REVIEW: The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part [2019]

Listen to the music. A film like The LEGO Movie is a once-in-a-decade type achievement (so to see its filmmakers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller also write/produce another once-in-a-decade feat with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse only shows how inventive and original the two are). It daring to use its subject matter’s tactility and utility rather than pretend its nothing more than aesthetic was an ingenious choice, the surprise lifting of the curtain to reveal a human element behind the characters’ machinations the stuff of legend. So the inevitable demand for…

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REVIEW: Havoc [2005]

There is a monetary zone of geography which we’re not allowed to pass. I can’t help wondering what Havoc might have been if Jessica Kaplan had the means to make it herself in the 90s like today’s aspiring filmmakers can thanks to affordable technology. She was seventeen when she sold her script “The Powers That Be” based on what she experienced growing up in West Los Angeles. It appears she was more or less the role Matt O’Leary plays (Eric)—an observer trying to understand why these rich white kids are…

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REVIEW: Smallfoot [2018]

True your aim. Would it be hyperbolic to call Smallfoot the most dangerous film of the year? Definitely … and yet it wouldn’t necessarily be wrong. Yes there’s a wholesome message at the back of what Karey Kirkpatrick (who co-directed with Jason Reisig and co-wrote with Clare Sera from a previous script that itself was based on Sergio Pablos‘ book Yeti Tracks) has put onscreen, but it’s not difficult to misconstrue its meaning if you’re motivated to do so. Ask him and he’ll say it’s a story about not lying…

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REVIEW: Kingsman: The Golden Circle [2017]

“There’s no room for emotion in this scenario” When Kingsman: The Secret Service debuted, comparisons to creator Mark Millar‘s other comic book to cinematic adaptation Kick-Ass were obvious. How the latter spun the superhero template, the former spun stylish James Bond-type spy actioners. It was all high-concept insanity with a kid from the wrong side of the tracks proving courage, heroism, and finesse weren’t as much a product of environment as they were personality and the capacity to overcome one’s disadvantages. There was a sweet surrogate father/son dynamic too with…

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REVIEW: Logan Lucky [2017]

“Did you just say cauliflower to me?” The story is as follows: Steven Soderbergh—while on hiatus from feature films (previously known as retirement)—received a script from a mutual friend of his and screenwriter Rebecca Blunt (who might not be a real person). He fell in love with its stripped down Ocean’s 11 feel devoid of the posh financial backing robbing casinos needs and knew he’d regret handing it off to a recommended contemporary instead of helming it himself. Soderbergh therefore sat on this hillbilly heist gem until his show (“The…

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REVIEW: Hail, Caesar! [2016]

“It’s all in the hips, the lips, the eyes, and the thighs” You don’t think much when you read the Coen Brothers have been bouncing Hail, Caesar! around since 2004. After all, they’re prolific auteurs that often write scripts for other directors, so a decade-long gestation period is nothing to scoff at. Only when you learn the idea was little more than an idea that you start wondering about the final product. Maybe they loved that initial pitch so much the words simply poured out over the last couple years.…

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REVIEW: The Hateful Eight [2015]

“Well I’ll be double-dog damned” It appears Quentin Tarantino has decided to go back to his roots by making his eighth feature film The Hateful Eight in the same vein as his debut Reservoir Dogs—namely keeping sets and actors to the bare minimum for added tension without room for escape. The maneuver couldn’t have come sooner with its predecessor Django Unchained, despite earning an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, proving to me his weakest work. Not only was it pretty much a watered-down rehash of Inglourious Basterds, it was also…

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REVIEW: Jupiter Ascending [2015]

“The problem with astrology … total bullshit” Sometimes filmgoers simply want to be entertained and often don’t mind when the means of that fun skews towards the headier side of things—no matter how implausible, campy, or convenient that direction proves. Jupiter Ascending isn’t trying to sell itself as some grand magnum opus that cures cancer; it’s merely a new space opera from the blockbuster sci-fi duo Wachowski Starship (Andy and Lana). They were commissioned by the studio to write exactly that in the hopes of franchise viability. Do I see…

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REVIEW: Foxcatcher [2014]

“John du Pont is … kind of a mentor to me” Now here’s a film with immaculate construction in production design, sound design, acting, and direction. The only thing Foxcatcher lacks is the breathing room to stand as a cohesive whole worthy of the talent pouring its heart and soul in. The story of John “Golden Eagle” du Pont is a highly provocative one that deserves to be told on the big screen if only to educate those like myself who were unaware of the tragedy surrounding him. In the…

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REVIEW: The Book of Life [2014]

“Always play from the heart” I’ve held fascination for Día de Muertos ever since seventh grade Spanish class. There’s just something about its love for the dead and ability to turn something scary to so many into this beautiful cultural tradition that makes its juxtaposition of old bones and ornate artistry a uniquely special aesthetic. To say I was intrigued in Jorge R. Gutierrez‘s The Book of Life would therefore be an understatement. The colors, detail, subject matter, and music he infused seemed a perfect coalescence of style and substance…

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Posterized Propaganda November 2014: ‘Foxcatcher,’ ‘Interstellar,’ ‘The Imitation Game,’ and More

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. I guess studios are gearing up for a huge December push because this month has a pretty sparse line-up. Thankfully, however, it appears quality has trumped quantity because most of…

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