REVIEW: Vivarium [2020]

Raise the child and be released We all like to believe that we have some semblance of control over our lives. Do we, though? How much of our identity is dictated by social conditioning? Maybe it’s explicit indoctrination like that taught by religion, politics, and culture as “superior” than others. Or maybe it’s implicit like the subliminal messaging possibilities of art appropriated by marketing. You might say to yourself that you’re too smart for advertising, but what do you do when confronted by four of the same product consisting of…

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REVIEW: El hoyo [The Platform] [2019]

Obviously. We say the same thing whenever a new dystopian vision is released: it couldn’t have come at a better time. It was said when Brazil bowed and again with Snowpiercer and High-Rise after. And now it’s director Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia‘s turn as El hoyo [The Platform] hits the zeitgeist in the middle of a pandemic that’s revealed empires to be as naked as Hans Christian Andersen’s emperor. Will we band together in the face of widespread adversity and recognize—sometimes for the very first time—that we must protect the most vulnerable…

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REVIEW: The Invisible Man [2020]

Surprise. After the critical and financial debacle of Universal Studios’ attempted interconnected Dark Universe of “monsters” beginning with The Mummy, the decision to embrace a more independent mindset was inevitable. Considering his collaborations with James Wan (the Saw and Insidious franchises) utilized exactly that, it wasn’t shocking when newly placed producers Blumhouse reached out to Leigh Whannell to lead the charge. I don’t think it was his horror pedigree that earned him a meeting about reimagining H.G. Wells‘ The Invisible Man, though, since his last film Upgrade practically had an…

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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: Color Out of Space [2020]

A dreamy dream together is reality. **Potential spoilers** Arkham’s citizens colloquially describe the Gardner family’s farm as “blasted heath” at the start of H.P. Lovecraft‘s short story The Colour Out of Space. Their reasoning stems from the deathly gray dust covering the area as though a fire had wiped everything but a stone well away. That they’re mentioning it at all is the result of Lovecraft’s nameless narrator’s appearance as a surveyor discerning whether or not a water reservoir should be installed atop what’s grown into a legend those who…

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REVIEW: The Wave [2020]

Reality’s a choice, maaaan. The first thing you need to know when entering director Gille Klabin and writer Carl W. Lucas‘ The Wave is that it takes a lot of liberties. The second thing is that doing so doesn’t have to be a problem. So much of what happens on-screen is born from convenience and ultimately has no explanation (if it even needs one) before playing its long-term role within Frank’s (Justin Long) hallucinogenic nightmare of an adventure. Just because he might get a handle on what’s happening to manipulate…

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REVIEW: プロメア [Puromea] [Promare] [2019]

Oil and water as one! Its mechs vs. monsters storyline starts pretty straightforward. The latter are born from a mysterious mutation that gives a select percentage of the Earth’s population combustion powers that they simply couldn’t control at the time of the “Great World Blaze” en route to causing a mass genocide it’s taken three decades to overcome. The former are the creation of a new scientific law enforcement entity that goes by the name Foundation. With popular billionaire Kray Foresight (Masato Sakai) as its CEO, newly crafted high-tech resources…

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REVIEW: Paradise Hills [2019]

There’s always a way to get what you want. It’s Uma’s (Emma Roberts) wedding day and everyone is excited. She sings a song while her affluent guests clap and dance, the conversations surrounding her making mention of how much work she’s put into making this whole occasion possible. The idyllic scene’s ornate beauty and plastic smiles seem to be in a permanent state of universal bliss until a woman lets Uma know that her new husband (Arnaud Valois‘ Son) waits in their bedroom. Here is where the happy bride pauses…

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REVIEW: Gemini Man [2019]

I just want some peace. It took twenty years, multiple rewrites, and a who’s who list of directors and stars, but Gemini Man finally made it to the big screen. And original scribe Darren Lemke kept his story and screenplay credits through everything. That says something considering these development hell miracles too often become abominations so far removed from their auspicious beginnings that there’s no sign of what got studios excited in the first place. David Benioff and Billy Ray earned their place beside him with Ang Lee putting his…

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REVIEW: Ad Astra [2019]

Most of us spend our entire life in hiding. In our quests for more, many of us forget that which we already have. This is true on a micro (sacrificing family for career) and macro (domination no matter the collateral damage) level. Space exploration can often become a rather direct example of this as a common reason for advancement in interstellar travel stems from our desire to find a new home to replace the one we’ve destroyed. We latch onto those things that we can only hope to achieve while…

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TIFF19 REVIEW: Synchronic [2020]

The present is a miracle. When two paramedic best friends in New Orleans discovered the first unexplainable injury on their route, they didn’t really think much about it. The second? Well, it was a body. They shouldn’t have even been called. What about the third, though? A snake bite in a hotel room without a snake alongside a disappeared boyfriend? That’s when you start looking for the connective tissue holding everything together besides Steve (Anthony Mackie) and Dennis (Jamie Dornan) having the bad luck to catch them all. That’s when…

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