REVIEW: Who’s Watching Oliver [2018]

I may not be pretty, but I have what you need. To think about a romantic serial killer thriller is to conjure thoughts of Natural Born Killers and its duo of equally despicable characters. It’s easy to believe two psychopaths can fall in love because they share a predilection for violence no one else would. But just because they accept each other’s monstrous desires, any potential offspring wouldn’t automatically follow suit. This son or daughter would possess the agency to fear his/her parents and pray for escape. The parents would…

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REVIEW: Sicario: Day of the Soldado [2018]

Not ‘they’. There’s a reason for Emily Blunt‘s character Kate in Sicario. She’s the last vestige of law and order on the frontlines of a war that relinquished both long ago. Her FBI Agent believed in what she was doing and felt she could make a difference in the field to combat the drugs, bodies, and weapons spilling over the US/Mexican border courtesy of the cartels. So when two “DoD consultants” came calling to recruit her for a covert mission targeting someone of value at the top of the food…

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REVIEW: Hearts Beat Loud [2018]

Whoopie pies and Spotify. It’s often at extreme times of upheaval that we find ourselves taking stock of our life, ambitions, and loves. While working hard to be successful enough to support our families, we have a tendency of leaving our dreams by the wayside and/or compartmentalizing our identities to serve the unavoidable pressures of the present rather than hopes for the future. And on the flipside we can also youthfully avoid our basic human desire for compassion and interaction in order to maintain focus on career paths we’ve yet…

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REVIEW: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom [2018]

They’re alive. Like me. Anyone who read/watched Jurassic Park in the 1990s should have known the product of John Hammond’s hubris: a marriage between mankind’s extinction and evolution into something more. This is what the themes of control and the lack thereof portend. To play God is to risk losing everything we have built in the past 300,000 years. Because whether we bring back that which nature destroyed (dinosaurs) or create something wholly new (through genetic manipulation and cloning), we breathe life into a being not meant for the present…

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REVIEW: Jurassic Park III [2001]

No force on Earth or Heaven could get me on that island. It’s almost ironic to discover David Koepp—screenwriter of the franchise’s previous two installments—was the one to think up the “simpler” story concept that Peter Buchman (with revisions by Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor) ultimately built upon for Jurassic Park III. The man responsible for adapting The Lost World into an overstuffed cash-grab of a bloated sequel swooped in just weeks before another fully storyboarded and ready-to-go draft went into production with the advice to condense its focus. You…

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REVIEW: The Lost World: Jurassic Park [1997]

So you went from capitalist to naturalist in just four years. That’s something. It’s one thing for a movie to spawn a sequel for no other reason than money—especially at the Hollywood level where the capitalistic gains of producers usurp the artistic worth of its creators. But it’s another to ask the artist who spawned the property to go down that bankrupt well with them. This is exactly what happened when the time came to follow-up the smash hit Jurassic Park, however. The original book was a bestseller that only…

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REVIEW: Won’t You Be My Neighbor? [2018]

Look for the helpers. I remember watching “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” as a kid, but couldn’t have told you anything about it besides the fact that Fred Rogers would trade his jacket for a cardigan and eventually let us travel to his Neighborhood of Make-Believe. To me it was the aesthetic that grabbed hold—the trolley trip to a world of puppets and fantasy that brought to life the little maquettes on his shelf. So I always thought the entire endeavor was a bit of a spectacle, an educational show that knew…

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REVIEW: Irma Vep [1996]

Have you sex with girls? If you’re going to poke fun at the film industry, you might as well go for broke. Take Olivier Assayas‘ Irma Vep for example. Hot off the success of his acclaimed Cold Water, he was recruited for a project about foreigners in Paris with Claire Denis and Atom Egoyan. When this attempt at recreating Louis Feuillade‘s silent Les vampires fell through, Assayas decided to continue with that thematic idea while also adding some “meta” behind the scenes chaos that could (and probably did) occur. With…

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REVIEW: The Killing [1956]

Just a bad joke without a punch line. After test screenings left audiences confused and frustrated, writer/director Stanley Kubrick and producing partner James B. Harris decided to return to the edit bay and turn The Killing‘s overlapping, repetitious structure into a more linear A-to-B narrative. You can’t blame the former for wanting to do everything possible to make the film a hit since it was his first project with a real budget positioning his career forward (he’d disavowed Fear and Desire as amateurish and sophomore effort Killer’s Kiss proved almost…

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REVIEW: Never Steady, Never Still [2018]

I’m full of memories. I’m full of hope. I’m full of regrets. With a riveting central performance by Shirley Henderson as a woman dealing with advanced Parkinson’s, you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking Kathleen Hepburn‘s Never Steady, Never Still (adapted from her short of the same name) was simply about the tragedy of the disease. A different version of this story would probably go that route because it’s the “flashier” path towards recognition. The Vancouver native, however, decides to go further by delving beneath the surface by exposing the hardships…

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Top 100 Albums of 2017

Honorable Mention Brother Ali – All the Beauty in This Whole Life; Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – The Tourist; Laura Marling – Semper Femina; Oh Wonder – Ultralife; Stars – There Is No Love In Flourescent Lights; Jay Som – Everybody Works; Real Estate – In Mind; Goldfrapp – Silver Eye; Katy Perry – Witness; Elder – Reflections of a Floating World; Mew – Visuals; Los Campesinos! – Sick Scenes; Death From Above 1979 – Outrage! Is Now; Björk – Utopia; Nick Hakim – Green Twins; Little Dragon –…

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