REVIEW: Avengers: Endgame [2019]

I love you three thousand. The best thing Marvel ever did was split their Avengers 1.0 saga’s final chapter in two since it allowed Infinity War to deliver what no other entry could: stakes. Despite knowing they were always false due to the giant gauntlet in the room that literally bends time and space to its whims, they hurt nonetheless simply because we were forced to sit with those results for a full year before discovering how things might be put right. Had Anthony and Joe Russo conversely fixed everything…

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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: Wind River [2017]

“Don’t steer away from the pain” After watching his first two spec scripts find homes with established directors—Denis Villeneuve and David Mackenzie bringing those words to life beautifully in neo-westerns Sicario and Hell or High Water respectively—actor turned screenwriter Taylor Sheridan finally steps behind the camera with his latest Wind River. While not as complex as far as scope goes (locale and action), it definitely retains his penchant for subtle, twisty mysteries that reveal themselves only when absolutely necessary. Sheridan isn’t one to pull the wool over his audience’s eyes…

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REVIEW: Arrival [2016]

“A desire for more cows” While Arrival is very much a Denis Villeneuve film right down to the similarities between his lead Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams)—thrust into an overwhelming military-run situation and doing her best to hold it accountable—with that of Sicario‘s Kate Macer as well as a visually surreal callback to the much-talked about and deciphered conclusion of Enemy, you cannot deny its expert plotting courtesy of screenwriter Eric Heisserer. This is the guy responsible for B-level genre remakes A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Thing inexplicably…

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REVIEW: Captain America: Civil War [2016]

“Victory at the expense of the innocent is no victory at all” We’ve officially approached the apex of the Marvel Cinematic Universe wherein films cannot be about one single character anymore. The Infinity Wars being just around the corner means that time has been regulated. There’s an endgame as there always has been and the pieces must be put into position now. What made The Avengers so great was that its endgame was merely to put Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and…

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REVIEW: Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation [2015]

“Face your fate” It’s amazing what a few years can do for a celebrity’s image. From couch-jumping in love to rumors of getting written out of the fourth Mission: Impossible installment despite building the franchise to being the bell of the Hollywood Ball scaling the Burj Khalifa and now hanging from an Airbus A400M Atlas in flight without a stunt double, Tom Cruise epitomizes box office royalty. Hell, there’s even rumblings he’s trying to distance himself from Scientology now—but I won’t hold my breathe with that one. Whatever he does…

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REVIEW: Avengers: Age of Ultron [2015]

“It wasn’t a nightmare. It was a legacy.” He may not have been there at the start, but Joss Whedon stewarded the Marvel Cinematic Universe through its make or break stage. It was one thing to give the world high-tech flying fun via a sarcastic playboy, otherworld fantasy come to earth courtesy of a haughty royal, and the ‘aw shucks’ patriotism necessary for a bona fide WWII hero on their own terms. Bringing them together along with even more allies was anything but. Yet Whedon—fearless when it comes to delving…

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REVIEW: The Immigrant [2014]

“The things you do to survive” While we may not possess that ideal “good” so many want to believe is intrinsic to humanity, sometimes even the worst of us can at the very least find a shred of remorse. “Sorry” will never be enough, though. It never can. But that lapse of amorality unearthing contrition from the darkest of corners could unexpectedly ensure an end to the cycle of pain wrought by previous selfish desire. It won’t erase what came before, nor can it serve as penance for the horror…

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Top Ten Films of 2013: A year in cinema to write home about

2013 has been a banner year for cinema with a slew of quality pictures that makes you wonder how only nine got enough first place votes to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. Most of my favorites could have filled that elusive tenth spot for some added acclaim—whether having a chance to win or not. I hadn’t even seen a good chunk of these until the calendar flipped to 2014, the sheer amount of winners was too vast. And after only awarding three films a 10/10 rating last year,…

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REVIEW: American Hustle [2013]

“Don’t put metal in the science box” Director David O. Russell has said I Heart Huckabees was a transitional film for him wherein he took a break, took stock, and came back with the drive and enthusiasm for making movies that got him into the business in the first place. And even though the film is my favorite of his—an underrated gem of an existential comedy—I see his point and am grateful he found this second wind because he’s been rewarded with much-deserved critical acclaim, financial backing, and a level…

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The 85th Oscars recap through tweets …

@jaredmobarak • and the #Oscars begin … #[email protected] • SUCCESS!! Tommy Lee Jones smiles! #[email protected] • poor Don Cheadle #Oscars13 Welcome to the 85th annual Academy Awards from the newly renamed Dolby Theatre. Bankruptcy is a drag, ain’t it Kodak? Hopes were high after host Seth MacFarlane‘s surprisingly hilarious Ted made me wonder if the dude wasn’t the real deal after all. A poor man’s Ricky Gervais, the Academy was probably wise in going for the watered-down Americanized version of unbridled snark because one would think the “Family Guy” creator…

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