REVIEW: Oblivion [2013]

“We’ll come back when it’s over” Originally planned as a graphic novel, Joseph Kosinski‘s Oblivion wouldn’t have stayed solely on the page for long. It’s science fiction romance decades after the Earth is ravaged by nuclear war and alien invasion would have whet any studio’s appetite with or without the director’s work on TRON: Legacy—itself a mixed bag many consider a failure. Disney tooted his horn for awhile leading up to that highly-anticipated sequel, even going as far as outbidding multiple suitors for the rights to his and Arvid Nelson‘s…

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TIFF12 REVIEW: Argo [2012]

“The United States government has just sanctioned your science fiction movie” In 1979, tensions between Iran and the United States reached a boil after Ayatollah Khomeini called for a return of his predecessor—Shah Pahlavi—in order to try him in what would be a kangaroo court whether or not deserved. Allowed passage into the US to attend the Mayo clinic and combat his cancer, the fact we were housing him infuriated a group of Islamist students and militant followers of the Imam’s Line to the point of storming the American embassy…

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TIFF12 REVIEW: 2012 Short Cuts Canada Programmes

Programme 1 “So a TV killed your father” What do you get when you mix the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the ancient metallurgical science of alchemy, and the namesake of inventor Philo Farnsworth? The answer is Connor Gaston‘s short film Bardo Light—titled for the bright glow none of us can avoid at the end of our lives. Told via the police interrogation of the younger Farnsworth (Shaan Rahman) after his adopted father (Bill Gaston) was found suffocated to death in their cabin, we quickly learn of successful experiments using…

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REVIEW: Independence Day [1996]

“We will not go quietly into the night” The man who proved we could only take so many disaster films and yet still made more, Roland Emmerich shouldn’t be denied the astronomical success of the one that jump-started the genre’s big budget revival in the first place. After giving us the rather smart science fiction actioner Stargate, he and writing/producing partner Dean Devlin came up with the treatment for Independence Day as a response to the constant questions about their opinions on alien life. Wanting to take a step back…

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REVIEW: Salt [2010]

“Are you selling secrets for chemo?” The question is, who is Salt? Two years ago she was a falsely imprisoned utilities corporation worker being water-boarded by the North Koreans; an unspecified amount of time after she is a CIA operative who has been saved and traded back to the US, not by her bosses, but by the cover boyfriend who fell for her and started making waves in political circles; and, in the present day, she is accused of being a Russian covert plant—a part of the Soviet Union’s insane…

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BNFF10 REVIEW: Lunopolis [2010]

“Have a blessed day” Ever want to know what a mixture of The Fourth Kind, without the re-enactments, and Primer would look like? Well, neither did I. That doesn’t mean I was turned off at the prospect, however, especially since both those movies are highly recommended by me. So, sitting down at a Buffalo Niagara Film Festival screening of Lunopolis was one I looked forward to. Listed in the program as a Feature Film, but categorized as a Documentary on IMDB, its synopsis confused me into wondering whether this was…

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REVIEW: Avatar [2009]

“I see you” I have one major problem with Avatar and that is what it means for the future of my home entertainment system. How can I ever replicate the visceral spectacle I experienced with a five-story screen, digital sound blaring, and 3D technology that is so beyond any I’ve seen before that nothing short of ‘blown away’ can describe it? I’m not sure I ever could and that is what may make this film as successful or more than its creator’s last, Titanic. People aren’t going to want to…

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REVIEW: Terminator Salvation [2009]

“So that’s what death tastes like” I have never seen a McG film before. I avoided the Charlie’s Angels movies and thought We Are Marshall looked pretty mediocre—besides being a based on true events sports flick; not my genre of choice. But here we have him helming the newest entry to one of the best science fiction series in cinema. How would someone that people oftentimes compare to a “hack” like Brett Ratner do with a big scale production containing an existing mythology and fan base calling for greatness? We…

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“The Big Bang Theory”: Sitcom Comedy for the Mindless or Social Commentary on Genius and Its Idiosyncrasies?

I will be the first to admit that I was brainwashed by the Hollywood machine and never had an interest to check out the CBS comedy “The Big Bang Theory”. Its marketing campaign billed it as another stupid sitcom to bring in money and entertain the mindless hordes of America. Why would I want to sit and watch 21 minutes of a half hour block filled with nerdy twenty-somethings and their lame attempts at getting women? To me this was a show about Sheldon, (Jim Parsons), and Leonard, (Johnny Galecki),…

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REVIEW: The X-Files: I Want to Believe [2008]

“Don’t give up” Wow, six years later and Chris Carter decided that his old show “The X-Files” still had relevance. I’ll admit to having loved the show when it first aired, diligently watching each episode for the first five or so seasons to see where the mythology arc would lead. Yeah, the one-off shows were fun, the occasional monster/killer/paranormal weirdness, but when they continued the alien conspiracy tale, my ears and eyes stayed glued. Black Oil, Krycek, and Cancer-Man made up the ultimate trifecta in 90’s television for me. With…

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REVIEW: Pulse [2006]

“Do you want to meet a ghost?” Why does Hollywood insist on remaking movies from foreign countries when they haven’t even been out for five years? If Asian horror is really the best form of the genre out there, why don’t production companies buy distribution rights and show them stateside? Instead they spend that money to get rights and then invest even more to get actors and a production off the ground for a full-blown reshoot. I mean when has an American remake ever been better than the original? Yeah,…

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