REVIEW: All Is True [2019]

Perhaps, to some, I was the lark. Sony Pictures Classics announced their deal to distribute Kenneth Branagh‘s latest All Is True after it had already been completed without the usual media fanfare surrounding projects with royal Oscar pedigrees such as one whose cast is rounded out by Judi Dench and Ian McKellen. You shouldn’t, however, be surprised to recognize this fact upon watching its often meticulously positioned frames of conversational exchanges with little to no camera movement. Alongside those longer elegiac shots of emotive gravitas are shorter ones devoid of…

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REVIEW: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King [2003]

“Some things are certain” It’s crazy how perception can be shifted over the years if your mind focuses on one specific attribute of something. I thought The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was the weakest of the trilogy after seeing it in theaters (and still do), but not by a lot. A big part of this was the fatigue of watching so many endings after a three-hour epic culmination of two previous films and two years of my life since finishing Fellowship of the Ring. And…

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REVIEW: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers [2002]

“Not idly do the leaves of Lorien fall” The second part of a trilogy is oftentimes the worst. It exists in a no man’s land without beginning or end, a bridge we must wait for and wait further to continue that cannot survive on its own. So it’s therefore a rarity when this chapter possesses the ability to tell its story in a way that allows for its own success while also augmenting the larger whole. J.R.R. Tolkien understood this when he wrote The Lord of the Rings. Even though…

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REVIEW: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring [2001]

“Keep your nose out of trouble and no trouble will come to you” Published in 1955, The Lord of the Rings would soon prove to be J.R.R. Tolkien‘s masterwork. It took him twelve years to complete, a project that began as a sequel to The Hobbit before morphing into its own adventure steeped in dark mythology as contained by The Silmarillion—a book he had hoped to publish alongside its account of the One Ring’s return from Gollum’s possession in the Misty Mountain and Bilbo Baggins’ pocket in the Shire. The…

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REVIEW: Beauty and the Beast [2017]

“Now find it in your mind’s eye and feel it in your heart” This latest Disney epoch consisting of live action remakes/re-imaginings of their classic animated tales has the studio utilizing a few different creative motivations. The best has thus far has been their ability to find ways to create something wholly new and better from the blueprints of those that didn’t age well (The Jungle Book‘s basic sing-along and Pete’s Dragon‘s archaic values). Then there’s the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” school with Cinderella wherein the filmmakers…

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Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2015

Below is my December 12th ballot for the 19th annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2015 calendar year. Group winners are highlighted in red. Best Picture #1 Inside Out . #2 Carol . #3 Spotlight . #4 Ex Machina . #5 Mad Max Fury Road #6 Brooklyn #7 The Revenant #8 Room #9 The Martian #10 Sicario Best Animated Film #1 Inside Out . #2 Shaun the Sheep Movie #3 Anomalisa . #4 The Peanuts Movie #5 The Good Dinosaur…

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REVIEW: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies [2014]

“One light, alone in the darkness” No matter how entertaining The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is—definitely the best of the trilogy—I still can’t shake the feeling that J.R.R. Tolkien‘s tale would have been better served as a two-parter. A lot of the added information director Peter Jackson and his stable of co-writers injected throughout the first two installments come to a head here amongst the end-to-end carnage and it does add more emotion and higher stakes albeit between characters who shouldn’t be included in this Lord of…

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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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REVIEW: X-Men [2000]

“What do they call you? Wheels?” It’s hard to believe-fourteen years gone-that X-Men was the comic book property used to usher in our current “golden age” of superhero movies. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised considering it’s probably the most relatable due to its being devoid of flying aliens, radioactive spiders, and Gods. No, short of Batman transforming the memory his parents’ murder into the life of a vigilante, mutants are the most “human” creation Marvel or DC has created (at least to someone with barely a cursory knowledge of…

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