REVIEW: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse [2018]

“It’s just puberty” You have to hand it to Sony for thinking outside the box. Not long ago they had the number one cinematic superhero property with Tobey Maguire donning the Spidey-suit to take on the Osborns. They tried to strike gold twice with a new “Amazing” iteration starring Andrew Garfield, but the results simply couldn’t compete with the creative and financial gains Marvel proper had with their Disney-backed universe. So they buckled. They made the compromise they said they never would and allowed the Spider-Man character to become an…

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REVIEW: Tag [2018]

“Our friend is a psychopath and this is scary” The most memorable moment throughout Jeff Tomsic‘s Tag is the introduction of one of the five grown men engaged in a thirty-year game of trading who’s “it.” The player is “Chilli” (Jake Johnson) and he’s loudly smoking a bong while talking to his father, an aging man covered in tattoos readying for a turn. It’s not about what, but whom: Brian Dennehy. The venerable Brian Dennehy inexplicably came onboard a zany high concept comedy for less than five minutes of screen…

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REVIEW: The Mummy [2017]

“Death is a doorway and the past cannot be buried forever” A new cinematic universe is upon us—one I’m surprised took this long to materialize. The moniker is Dark Universe and it’s composed of all the classic Universal monsters from Dracula to Frankenstein to the Creature from the Black Lagoon as shepherded by producer Alex Kurtzman. The potential is immense with twenty-first century technology providing the studio a means to really up the ante on gore and horror, the possible connections between them possessing opportunity for exciting clashes or secondary…

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REVIEW: Jurassic World [2015]

“This will give parents nightmares” As all good sequels must learn, the key to success is delivering on the promise set forth by the original while also providing something fresh and improved. Just ask James Cameron, a master at the task, who injected action-packed life into both Aliens and Terminator 2: Judgment Day without negating or watering down the mythology still relevant beneath those newfound popcorn blockbuster sensibilities. Neither The Lost World nor Jurassic Park III did it. They decided to both reinvent the wheel and forget what the appeal…

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REVIEW: Drinking Buddies [2013]

“I am a bourgeois pig” I really liked Drinking Buddies and I’ll admit I wasn’t sure that would be the case. The Mumblecore movement has always been one that has eluded me—well, the early stuff at least since I have found myself enjoying what the Duplass Brothers have done post success—and the prolific Joe Swanberg comes off as a “love him or hate him” kind of auteur. But how could this thing go wrong with a cast of Olivia Wilde (Kate), Jake Johnson (Luke), Anna Kendrick (Jill), and Ron Livingston…

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REVIEW: Safety Not Guaranteed [2012]

“My calibrations are flipping pinpoint, okay?” Sweetly cute, subtly intelligent, and simply life affirming in the best possible way, Safety Not Guaranteed is the epitome of indie darling. Reminiscent to Chronicle from earlier this year, director Colin Trevorrow and writer Derek Connolly have really taken care to use genre clichés in a way that somehow makes them appear fresh. We’ve seen the reporter lying for a story only to end up falling for her subject. We’ve seen the misunderstood weirdo toe the line between insanity and the impossible to give…

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