REVIEW: Support the Girls [2018]

Sad dudes is my business. To mention an establishment like Hooters is to receive a broad spectrum of opinions. There are those who judge anyone that’s ever stepped foot in one for the way it demeans and objectifies women, those who see it as an effective means towards giving young women a living wage via tips, and of course the select few who love the food. Whether you believe one critique truer than the others is your prerogative, but I’d hope everyone could agree that the safety and security of…

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REVIEW: The Possession of Hannah Grace [2018]

Green means go. Megan Reed (Shay Mitchell) is so intentionally drawn for the plot of The Possession of Hannah Grace that you can take bets before sitting down on whether she’ll prove the hero (itching for redemption as a former cop who froze when her partner was shot and killed in the field) or future host of the demon wreaking havoc in the morgue (her partner’s death has left her a shattered and anxious recovering addict who’s obviously susceptible to the darkness she hopes to shed). This duality is where…

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REVIEW: The House That Jack Built [2018]

The choice is entirely yours. I can’t wait to discover what’s next for Lars von Trier‘s oeuvre. He followed his Dogme 95 phase with a period steeped in depression and now that one has seemingly just ended with [the blatantly autobiographical] film The House That Jack Built. At its center is the personification of this latter phase’s creative genius—a projection of his aesthetically gorgeous vignettes of brutally depraved imagery. This serial killer (Matt Dillon‘s Jack) sees his trophies as art, his victims the material with which he’s created them from…

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REVIEW: リズと青い鳥 [Rizu to aoi tori] [Liz and the Blue Bird] [2018]

I hope that day never comes. The filmmakers behind リズと青い鳥 [Rizu to aoi tori] [Liz and the Blue Bird] did a smart thing: they took an existing property (Ayano Takeda‘s novel series Sound! Euphonium which has subsequently become a manga, anime series, and film) and expanded upon two of its secondary characters by allowing them to take the lead. I’m not familiar with the original iterations of the property, but a bit of research shows that its plot surrounds a high school concert band in Kyoto, Japan just returned to…

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REVIEW: The Mercy [2018]

What if I tell them I’m here? I had never heard of Donald Crowhurst before seeing James Marsh‘s film The Mercy. This is unsurprising since the British Sunday Times‘ Golden Globe Race of which he was a competitor occurred in 1968, not quite fifteen years before my birth. And if his would-be return-date to Teignmouth, England of July 1969 after yachting around the world without stop or assistance was ingrained in my mind for any event—auspicious or infamous—it was the moon landing. So when the synopsis described this amateur sailor…

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REVIEW: Green Book [2018]

Does Betty like butter … er? First things first: racism isn’t funny. It’s surprising that something so important can be forgotten so often, but here we are with another cinematic example of the opposite. What’s worse is that the story director/co-writer Peter Farrelly is bringing to the big screen with intentional beats rendering a wisecracking Italian-American as hilariously racist had the potential of actually saying something. And while it would be easy to blame his name—one synonymous with Dumb and Dumber, There’s Something About Mary, and the grossly tone-deaf Shallow…

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REVIEW: Widows [2018]

This isn’t your world. When the first trailer for Widows dropped, I thought, “Steve McQueen is branching out to genre fare now.” This wasn’t a slight, just an observation. I obviously wanted to see it, but thought I could wait before the notes out of TIFF declared it a must-see. Suddenly I needed to reevaluate my perception of what this thing was behind its marketing push. Would there be more than just revenge and heist-based thrills? Would this be a slower burn a la co-writer Gillian Flynn‘s novels augmented by…

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REVIEW: Ralph Breaks the Internet [2018]

You said I was trenching! I knew things weren’t going to go as hoped when the lack of a short film before Ralph Breaks the Internet brought a filmed introduction by three of its middle-aged, male creators instead. They pretend as though they’re personally beaming themselves into our theater to share their gratitude with fake buffering circles freezing frames every now and then as one tells us the hardest part of making this sequel was fitting everything they love about the internet in. It’s spoken with a transparent insecurity boomers…

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REVIEW: Creed II [2018]

Gimme back my keys. There’s no better way to recognize what a filmmaker brings to the table than a sequel without him/her. This isn’t to say Ryan Coogler wasn’t involved in the making of Creed II—he is a producer on the project after all. No, it’s simply to point out how different Creed was to the Rocky films that came before it. Yes it was pretty much a redux of the original installment that put Sylvester Stallone on Hollywood’s map as both a leading actor and screenwriter, but it relived…

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REVIEW: A Private War [2018]

I think fear comes later. American journalist Marie Colvin’s family’s lawyers say they have evidence proving the Bashar al-Assad-led government of Syria ordered her death in 2012. If that doesn’t express the power of a free press, I’m not sure what could. At a time when the US President is acting like an autocratic leader deciding who is allowed to cover the White House beat while also calling the media at-large “an enemy of the people,” we would do well to look back at what Colvin did just before a…

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REVIEW: Manbiki kazoku [Shoplifters] [2018]

Sounds fishy. When times are tough, you improvise. Look at the Shibata family for example. Osamu (Lily Franky) and Nobuyo (Sakura Andô) both work part-time jobs to bring home meager earnings that can be added to the pension Grandma Hatsue (Kirin Kiki) collects as a result of her husband’s passing. They also have her home to share with Aki (Mayu Matsuoka), her older granddaughter, and Shota (Jyo Kairi), Osamu and Nobuyo’s son. It’s a cramped lifestyle, but workable thanks to their collective ambivalence towards stealing. Nobuyo has no qualms taking…

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