REVIEW: Spider-Man: Far From Home [2019]

Please stop saying tingle. **There will obviously be Endgame spoilers.** It’s a post-“blip” world (the word humanity has agreed upon as a stand-in for the five-year period where half of world’s population disappeared at the snap of Thanos’ fingers) and the usual faces are gone. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) can no longer rely on Steve Rogers’ idealism, Natasha Romanoff’s loyalty, or Tony Stark’s genius as a last line of defense when Earth is challenged with a force the boots on the ground simply cannot handle. Captain Marvel is off…

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REVIEW: Velvet Buzzsaw [2019]

All art is dangerous. The underlying idea of Dan Gilroy‘s art world horror Velvet Buzzsaw is an intriguing one because it forces us to realize how extensive the profiteering branch patterns of one single canvased tree of paint are. There’s the artist seeking notoriety, the gallery owner providing it, the consumers catching a glimpse at exhibits, the pocketbooks of buyers, the curators banking on ticket sales after hopping onto the bandwagon, and the critics supplying exposure in return for clicks. And that’s just the main offshoots which themselves possess more…

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Top Ten Films of 2017

We pretty much knew last year’s Best Picture Oscars race was coming down to La La Land and Moonlight right after the completion of the Toronto International Film Festival in September. But while there’s something to be said about the strength of films able to ascend to frontrunner position, I can’t help loving the idea of heading into March without a clue as to who might win. Ask ten different critics what their favorite of 2017 is and I’d estimate hearing at least eight unique titles. There’s a level of…

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REVIEW: Wildlife [2018]

“I feel like I need to wake up” The start of Paul Dano‘s directorial debut Wildlife depicts a happy household of mother (Carey Mulligan‘s Jeanette Brinson), father (Jake Gyllenhaal‘s Jerry), and son (Ed Oxenbould‘s Joe). They’ve just moved from Utah to Montana so Jerry can work as a country club’s resident “pro”—a job allowing Jeanette to stay home rather than look for substitute teaching assignments while Joe attends high school. Their property is very modest, their neighborhood much the same. Joy can be felt within their walls as a simple…

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REVIEW: The Sisters Brothers [2018]

“Are you going to watch?” Many assumptions can be made during the opening scene of Jacques Audiard‘s The Sisters Brothers. It’s here where we meet the titular siblings (John C. Reilly‘s Eli and Joaquin Phoenix‘s Charlie Sisters) approaching a ranch with a clear warning of only wanting the man they’ve come to kill. A firefight ensues with gun blasts and light flashes in the distance until the camera pushes in on the two men storming the door to take care of those still struggling to breathe inside. They hear someone…

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REVIEW: Okja [2017]

“Very healthy!” I’m far from a vegetarian or a pet/animal lover, but I get the reasons why people would be both. And no matter how much I enjoy eating red meat, even I would have to draw the line when confronted with a “Meet your meat” type scenario. What purpose is drawn from such a stunt? Do you know what’s a good pig/cow/chicken from a bad one? Do you even get to choose or are you merely gazing upon the one selected for you? It’s one thing to eat another…

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TIFF17 REVIEW: Stronger [2017]

“I’m a hero for standing there and getting my legs blown off?” Peter Berg‘s take on unsung heroes Patriots Day is barely a year old and here we are with another Boston Marathon bombing film in David Gordon Green‘s Stronger. Rather than focus on the event itself, however, John Pollono‘s script turns focus squarely onto the shoulders of Jeff Bauman—the terrorist attack’s most recognizable victim. But while he could have easily minimized this man’s struggle into a generic fluff piece of Hollywood inspirational perseverance, he admirably highlights the darkness those…

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REVIEW: Life [2017]

“Its curiosity outweighs its fear” Calling Daniel Espinosa‘s Life an Alien retread is the easy thing to do. Both are tensely claustrophobic science fiction films with a violent extraterrestrial that’s loose and in search of the crew. But it’s also a very reductive comparison considering they are nothing alike beside genre conventions. The missions are different. The time period is different. And the creature’s motivation is as dissimilar as can be. Life also can’t help but stand apart on its own for one reason: it could actually happen tomorrow. We…

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REVIEW: Nocturnal Animals [2016]

“Sometimes it’s not good to change things so much” One movie stood out in 2009: fashion designer Tom Ford‘s unlikely directorial debut A Single Man. It had style to spare and amazing performances (Colin Firth‘s Oscar loss was vindicated a year later), but its emotionality was its greatest strength. Ford created this tragic whirlwind and found a glimmer of hope—a way out of the darkness to acknowledge there’s more life yet to live. That was the trait I looked forward to experiencing on a larger scale with his follow-up Nocturnal…

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REVIEW: Demolition [2016]

“She always said I didn’t pay attention” Sometimes we can’t realize we’ve taken the easy road until it’s too late. It’s crass to say, but Davis Mitchell (Jake Gyllenhaal) was lucky to have been abruptly slapped awake when he was. The unfortunate side effect of his rebirth from the doldrums of routine and convenience: the life of his wife Julia (Heather Lind). Suddenly she wasn’t there to smile at him or leave a Post-It note asking for a chore to be done and he’s inexplicably apathetic towards that truth. Not…

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REVIEW: Southpaw [2015]

“This is the talk you get when you lose not when you win” The origins of Southpaw are interesting because it was born from screenwriter Kurt Sutter‘s want to collaborate with Eminem. Now try to picture Marshall Mathers after peering upon any of the bloodied and crazed publicity stills of his replacement Jake Gyllenhaal without laughing. Sutter has said the boxing aspect of the script was meant as a metaphor for the rapper’s personal struggles and the fight for his daughter is exactly that. He hoped the project would prove…

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