REVIEW: It Chapter Two [2019]

We all need to remember. When last we left Derry, Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgård) had fallen to his presumed death after a brawl with the Losers Club in his sewer lair. What we didn’t see as he slipped out of view were the Deadlights extinguishing—those bright beacons of insanity that caused countless children to “float” as this centuries old evil fed upon their fear. In the moment, however, these seven brave kids couldn’t think that far. To them this victory meant survival and the final time they’d be…

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REVIEW: Dark Phoenix [2019]

What did you do to her? Hollywood franchise filmmaking really is a frustrating system insofar as allowing good source material room to breathe. That’s not to say it doesn’t sometimes work too, though. Look at Twentieth Century Fox’s cinematic X-Men saga for instance. After hitting a comic book high with X2, the desire for more bombast coupled by a much blunter director (Brett Ratner replaced Bryan Singer, who jumped ship from Marvel to DC) saw X-Men: The Last Stand seemingly destroy all hope of ever seeing this iteration of these…

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REVIEW: Glass [2019]

Why are we the only ones? It began nineteen years ago with a tale about emotional and physical duress—byproducts of tortured lives being led by purportedly “great” men too defeated to reach their full potential until circumstances reveal the power possessed within. M. Night Shyamalan was playing with the notion of superheroes walking the thin line between reality and fantasy. He sought to show how quick humanity is to explain away the impossible as quite ordinary, reducing those leaning upon the former into victims of delusion. Through Unbreakable‘s David Dunn…

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REVIEW: Becoming Jane [2007]

Are there no other women in Hampshire? I had never seen Julian Jarrold‘s Becoming Jane before today and yet my constantly being hit with a sense of familiarity while watching made me question that truth. The reason stems from the fact that screenwriters Kevin Hood and Sarah Williams crafted their tale of young Jane Austen fifteen years before her first novel (Sense and Sensibility) was published to unfold as though it was Pride and Prejudice. They’ve based this reading of Austen’s life on letters written to her sister Cassandra about…

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REVIEW: Atomic Blonde [2017]

“This is the game” It’s hard to believe that I was thinking the stylish, punishing action of John Wick was being dismantled upon as its stuntmen-turned-directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch deciding to go solo two years ago. Stahelski would helm John Wick 2, the result proving a worthy follow-up both in aesthetic and mythology (with more coming). Rather than join him, Leitch shuffled over to Kurt Johnstad‘s adaptation of Antony Johnston and Sam Hart‘s graphic novel “The Coldest City”—a project he and Stahelski were supposed to migrate towards after…

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REVIEW: Split [2017]

“In the sun we find our purpose” It doesn’t get better than The Village where M. Night Shyamalan is concerned. That film was a perfect confluence of his screenwriting and directing capabilities, a tale of love and protection through drastic measures as metaphor for the struggles of parenthood steeped in heavy emotion and guilt without regret. A marketing campaign billing it “horror” ruined any chance for success with audiences unwilling to look past the auteur’s penchant for twists. Its target demographic is perhaps still unaware of how much they’d enjoy…

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REVIEW: X-Men: Apocalypse [2016]

“And from the ashes of their world, we’ll build a better one” At a certain point Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) understands his pupils need more than just help controlling their powers in the X-Men universe. They must also learn to fight. He and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) had no choice but to battle forces of evil in X-Men: First Class and in Days of Future Past the real war was fought in the future with a team of soldiers already formed decades after a thus far unseen origin. Professor X,…

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Posterized Propaganda September 2014: ‘The Zero Theorem,’ ‘The Boxtrolls’, ‘Eleanor Rigby,’ and More

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. It’s festival season time—a time when I scour the internet for posters of films I’ll be seeing at TIFF only to come up empty-handed for a lot. That’s okay, though,…

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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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Posterized Propaganda May 2014: ‘Godzilla’, ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2′, ‘Maleficent’ & More

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. Is it officially Summer yet? Blockbuster poster campaigns for Spidey, Magneto, Godzilla, and Seth MacFarlane would lean towards yes. Buy your popcorn and candy now because we’ve got computer generated…

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REVIEW: Trance [2013]

“Strawberry” What began in 1994 as a script screenwriter Joe Ahearne wished to turn into his feature film debut, Trance was sent to Danny Boyle in hopes the Shallow Grave helmer would give him the thumbs-up to follow his cinematic footsteps. Boyle instead told Ahearne the piece would prove too difficult for a first-time director, causing the newcomer to gravitate towards television in the interim and create the critically acclaimed “Ultraviolet”. Upon its success, however, Ahearne went back to that original script and turned it into a TV movie he…

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