TIFF19 REVIEW: Bad Education [2020]

What we have works. How much would you spend on your child’s education? Lori Loughlin money? Or more working class parent utilizing public schools while voting Republican to keep taxes low? What’s so crazy about America is that the ethical gap between isn’t that large. We’re a nation priding ourselves on a lie about having the best schools because we’re blind to our own self-sabotage. The kids aren’t the only victims either when overworked/underpaid teachers and administrators are treated like dirt by delusional parents. The same parents that share uplifting…

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REVIEW: Missing Link [2019]

What chicken? With Laika CEO Travis Knight branching out to live-action on Bumblebee, it was only right that Chris Butler would carry the studio’s fifth feature film after the ambitious undertaking that was Kubo and the Two Strings (which the former directed and the latter co-wrote). Missing Link also becomes Butler’s follow-up to ParaNorman—my personal favorite from the stop-motion firm—and similarly stars a character that believes in what no one else does. Whereas Norman was sympathetic in his ability to speak with ghosts, Sir Lionel Frost’s (Hugh Jackman) quest to…

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TIFF REVIEW: The Front Runner [2018]

A lot can happen in three weeks. And so it began—sentiments that prove true only until the next example replaces it. We’re just two years removed from Donald Trump’s victory for president of the United States and already the art seeking answers about what went wrong and what went right have arrived. Much of it stems from finding a turning point to mark when the mainstream media started including tabloid fodder under the header of journalism, when politics shifted from the good of constituents and country to that of party…

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REVIEW: Logan [2017]

“Does she remind you of anybody?” Calling any X-Men adaptation a gamble seems stupid considering the mass appeal comic book movies still hold at the box office, but Hollywood has a way of making those sentiments true when artists start bandying about the R-rated label. The standalone Wolverine films have seen what shying away from that challenge does, the first (Origins) proving a misguidedly silly throwaway and the second (The Wolverine) ending up little more than wasted potential or perhaps a casualty of studio interference. We’ve seen seventeen years of…

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REVIEW: Deadpool [2016]

“Maximum effort” The fact Deadpool is in theaters should have fans and detractors of the superhero “genre” excited because it signals a burst of creativity within an otherwise stagnant artistic avenue. But don’t think it won’t still be a superhero movie. A lot of talk in the critical sphere revolves around how Tim Miller and Ryan Reynolds’ passion project “looks to subvert convention” yet “ends up just another comic book origin story.” Guess what? Deadpool is a comic book character. Just because he’s self-aware enough to mock his world’s tropes…

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REVIEW: Eddie the Eagle [2016]

“Come on, man. Be a wing of a bird.” I was a freshman in high school when we traveled to Lake Placid as part of an Earth Science field trip. One of our main stops was the old 1980 Olympic compound, the most exciting bit of which was the ski jump towers to get a sense of the height involved. What I remember most about the tour guide’s history lesson was his mention of it being the site where Britain’s Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards practiced before his bid at the…

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REVIEW: Pan [2015]

“Is this Canada?” For whatever reason the American public has been fascinated with “origin” stories attempting to give meaning to some of the most iconic adversarial relationships in literary and film history. It’s not enough for the Wicked Witch of the West to hate Glinda or Superman and Lex Luthor to be arch-nemeses—we need to see how those relationships devolved from friendship. Sometimes people just hate each other, though, and there doesn’t need to be an Oz the Great and Powerful or “Smallville” to explain how once-friends turn ugly. Ostensibly…

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REVIEW: Chappie [2015]

“I want to go home” I understand the general public not wanting to go as far into sci-fi as Neill Blomkamp goes with Chappie—although they loved the similar lengths of District 9—but it’s hard to believe the critical sphere has taken such a hard stance against it. Actually, maybe it’s not too difficult to believe after they’ve railed against it for months, anticipating a bomb due to the writer/director’s admittedly failed sophomore effort Elysium. In direct contrast to their relish at taking it down, I found it to be very…

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REVIEW: X-Men: Days of Future Past [2014]

“Mind the glass” If you have a storyline at your disposal capable of continuing two separate iterations of a single cinematic franchise simultaneously, you’d be a laughing stock not to take it. Credit Fox for seizing this opportunity to create something not even Marvel proper has dared to do quite yet. Would they have made the attempt had Star Trek not already used time travel in a way that didn’t completely alienate its summer blockbuster movie-going audience? I’d be interested to hear the producers’ thoughts on this because I’m not…

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REVIEW: X-Men: The Last Stand [2006]

“Same as the Professor: visiting an old friend.” I’m sad to inform you that X-Men: The Last Stand did not age well. Not that anyone called it great when it was released—it was little more than serviceable then—but boy does it falter when viewed in close proximity with the two stellar entries coming before it. I’d like to blame Bryan Singer for jumping ship to DC so he could helm Superman Returns or even Matthew Vaughn and his family issues preventing him from taking the reins. Heck, I’d love to…

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REVIEW: X-Men 2 [2003]

“Nature laughs last” This is the one—the superhero movie unequaled in the decade since. The Dark Knight comes close, but it’s hard to hold Christopher Nolan‘s trilogy on par with the rest when it exists as a beast all its own. Only The Avengers and Captain America: The Winter Soldier found a way to match its scale and precision, falling ever so short on the emotional depth chart. X-Men 2 is simply a perfect storm of everything you could want in a film let alone one steeped in comic lore.…

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