REVIEW: Man of Steel [2013]

“It wouldn’t be much of a surrender if I resisted” After Bryan Singer’s misguided attempt to stay true to original cinematic canon by having Superman Returns follow Richard Donner’s two Christopher Reeve starrers ultimately failed, a hard reboot was necessary. With DC Comics getting increasingly outplayed by every new expansion of the Marvel universe, it’s no surprise they would hand creative franchise control over to the man who reinvigorated their brand on the big screen in 2008. Producer Christopher Nolan not only found a way to rinse the ugly taste…

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REVIEW: The Dark Knight Rises [2012]

“Sometimes the pit sends something back” **Potential thematic spoilers** The trailer for the aptly coined ‘epic’ conclusion to director Christopher Nolan‘s caped crusader trilogy—The Dark Knight Rises—says it all through an emotional exchange between Batman (Christian Bale) and Catwoman (Anne Hathaway). Lamenting in her trademarked selfishness that he doesn’t “owe these people any more” and he’s “given them everything,” she begs to run away from the anarchy ravaging their once great city of Gotham. He did his best, admirably failing. Having none of it, though, the billionaire playboy who molded…

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REVIEW: The Nightmare Before Christmas [1993]

“Curiosity killed the cat, you know” Born from a poem written in the early 80s while Tim Burton was still working as a Disney animator, The Nightmare Before Christmas was a project the auteur wasn’t going to let lay dormant anymore. After finding success with his signature style in the likes of Beetlejuice and Batman, Burton and Disney were able to agree to a deal that would let another Mouse House alum—Henry Selick—direct it as his first feature film. Bringing in Danny Elfman to write the music and eventually sing…

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REVIEW: Green Lantern [2011]

“This is the worst eleventh birthday party I’ve ever been to” And here I thought green was the color of envy. Leave it to the DC Universe to set the record straight on how wrong that is in what could be the most implausibly convoluted mythology of any comic book entity ever—especially for a superhero who lives in the same world as Batman and Superman, two guys heavily steeped in reality, with some artistic flourishes of course. Green Lantern is hindered from an easy transition to the big screen at…

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TIFF10 REVIEW: Bunraku [2010]

“Love is temporary; Hope is eternal” Bunraku may be the term used to describe a form of traditional Japanese puppet theater, but that is no longer what I am going think when the word comes up in casual conversation—because it happens so frequently. Instead, I will recall memories of writer/director Guy Moshe’s unique vision of a future where the law is enforced by battles of skill and hand-to-hand or samurai combat, guns now outlawed from use. His Bunraku is an unforgettable film of high style and high-concept that was three…

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REVIEW: The Other Guys [2010]

“Aim for the bushes” My loathsome attitude to ‘full-blown’ Will Ferrell is common knowledge with those who have been reading my reviews the past few years. He just has a knack to go too far and regress into a large, blithering child. It used to work with small supporting roles or comic relief parts such as in Old School, but once the American public grabbed hold, the joke wore thin when needing to sustain itself for a two-hour duration. But then something happened a couple years ago with Step Brothers.…

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Top 50 Films of the Decade (2000–2009)

As always, I have not seen every film made in the decade, so this list is only complete as of posting. There are those diamonds in the rough I’ve yet to witness that could render this entire list obsolete. The ‘Naughts’, I believe an appropriate term being used for the decade spanning from 2000–2009, the years we feared wouldn’t come thanks to Y2K, brought with them some amazing films. Technological advancements aside, this time period contained a number of singular auteurs both continuing on already stellar careers and others beginning…

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REVIEW: The Dark Knight [2008]

“Sometimes the truth isn’t good enough” What do you do when your film is hyped up as the best comic book movie of all-time? What about when your star dies of an accidental drug overdose after completion, attributed by some to prescribed depression medication acquired due to the toll his character took on him? Well, you just have to ride the wave and hope it all turns out good. I mean just those two aspects alone were going to drive people to the theatres on Friday night, the real question…

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REVIEW: Iron Man [2008]

“Don’t waste it” There was a big question mark looming over the theatrical adaptation of Marvel’s Iron Man property. It was in the guise of director Jon Favreau. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the Favs, but when I heard he was helming a big budget comic book flick … let’s just say I was a little worried. Once his cast was set and the fanboys started humming across the internet I started to ease into the decision with high anticipation. Thankfully, after finally seeing the finished product, I…

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REVIEW: Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street [2007]

“May I have your attention, puh-lease!” Stephen Sondheim’s musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is not your run-of-the-mill Broadway spectacle. This thing is dark, gory, and bleak to the end with little in the way of joy and hope seeping through. I had seen the staged production featuring George Hearn and Angela Lansbury a couple years back, so I was familiar with the story before sitting down to experience Tim Burton’s vision. I guess by knowing Sondheim’s other musical Into the Woods, he is accustomed to darker,…

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REVIEW: Empire of the Sun [1987]

“Like God taking a photograph” Empire of the Sun is definitely a Steven Spielberg film. It has the epic scenery and action, the sentimental underlying tale of survival, and tragedy made the best of. Sure, like all Spielberg films, this one has the eventual happy ending, however, it really can be taken many ways. Most of his recent films have gone too far into the area of sap and/or ending happier than one would expect the context of the film to have gone to—see AI, Minority Report, and Catch Me…

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