REVIEW: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker [2019]

Some things are stronger than blood. The return of Star Wars was always going to include a third trilogy because George Lucas had talked about his Skywalker saga being nine films way back in the 1980s. And since he eventually got chapters one through three on the big screen himself, it was guaranteed that Disney’s plans entailed pumping out chapters seven through nine. So why didn’t they game plan that arc? This isn’t like the Marvel Cinematic Universe where tenuous connections over ten films allow for multiple cooks to be…

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REVIEW: The Little Stranger [2018]

“Well you’re forgiven now” Novelist Sarah Waters said her intent with The Little Stranger was never to write a ghost story, but instead speak about the rise of socialism in the United Kingdom and how those of affluent stature just below the nobility dealt with the decline of their legacies in its aftermath. I haven’t read the book myself, but this all rings true as far as Lenny Abrahamson‘s cinematic adaptation. Scripted by Lucinda Coxon, the result is more gothic romance than horror at first glance. While the marketing has…

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REVIEW: Star Wars: The Last Jedi [2017]

“No one is ever really gone” If you ever saw a kids show during the Aughts you’ll be familiar with the educational tactic of repeating a message over and over again throughout an episode before repeating that episode each day of the entire week. This was a huge component of “Blue’s Clues” because it was proven to work. There’s no better way to ingrain a theme than by hammering it in until the viewer can no longer ignore it if he/she tried. But while this is an appropriate technique for…

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REVIEW: Goodbye Christopher Robin [2017]

“I’ve had enough of making people laugh. I want to make them see.” It begins with a letter—the kind that rips heart from chest. World War II is in full swing and the Milnes (Domhnall Gleeson‘s Alan and Margot Robbie‘s Daphne) are biding their time awaiting word from their son Christopher (Alex Lawther). They know what news arrives as soon as they see the mailwoman riding up their driveway, though. They know their son is gone. War claimed another innocent soul, an inevitability Alan experienced first-hand fighting the fight prematurely…

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BIFF17 REVIEW: Crash Pad [2017]

“You can’t outwit fun” Morgan (Christina Applegate) is drowning in a marriage on the rocks. Both her career and her husband’s (Thomas Haden Church‘s Grady) are booming—the time allotted to spend together often earmarked for something else. So they’ve drifted apart over the last fifteen years. Their sex life is non-existent and he’s away on business trips that “run long” more often than not. Why wouldn’t she assume he was therefore cheating on her? No reason besides a level of trust that appears non-existent in a day and age where…

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REVIEW: Star Wars: The Force Awakens [2015]

“There’s still light inside of him” First thing’s first: there’s probably spoilers in this review. Because let’s face it, anything besides me plainly stating that I loved it is construed as a spoiler to a fandom as intense as that of George Lucas‘ Star Wars saga. Will I go into lineages and deaths? No. Does J.J. Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan, and Michael Arndt‘s script seem to care about keeping such things secret in the context of this return adventure? No. But I’ll still leave it for their intuitive and refreshingly blunt…

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REVIEW: The Revenant [2015]

“As long as you can still grab a breath … you fight” If we’re to go by the setting of Michael Punke‘s novel The Revenant on which Mark L. Smith based his script—director Alejandro González Iñárritu gets a co-writing credit after coming onboard—the year is 1822 and the Central American frontier is loaded with fur traders pillaging Native American land, animals, and women. Captain Andrew Henry (Domhnall Gleeson) leads a band of men under the authority of his employer to procure pelts and return to camp with Hugh Glass (Leonardo…

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REVIEW: Brooklyn [2015]

“I’m not sure I have a home anymore” I believe a very crucial distinction should be made before going into director John Crowley and writer Nick Hornby‘s adaptation of Colm Tóibín‘s Brooklyn for those unfamiliar with the book. When I watched the trailer it appeared very much like an Oscar-bait romance with a firecracker love triangle between young Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan) and two men in Tony Fiorello (Emory Cohen) and Jim Farrell (Domhnall Gleeson). To a certain extent it is, but don’t get fooled into expecting swooning melodrama to…

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REVIEW: Ex Machina [2015]

“The history of man? That’s the history of Gods.” Artificial intelligence isn’t new. It’s in video games, toys, software platforms—most computer systems we interact with daily possess it in some capacity. The idea that one day someone will code a manufactured consciousness capable of becoming sentient, however, is still in the realm of science fiction. Already a well-worn trope, its implementation has seen resurgence of late. Not only is a new installment of Skynet’s war-torn future coming with Terminator Genisys, but “Person of Interest” has been ruling the cyber-thriller forum…

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REVIEW: Unbroken [2014]

“If you can take it you can make it” Universal Pictures has possessed the rights to Louie Zamperini’s life story since 1957 with good cause considering its scope spanning a troubled childhood, Olympic glory, and POW torture at the hands of the Japanese during WWII. Only when Laura Hillenbrand‘s mouthful of a book Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption came out in 2010 was traction finally found assumedly in large part due to her previous adaptation at the hands of Hollywood, Seabiscuit, earning seven Oscar…

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REVIEW: Calvary [2014]

“I’ve always found forgiveness to be underrated” I’m not a religious man—hell, I’m barely agnostic. I’m also not sure if that truth helps my finding John Michael McDonagh‘s Calvary as powerful as I believe it to be or simply evidence of it’s universality for both churchgoers and not. A reflection on faith, God, and ourselves caught within a present where destruction is immensely more prevalent than salvation, this story cannot help but touch you on the basest level of humanity to ask whether or not you can be better. It’s…

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