REVIEW: Mayhem [2017]

“I just wanted the corner office” If you’ve ever worked an office job wherein every single one of your bosses has been promoted above his/her aptitude, you know what futility feels like. You slave away at your cubicle to reach beyond your pay grade only to have someone that knows nothing about what you do—or worse, throws you under the bus for something you’ve never even heard about—derail everything with the stroke of a pen or click of a button. What’s your recourse? Unless they stupidly cc’d you on the…

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REVIEW: My Friend Dahmer [2017]

“Smiles up” When someone kills seventeen people over a thirteen-year span with words like necrophilia and cannibalism circling each murder, sympathy for the predator—not his prey—is neither the first nor hundred and first emotion that should come to anyone’s mind. I’m not certain there could be room for anything but disgust whether you’re a stranger, a family member, or an old friend reading the news. And yet we try to find motivation nonetheless. We wonder about how someone could become such a monster right under our nose without ever suspecting…

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REVIEW: Long Time Running [2017]

“You don’t tell Gord he can’t do something” I’m not sure who it was that said it, but someone put into context what Gord Downie‘s terminal cancer diagnosis meant to Canada shortly after it was announced. Beyond this tragedy on a personal level for his friends, family, and The Tragically Hip bandmates, the idea that we would never again hear his voice sing “Bobcaygeon” or “Courage” live meant his nation was losing its first legend of rock and roll. As an American I had to read the statement again because…

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REVIEW: Suck It Up [2017]

“… And she fell down” Grief is a strange, personal, and often entirely unexpected reponse to tragedy. It will differ depending on who you are, the point in life you’re at, the cause, and myriad details spanning scenario, age, love, hate, or surprise. To cope with a grandparent’s death for example is something we all know is coming. We prepare ourselves for the inevitability and therefore find ourselves able to push through the pain with little to no trouble—depending on your relationship, of course. Conversely, the passing of someone still…

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REVIEW: The Killing of a Sacred Deer [2017]

“You’re too young to worry” Writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos is an artist who deals with consequences through elaborately skewed and often-uncomfortable scenarios just left of the off-putting spot that’s just left of center. He uses absurdity and humor to provoke us in order for his complex existential and social messages to hit home in a way strict realism never could. His films are thus morality plays of sorts pitting characters against one another in a puzzle that may or may not be of their own choosing. They are presented with a…

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REVIEW: Visages, villages [Faces Places] [2017]

“To meet new faces and photograph them so they don’t fall down the holes in my memory” To look at some of the work of “unidentified” artist JR—giant black and white images pasted onto surfaces with a literal or figurative contextual relationship—is to see the type of community-based, socially conscious messaging Agnès Varda built a career documenting. It’s no surprise to therefore hear JR explain how meaningful Varda’s Mur murs was to him as a budding artist searching for his unique voice and style. I can think of no two…

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REVIEW: Beloved [1998]

“Love is or it ain’t. Thin love ain’t love at all.” Love creates and destroys. Mix in post-traumatic stress disorder and you’ll never know which until it’s too late. Evil can permeate your soul and color your psychology in ways that merge right and wrong into a singular goal seeking survival. To endure horror is to alter everything you were, your innocence lost no matter how hard you try to reclaim it. The thought of experiencing the nightmare again—or having it find you within a place you believed safe—is enough…

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REVIEW: Blade Runner 2049 [2017]

“Because you’ve never seen a miracle” Survival is a selfish endeavor, but not necessarily one driven by ego. On the contrary, survival is often a selfless means to place community ahead of the individual. Look at our country’s current, abhorrent divisions along lines we should have erased decades ago or never created in the first place. As long as privilege exists and one race, gender, religion, et al holds power and sway above the rest simply because it fears relinquishing its place atop the “status quo,” rebellion is only a…

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REVIEW: The Natural [1984]

“The only homer I know has four bases in it” There’s a lot going on in Barry Levinson‘s The Natural and baseball is the least of it. The film had always been a blind spot for me as I’m not a fan of the sport and thus could never bring myself to watch—”classic” status or not. So the opportunity to sit down and experience it on the big screen after enjoying a lengthy interview session between Ben Mankiewicz and Levinson courtesy of Turner Classic Movies became my excuse to drop…

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REVIEW: Halloween III: Season of the Witch [1982]

“They’re fun. They’re frightening. And they glow in the dark.” After the insane success of John Carpenter‘s Halloween and the modest follow-through of its sequel Halloween II ($70 million on a $300,000 budget and $25.5 million on a $2.5 million budget respectively), the director readied to leave Haddonfield, Laurie Strode, and their malevolent predator behind. How many times can you bring the same supernatural monster back to life anyway? (Wink, wink.) His idea was to therefore pivot the franchise into an anthology series wherein the generic title/holiday would constitute the…

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REVIEW: Only the Brave [2017]

“Decide what you live for and what you can live without” Interagency Hotshot Crews are twenty person teams of Type 1 firefighters that exceed all experience, training, and fitness requirements of that designation. Originated in the 1940s to combat wildfires on a national level, these groups move all over the country to suppress flames and save cities in need. They’re to firefighters what Navy SEALs are to the military. You call them to get the big jobs done and as such are formed for that specific purpose on a federal…

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