REVIEW: Swallow [2020]

I did something unexpected today. Hunter (Haley Bennett) has never had control over her life. She’s tried her hardest to claim some, however, by giving away her love. She gave it to a mother who treated her like an afterthought compared to her siblings, a career in art that always found itself to be just out of reach, and the man (Austin Stowell‘s Richie) she walked down a matrimonial aisle towards despite his only ever seeing her as a prize—a possession for a shelf of conquests someone in his socio-economic…

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REVIEW: Rules Don’t Apply [2016]

“You’re an exception” Eighteen years after Bulworth and fifteen after Town & Country (his last time directing and acting for a feature film respectively), Warren Beatty returns to the big screen with a fictionalized biography of Howard Hughes forty years in the making. It’s a passion project and vanity project: two endeavors worthy of an auspicious return to the spotlight even if the latter isn’t always the best decision for retaining a renowned legacy. Will Rules Don’t Apply taint peoples’ image of him? No. It’s not going to mark any…

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REVIEW: The Girl on the Train [2016]

“I’m not the girl I used to be” I like unreliable narrators because it’s fun to witness actions unfolding without knowing whether anything onscreen is real. The person could be a liar, schizophrenic, a secondary source ignorant to pertinent facts, or simply mistaken. So I got excited upon learning of Paula Hawkins‘ The Girl on the Train and its lead Rachel (Emily Blunt). Here was a character who literally knew nothing but what she was told. A raging alcoholic prone to nightly blackouts, her reality becomes the stories told in…

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TIFF16 REVIEW: The Magnificent Seven [2016]

“It won’t sweeten, it’ll only sour” I’m at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to the new The Magnificent Seven despite going in thinking it’d be the other way around. Here I was anticipating that I’d be able to watch the film with a completely blank slate because I’ve never seen the 1960 version nor have I yet been able to sit down for what is surely one of cinema’s greats: Akira Kurosawa‘s Seven Samurai. So, pretending to be a true millennial that doesn’t realize movies were made before those…

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REVIEW: Hardcore Henry [2016]

“Don’t touch that. Emma-Jean is mine.” It’s not that it hasn’t been done before—it’s just never been done like this. Writer/director Ilya Naishuller rigged GoPro cameras to his cameraman/lead stuntman’s face and let the action fly because who needs trickery when you can literally jump into the fight? Hardcore Henry is a pedal-to-the-metal adrenaline rush adventure taken on by a half-man, half-robot mute resurrected from the dead to move hell and high water so his past life’s wife (Haley Bennett‘s Estelle) is kept safe from the financial benefactor of her…

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REVIEW: Kaboom [2011]

“Are you, like, gay or whatever too, or, like, normal?” Using a soundtrack as the score to a generation’s penchant for drugs, sex, and enlightenment, Gregg Araki’s Kaboom portrays a college of liberated psyches running wild to the sounds of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Cut Copy, The xx, and Interpol. It’s a collection of music that can define the new century’s beginning—one ruled by a youth without borders, without limitations, and without fear. But the songs don’t blare over the visuals, the characters don’t make blatant reference…

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