REVIEW: The Lion King [2019]

Slimy yet … satisfying. People are getting excited because Nintendo Switch is releasing a port of Link’s Awakening—an RPG that originally came out on the Gameboy two decades ago. More than a port, it’s an actual remake wherein everything is more or less the same with improved graphics and tweaks in gameplay wherever the developers see fit (surely in concert with what the new system can handle that the old couldn’t). That excitement is justified because they’re breathing new life into a classic game we can no longer play unless…

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REVIEW: Mary Magdalene [2018]

I wish there were a demon inside me. I’m a non-practicing Catholic who hasn’t paid attention in Church since earning my First Communion, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the adjective my mind encounters upon hearing the name Mary Magdalene is “prostitute.” It’s the word the church purposefully utilized to erase her from Jesus Christ’s gospel and why she’s generally spoken about as little more than a distraction or even a temptation he had to combat rather than embrace. Like in a patriarchal society, this maneuver allowed a patriarchal…

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REVIEW: Doctor Strange [2016]

“It’s not about you” People love to complain about superhero origin story trappings and they’re correct. The need to introduce new characters in their own standalone piece forces writers and directors to focus on certain check stops as far as normal life, transformation, and the embracing of one’s power to find the courage to selflessly fight evil. But just because these things are obvious doesn’t mean they have to be boring or that they have to diminish the final product. Many Marvel Universe fans still laud Iron Man as this…

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REVIEW: Triple 9 [2016]

“Better him than me” No matter how exciting it is to see a film with the cast John Hillcoat assembled on Triple 9, the old adage “less is more” still stands. The issue with having so many “main characters” is that they all end up becoming periphery players. And if one does rise above the rest, you wonder why so much happens that doesn’t concern him/her. This is where Matt Cook‘s 2010 Blacklist script falls into trouble: Casey Affleck‘s Chris Allen is our lead and yet he’s basically a pawn…

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REVIEW: The Martian [2015]

“Mars will come to fear my botany powers” Sometimes we need a good old-fashioned feel good tale that doesn’t talk down to us for smiles to unabashedly form at the movies. Ridley Scott‘s The Martian provides exactly that. You have a healthy dose of infectious humor, life and death suspense, space exploration to an uncharted planet, and Earth coming together for hope. It’s easy to find a depressing film putting utilitarian principles to work so one man can die for the many to live, so seeing a piece that throws…

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REVIEW: Half of a Yellow Sun [2014]

“Go and tell your fellow witches you did not see my son” For writer/director Biyi Bandele, adapting Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie‘s acclaimed novel Half of a Yellow Sun was more than simply a job. He read her very personal account—the revolutionary at its center is based heavily on her father while each additional character and event is a slightly varied take on an authentic tale she heard during research—and saw a love story amidst the volatile war that raged outside his parents’ door when he was brought into this world. Focusing…

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Top Ten Films of 2013: A year in cinema to write home about

2013 has been a banner year for cinema with a slew of quality pictures that makes you wonder how only nine got enough first place votes to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. Most of my favorites could have filled that elusive tenth spot for some added acclaim—whether having a chance to win or not. I hadn’t even seen a good chunk of these until the calendar flipped to 2014, the sheer amount of winners was too vast. And after only awarding three films a 10/10 rating last year,…

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Picking Winners at the 86th Annual Academy Awards

The Oscars are generally quite boring, since we often know well in advance what is going to win Best Picture, Director, etc. But this year? Not so much. Sure, there are heavy favorites — see below. But it is entirely possible there will be some real surprises. Of course, I could be completely wrong. But if I am, hopefully Bill Altreuter and Jared Mobarak will be right. And away we go … —Chris Best ActorBruce Dern: NebraskaChiwetel Ejiofor: 12 Years a SlaveMatthew McConaughey: Dallas Buyers ClubLeonardo DiCaprio: The Wolf of Wall StreetChristian Bale: American Hustle…

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Posterized Propaganda January 2014: The Top 10 Movie Posters of 2013

“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. Despite being another year of blockbusters and animated fare begging for bland character sheets and Photoshop montages, 2013′s movie posters were surprisingly creative artistically. A bunch of the following images…

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REVIEW: 12 Years a Slave [2013]

“Stay safely” A label such as hero has lost its meaning of late. So ubiquitous today, it’s been rendered empty by being placed upon men and women who—while just, compassionate, and selfless—don’t quite reach the level of endured suffering for the word to earn its full weight. With America’s history possessing so much cowardice and hate, even some of its greatest legends can’t shake the damning facts which prove they’re less than the pristine pillars our books would like to tell. Yet in our darkest time—an era of unforgivable crimes…

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Posterized Propaganda October 2013: The Faces of ‘Gravity,’ ’12 Years a Slave,’ ‘The Counselor’ & 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. Not too many movies open up in October—and only one studio horror flick at that, despite Halloween. What’s the best way to sell tickets then? Star power. Celebrity faces are…

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