pubescent boys would say and performances that give the allusion that this truly is "life caught unawares." Leopo's film also does an excellent job of reflecting the ways in which teenage boys tend to drift apart. Though they obviously enjoy each other's company, the friendship of Alex, Moy, Bolter and Rafa is primed to unravel. The four boys are are a moment in their lives that they seemingly must choose between music, skateboarding, soccer, girls and jobs; because for whatever reason it seems to be impossible to juggle all of those things as a teenager. They may be bound together by Mari Pepa, but only Alex's »

- Don Simpson

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