REVIEW: Saint Frances [2020]

I apologize. The grass is neither greener nor less green on the other side. Not at present. Whether you have money or not, own a house or not, have a family or not—everyone has problems. You might not be able to admit them to yourself yet (or admit they aren’t insurmountable), but they most definitely exist. So when a partygoer begins to tell Bridget (Kelly O’Sullivan) about a nightmare he had wherein everything he worked towards was gone, we know his smugly callous joke about committing fake suicide in response…

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REVIEW: Big Time Adolescence [2020]

You’re my Guillermo. Kate Harris (Emily Arlook) sums up Jason Orley‘s Big Time Adolescence perfectly when she tries to explain two simple facts to her ex-boyfriend Zeke (Pete Davidson) about his friendship with her younger brother Monroe (Griffin Gluck). The first is that Mo only hangs out with him because he wants to feel cool. When you’re a teenager with few friends who hangs out with a twenty-something that has access to alcohol and drugs, you puff out your chest in the idea that you’re somehow better than those your…

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REVIEW: The Invisible Man [1933]

There’s a way back, you fool! I’ve never understood how people ask, “Which superpower is best?” as though there isn’t a definitive answer. Some will say flight. Some want x-ray vision. Some desire super-smarts or strength. But don’t all of those objectively pale in comparison to invisibility and the scope of what one can get away with if nobody can prove they were there? Its possibilities are both endless and endlessly terrifying—the latter a major reason why H.G. Wells‘ science fiction creation remains such a seminal figure within the horror…

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REVIEW: Onward [2020]

Be Like Dad. It’s Ian Lightfoot’s (Tom Holland) sixteenth birthday and he’s hoping to make it count. He’s not about to go on a rager with friends, though. He’s way too introverted for that. Ian therefore merely seeks to conquer a few baby steps towards mild extroversion by putting on his late father’s college sweatshirt to boost confidence and check off some boxes on a list he wrote to change himself into the man he wishes he might become. That means standing up for himself when others treat him like…

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REVIEW: Playdate with Destiny [2020]

If you didn’t know Disney bought Fox yet, you will after watching Playdate with Destiny—a new Simpsons short playing before Pixar’s latest, Onward. The bookends are overt brand management with a “Disney presents” at the start and a silhouette of Mickey sitting amongst Gracie Film’s usual patrons during its post-credits bumper. It’s an undeniably smart move to pair properties in such a visible fashion and I have to imagine it won’t be the last time it happens (just wait until Simpsons characters become Easter eggs alongside the usual stable of…

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REVIEW: Greed [2020]

Nod your head and shake my hand. What’s that Greek word? Hubris. The question is asked and answered by people who know all too well what drives Sir Richard McCreadie (Steve Coogan) because they’ve had the unfortunate pleasure of being the target of his ire whenever they’ve done something that might damage his international reputation in the slightest (even if they acted on his command). Do they really care, though? Do they care that being berated by “Greedy” McCreadie is a daily certainty rather than possibility? Not when he’s paying…

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REVIEW: Standing Up, Falling Down [2020]

Regret is real. Sometimes your dream isn’t much of a dream at all. Maybe reality sets in after you’re already well along the path taken in error. Perhaps the epiphany arrives before you’ve sacrificed the correct choice in order to choose wrong. Ask Scott Rollins (Ben Schwartz) and he’ll probably tell you it can even be both at once if you happen to have two dreams vying for your attention. For him it was a career in stand-up comedy and the woman (Eloise Mumford‘s Becky) he saw himself building a…

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REVIEW: Sonic the Hedgehog [2020]

Gotta go fast. While a Nintendo kid growing up with Mario forever winning the mascot war against Sega in my mind, relatives did have a Genesis and played Sonic often enough for me to have watched the little blue guy somersault around loop de loops before losing his golden rings after hitting enemies or spikes. I honestly never sought it out beyond that because the game always seemed to play too fast when compared with the straightforward Mushroom Kingdom and Mega Man platforms. I guess that was the point. Speed…

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REVIEW: Klaus [2019]

A true act of good will always sparks another. For a figure as ubiquitous as Santa Claus, the myriad ways in which his origin can be reborn, refashioned, and retrofitted seem infinite. Those seeking a new direction generally take the old and filter it through a contemporary generational lens wherein the jolly man’s title is passed down the line either by magic (The Santa Clause) or birthright (Arthur Christmas). Those choosing to start from scratch instead have therefore become a fascinating subsection of the Christmas genre simply by ensuring nothing…

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REVIEW: Olympic Dreams [2020]

I really want it to be that thing I want it to be. Director Jeremy Teicher and writer/actor Alexi Pappas already made a film about the latter’s Olympic ambitions entitled Tracktown. Shot two years before she placed 17th in the women’s 10,000 m event at the 2016 Rio Olympics, it dealt with a physically injured athlete forced into taking a break amidst the chaos of Olympic Trials preparation. It was therefore only natural that the pair would choose to tackle a story dealing with the psychological and emotional experience of…

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REVIEW: The Gentlemen [2020]

Doubt cause chaos and one’s own demise. It begins with a murder: out-of-frame, bloody, and a punctuation mark on Mickey Pearson’s (Matthew McConaughey) monologue about kingdoms and having to be the king when history ceases to be enough. By that he means the criminal underworld and intentionally getting his hands dirty to ensure the level of respect and fear necessary to stay alive in a volatile cross-section of gangster life. Mickey worked hard to get where he is as the boss of a seemingly impossible marijuana enterprise and he’s unafraid…

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