REVIEW: Rocketman [2019]

I’ll take care of the rest. When you have an icon like Elton John as your subject, the straightforward biopic formula simply won’t work. We know him as the flamboyantly dressed, rock star pianist with funny glasses and sequins who belts out songs that will either make you tap your feet or cry. And while that might have started as a façade to break free of Reginald Dwight’s introverted shell of shyness, he ultimately became this on-stage persona for real. The battles with drugs and alcohol alongside the constant media…

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TIFF REVIEW: Skin [2019]

This is what I have. Bryon ‘Babs’ Widner (Jamie Bell) hears the buzz of a faulty electrical connection, triggering a transition to an operating table and screams as the tattoos covering most of his body start being removed. It’s a soundscape that’ll have you squirming in your seat, the close-up shots of scar tissue replacing ink as physical a transformation as the act is metaphorical. Because the art adorning his face, neck, and torso isn’t some elaborate supernatural fantasy with family memorials—it’s a map to the blackest center of his…

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REVIEW: Nymphomaniac: Vol. II [2014]

“I’m a virgin. I’m innocent.” I had heard there was a drop off in quality with Nymphomaniac: Vol. II compared to the first half, but I wasn’t quite prepared for how far. A much crueler portion of the tale, the second part of Lars von Trier‘s sex epic is also more outlandish as new characters are introduced with cartoonish demeanors and old ones proven to seemingly evolve against everything we had already learned about them for no reason other than the filmmaker’s attempt to sensationalize. What makes this so unfortunate…

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REVIEW: 설국열차 [Snowpiercer] [2013]

“Is it time?” When talk surrounding the US release of Kar Wai Wong‘s The Grandmaster erupted in controversy about a truncated cut from the Weinsteins, cinephiles across the nation couldn’t help but let depression set in. Even so, no one could have been surprised by the decision because Harvey Scissorhands likes to streamline story for action whenever he can to trick American audiences into seeing a foreign film they wouldn’t otherwise care about. So when the same rumors started swirling around Bong Joon-ho‘s Snowpiercer, you had to fear for the…

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Posterized Propaganda June 2014: ‘Snowpiercer,’ ‘The Rover,’ ‘Venus in Fur’ & 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 no surprise a month like June doesn’t possess the best posters for blockbuster releases. No one readying to visit a theater for summer popcorn carnage cares if the advertisement…

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REVIEW: Man on a Ledge [2012]

“I can see his leg shaking from here” I’ll give TV movie scribe Pablo F. Fenjves light applause for hooking me during the first two thirds, but the real kudos go to documentarian Asger Leth and his ability to make even the implausibly contrived and impossibly far-fetched finale not take away from the entertaining little gem his fiction debut Man on a Ledge surprisingly ends up being. It’s convenient, convoluted, and pretty hard to stomach in terms of realism, but something about the acting and sporadic bits of humor kept…

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REVIEW: The Adventures of Tintin [2011]

“Only a true Haddock will discover the secret of the Unicorn” Considering I started conjuring images of an Indian sidekick named Hadji when first made aware of news Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson were directing a The Adventures of Tintin trilogy, my knowledge and therefore enthusiasm in the project was somewhat lacking. Once I put my head straight, removed any “Johnny Quest” infusions, and feasted on what looked like a gorgeous animated motion capture world, my interest piqued more. It wasn’t until watching the silhouetted credit sequence—recalling Spielberg’s Catch Me…

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REVIEW: The Eagle [2011]

“Please help me regain my father’s honor” The case of Kevin Macdonald’s The Eagle is one of preconceptions and a desire to sound important on behalf of critics. With below average notes across the board and an almost universal slamming of lead actor Channing Tatum, the biggest surprise to me watching was how much I enjoyed not only the stunning cinematography in dream sequences tinted amber and the kinetic masses of muscle, blood, and swords in frenetic fight sequences, but also the central performances of a Roman soldier and the…

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REVIEW: Jane Eyre [2011]

“We shall root out the wickedness from this small, ungrateful plant” No, the words from friends and family about the dry, dull, laborious task it is to read the Brontë sisters didn’t sway my desire to see Cary Fukunaga’s adaptation of Charlotte’s Jane Eyre. Between my adoration of the director’s previous effort, Sin Nombre; the uneasy, ethereal quality of tone and aesthetic of the trailer; and the drop-dead gorgeous poster, (yes, I do judge books by their covers), my ticket was punched long before acclaim showered down. Considering its publishing…

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The Most Anticipated Films of 2011

While Jon Favreau may say that 2011 looks to have a bloodbath summer on its hands with blockbusters galore taking 3D screens from each other, I’ll say right now that those aren’t the movies most intriguing me. Next year sees a return for Jack Sparrow, Lightning McQueen, Holmes and Watson, the Witwickys, Ethan Hunt, and, of course, everyone’s favorite Ghostface. Superheroes are king once more with Avengers, Mutants, and a delayed and beleaguered Black Beauty coming as well as our once beloved comedian Adam Sandler not only starring in a…

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REVIEW: Defiance [2008]

“We should have killed the milkman” A World War II film showing the Jews fighting against the Nazis? It seems like something that is so obvious a topic to portray yet I don’t think it has been done. We’ve been shown Jews surviving, staying strong and getting through the years through help from the resistance, compromising their values to stay alive, or just sheer good luck. With Edward Zwick’s newest wartime epic—the man is a pro at them ever since Glory—titled Defiance we get the unthinkable. Here is a ragtag…

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