REVIEW: Sorry to Bother You [2018]

“More like apples and the Holocaust” If you’re still unsure about whether capitalism brought the United States to its current position with extreme political divisiveness and the fallacy of what’s left of the “American Dream,” rapper-turned-writer/director Boots Riley is here to break it down via a debut as satirically sound as it is insanely, absurdly surreal. The film is Sorry to Bother You and it was born from the artist’s own time as a telemarketer wherein success forced him to change who he was to earn higher sales. By putting…

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REVIEW: The Post [2017]

“Quality drives profitability” Let’s be real: every Steven Spielberg film is a must-see, hype-driving machine. He’s a cinematic giant who rarely chooses a project to direct without extreme enthusiasm and artistic purpose (whether the result proves timeless or not). But no one could be blamed for letting excitement crescendo higher than usual upon hearing about his latest, The Post. Still in the midst of post-production on Ready Player One, Spielberg chose to drop everything while the visual effects artists did their thing to put Liz Hannah‘s script in front of…

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REVIEW: Pitch Perfect 2 [2015]

“And there are the props” A surprise hit from 2012, Pitch Perfect was more than hype. It was good. Good enough for a sequel? Sure. I was excited to see what might happen until the trailer dropped. Boy did that thing look like a train wreck attempt at capturing lightning in a bottle by mimicking the original with supposedly higher stakes (but really just bigger scale/budget). Why deal with a capella at a collegiate level again when you can expand internationally? Because small was a proven success, that’s why. It…

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REVIEW: The Arrested Development Documentary Project [2013]

“I like that guy, Mitch” Something had to suffer once the critically acclaimed and criminally under-watched television comedy “Arrested Development” was announced to be in production with new episodes courtesy of Netflix. That victim is Jeff Smith’s The Arrested Development Documentary Project. Completed in 2012 from interview footage filmed before the show’s phoenix-like rebirth (a trailer was released on the movie’s website back in 2009), what was to be a posthumous love letter is now merely a glorified DVD extra of actors and writers talking about their connection to and…

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REVIEW: It’s a Disaster [2013]

“The conversation is real Glenn. The problem is hypothetical.” Even though the Mayans and 2012 have passed, filmmakers still appear utterly fascinated by the end of the world and our reaction to it. I’m not talking post-apocalyptic tales occurring years later—Oblivion or After Earth—I mean true “end is nigh” stuff like Rapture-palooza, Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, or This is the End. This is where true, unadulterated introspection is possible, when our feelings lay bare without threat of consequence since in a few short hours nothing…

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REVIEW: Kung Fu Panda 2 [2011]

“Tell those musicians to play some action music because it is on” The phrase sophomore slump wasn’t just coined out of the blue; it is a very real description for a good number of sequels overall, but especially the realm of cinema. Very few follow-ups to praised work ever earn a place to be mentioned beside their predecessors let alone become deemed a step above. And the attempt gets even harder when you’re dealing with animated children’s fare—the Toy Story films a grand exception—since most end up languishing in direct…

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TIFF10 REVIEW: 127 Hours [2010]

“This rock has been waiting for me my entire life” If there is anyone working in or out of Hollywood that I would give a fighting chance at making a cinematic adaptation of the perilous, claustrophobic entrapment of hiking enthusiast Aron Ralston, it’s Danny Boyle. His track record is impeccable, his artistic vision constantly evolving and morphing to fit the genre or subject he’s depicting, and his co-collaborators, be they writers or actors, are never lacking in the same dedicated fervor as he. So, walking into the sold out crowd…

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REVIEW: Kung Fu Panda [2008]

“Can you handle the crazy feet?” Pixar is where it is at for me animation-wise in Hollywood. Maybe that makes me a snob, but something about their films resonate on a level that the others can’t even begin to touch. Sure Shrek and Madagascar are funny, but besides the off-belly laugh, they are kind of shallow and hollow. With that said, I went to check out Dreamworks new foray into computer graphic cinema, Kung Fu Panda. Admittedly, I knew very little about this thing other than the fact that Jack…

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REVIEW: I’m Not There [2007]

“Tangled up in blue” Across the Universe is not the only film this year to use a musician’s work as the backbone to a story. Todd Haynes has used the life and music of singer Bob Dylan in order to composite a tale of his many selves in I’m Not There. I know little about the director, besides the names and accolades thrown towards his previous two theatrical works, and besides liking Dylan’s songs, I’m not privy to a huge wealth of information on him. There were some rudimentary tidbits,…

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