REVIEW: Jumanji: The Next Level [2019]

Wherever they may be. The first cinematic adaptation of Chris Van Allsburg‘s Jumanji brought the board game’s wild jungle environment to its players’ quiet suburbia for a crazy survival adventure. Jake Kasdan and company could have easily done the exact same thing again with their reboot/sequel hybrid Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle due to over twenty years having past since its predecessor’s release, but they chose to breathe new life into the property instead. And it worked beautifully to earn critical, creative, and financial success. They revamped board and dice…

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REVIEW: Dumbo [2019]

Let’s get ready for Duuuumboooo! We’re a long way away from 1941 and the days of pure frivolity in your animated films are over. That’s why Disney evolved their glorified sing-along The Jungle Book into a weighty dramatic adventure and why their sweet little flying elephant Dumbo can no longer sustain himself as a metaphorical hero teaching kids lessons about believing in themselves. There needs to be raised stakes and a bona fide antagonistic force to combat to hold our attention now. So screenwriter Ehren Kruger repurposes the original film’s…

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REVIEW: The Lorax [2012]

“I’m Frankenstein’s head on a spider’s body” I loved The Land Before Time when I was a kid. It was a cute story with memorable characters in a world full of dinosaurs that utterly fascinated me. I remember seeing it in the theatre, getting the plastic hand puppets from Pizza Hut, and eventually acquiring a VHS of the film through some other restaurant’s promotion. There was something about it that allowed for its message of friendship, love, and whatever else to come across without a shred of overt manipulation or…

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The 83rd Oscars recap through tweets …

@jaredmobarak • Oscar time … congrats to The King’s Speech … why bother with the show when everyone thinks they know the winner? The 83rd Annual Academy Awards ceremony was quite possibly its worst incarnation the past decade. And things finally seemed to be going the right way. Hugh Jackman was fun; Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin were lukewarm, but the show was fun; and Neil Patrick Harris is Neil Patrick Harris. NPH can do no wrong. Much in that vein, I thought the pairing of James Franco and Anne…

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REVIEW: Solitary Man [2010]

“Out there is nothing but possibilities” Have films embraced the ambiguous ‘does he or doesn’t he’ ending too often recently? I feel bad beginning with that question since I did actually like Solitary Man very much, but liking the whole doesn’t discount the fact that a contrived ‘conversational’ fade to black has gone from bold to clichéd in a short period of time. An easy device to end stories containing a central figure who reaches an epiphany on life, the viewer can contemplate what they saw and choose where they…

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REVIEW: When in Rome [2010]

“This marriage has a shelf life of a banana” Here is my call to arms people … go visit the Guggenheim Museum and donate money. After The International last year shooting up Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural wonder, New York City decided to get some more cash influx by allowing it to be showcased in this year’s rom-com crazy flick When in Rome. This film is by no means good—at all. However, that said, I laughed a whole lot. Once you leave the plot behind and start to just let the…

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REVIEW: Matilda [1996]

“Moby what?!” Leave it to the warped mind of Danny DeVito to take a Roald Dahl book and adapt it into a very enjoyable children’s film that has enough crazy fun for adults to watch as well. A very apparent passion project for him, DeVito stars as the father to the titular Matilda, the story’s narrator, (which is a bit confusing since the father neglecting her is also the one telling the audience about what she is doing, but it’s just the same voice, not the same character), and is…

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REVIEW: Nobel Son [2008]

“Crazy is just a choice” I admit that I love dark comedies. Something about the mixture of violence, thrills, and comedy just make a perfect amalgam of cinema to entertain my slightly off-kilter sensibilities. When I saw that the film Nobel Son was opening up at the local theatre, I vaguely recalled that the trailer seemed interesting and the cast recognizable. So I said what the hey? I think that the closest cousin I can manage to cull from memory would be the great, underrated gem Suicide Kings from a…

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Top 25 Films of 2002

(short and sweet and to the point; culled from watching 87 releases. constantly updated as i catch up to those i missed. click poster for review if applicable) #25: Spider directed by David Cronenberg #24: Scotland, P.A. directed by Billy Morrissette #23: Death to Smoochy directed by Danny DeVito #22: Catch Me If You Can directed by Steven Spielberg #21: The Good Thief directed by Neil Jordan #20: The Bourne Identity directed by Doug Liman #19: Narc directed by Joe Carnahan. #18: Equilibrium directed by Kurt Wimmer. #17: Confessions ofa…

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