REVIEW: The Invisible Man [2020]

Surprise. After the critical and financial debacle of Universal Studios’ attempted interconnected Dark Universe of “monsters” beginning with The Mummy, the decision to embrace a more independent mindset was inevitable. Considering his collaborations with James Wan (the Saw and Insidious franchises) utilized exactly that, it wasn’t shocking when newly placed producers Blumhouse reached out to Leigh Whannell to lead the charge. I don’t think it was his horror pedigree that earned him a meeting about reimagining H.G. Wells‘ The Invisible Man, though, since his last film Upgrade practically had an…

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REVIEW: Her Smell [2019]

I see the void of eternity. The public loves a good train wreck when it comes to rockstars. That notion of burning your candle on both ends to create music that lasts forever at the expense of a life snuffed out too soon carries the sort of romanticism you must give pause to in hindsight, though. Because is the art worth it? We aren’t simply talking about the suffering of one tortured soul when there’s everyone who ever loved them too: abused significant others, abandoned children, broken friendships, and helpless…

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REVIEW: Us [2019]

We’re Americans. If you’ve never questioned whether you’re a good person, chances are you’re not. That second-guessing of our actions and motivations is what makes us human—fallible creatures striving to be better and do right. Nobody wants to believe he/she is the villain in another’s story, so we generally find a way to learn and change upon discovering when we are. Some, however, don’t. Some discover the spoils of greed, lust, vanity, and the other seven deadly sins as too great to abandon. They spin a new yarn of self-sufficiency…

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REVIEW: The Old Man and the Gun [2018]

I know what I’m doing. Finding an occupation you love is rare when familial and financial responsibilities often dictate a path towards compromise. It’s therefore hard to let one go. Just ask Forrest Tucker, a career criminal in and out of prison since age fifteen whose life consisted of planning his next bank robbery or jailbreak depending on his mailing address at the time. The guy broke out of San Quentin at the age of 70 and then went right back at it for the sheer joy of the act…

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REVIEW: The Square [2017]

“Do you want to save a human life?” You always hear labels like “before its time” or “of its time,” but what about “beyond its time?” The latter is the phrase I would use to describe Ruben Östlund‘s Palme d’Or-winning (Cannes) The Square because everything it tries to say in a “pay attention before it’s too late” way doesn’t realize it’s already too late. This idea that our world has turned from one where adults could rely on others for communal protection and safety to one where strangers regardless of…

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REVIEW: Chuck [2017]

“That guy could take a punch” Who is Chuck Wepner? It’s a legitimate question. I didn’t know—not that I’ve ever followed pugilism in my life. So when his story received the cinematic treatment from director Philippe Falardeau with the title The Bleeder, I honestly assumed fiction. Here comes another boxing movie about what’s assumedly a not-so-good fighter who bleeds like a sieve. Maybe it’ll be funny. But that’s not what Chuck (it’s theatrical name) is at all. No, Chuck Wepner is a real guy and was a real fighter. At…

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TIFF15 REVIEW: High-Rise [2016]

“I think he’s lost his focus” As soon as the voice of Tom Hiddleston‘s Dr. Robert Laing was heard speaking narration above his weathered and crazed visage manically moving from cluttered, dirty room to darkened feverish corner, my mind started racing. Terry Gilliam‘s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas popped into my consciousness and then his Brazil after a quick title card shoves us back in time to watch as Laing enters his new concrete behemoth of a housing structure oppressively standing above a vast and still parking lot. Add…

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TIFF15 REVIEW: Truth [2015]

“Don’t forget to eat” There’s a real issue with the media and how they have monetized news content over the past couple decades. Robert Redford has a great monologue as Dan Rather in James Vanderbilt‘s Truth speaking on the subject of “being there” when the switch was flipped. The film’s unsurprisingly very much interested in exposing this fact—despite our already being keenly aware of it and a majority of Americans preferring the sensationalism bred in the aftermath to actual investigative journalism—in the background of an exposé detailing Rather and more…

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FANTASIA14 REVIEW: The One I Love [2014]

“It’ll give you a chance to reset the reset button” My plan is to not share any huge spoilers where The One I Love is concerned, but just saying that pretty much provides one by admitting there are spoilers to be had. So, like I said with another sci-fi gem this year entitled Coherence, don’t read anything at all if you want an unblemished experience. Honestly, that should be the way you enter all art—at least the ones worth watching due to their having substance above empty theatrics spoon-feeding audiences…

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Posterized Propaganda August 2014: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy,’ ‘Sin City,’ ‘Starred Up,’ 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. 2014 soldiers on and the poster selection just gets worse. Luckily the films themselves haven’t been as uninspired. Or maybe they have. After all, this summer is down almost 19%…

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REVIEW: Top of the Lake, Parts 1-3 [2013]

“You know, you were my first kiss. Was I yours?” A young boy on a bus—this is the indelible mark left by the first three episodes of Jane Campion and Gerard Lee‘s miniseries Top of the Lake and it sticks less than five minutes in. Anonymous throughout these three hours of crime drama, this boy is the only one who seems to care about twelve-year old Tui (Jacqueline Joe) after she walks into their small New Zealand town’s cursed lake. His text “R U OK” goes answered as she is…

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