REVIEW: Kubo and the Two Strings [2016]

“Memories are powerful things” The narrator of Travis Knight‘s Kubo and the Two Strings demands us to look closely and never blink. His story delivers fantastical wonders and poignant metaphors concerning family, love, and traditions to uphold if not an archaic remnant of a lost time meant to be broken. We’re to pay attention because details are intentionally only thinly-veiled, alluding to discoveries Marc Haimes and Chris Butler‘s script shortly reveal. A mirroring of roles proves critical to the tale’s resonance, our own dreams as children coaxing the real world…

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REVIEW: The Dark Crystal [1982]

“The great conjunction is the end of the world! … Or the beginning.” I’ll say right now that a little fright never harmed my adolescence so kudos to Jim Henson for sticking to his guns in bringing “family film” and potential nightmare inducing adventure The Dark Crystal to life. Anyone who spied upon Brian Froud’s creature design should have been aware of how dark the proceedings would turn out, but you can’t blame surprise either considering the Henson name in 1982 was only synonymous with those cute characters known as…

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REVIEW: The Muppet Christmas Carol [1992]

“Heeeeyyy. You’re not Charles Dickens.” Not having seen The Muppet Christmas Carol in over a decade made me forget how effective an adaptation it is of Charles Dickens‘ classic tale. It helps that I’ve seen other iterations in the meantime, especially the one from 1951 starring Alastair Sim which Brian Henson‘s version works hard to closely mimic. There are obvious excisions such as Ebenezer Scrooge’s sister and additions like manufacturing Jacob Marley a brother named Robert so Statler and Waldorf can both get in on the fun, but for the…

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REVIEW: Muppets Most Wanted [2014]

“It’s not easy being … mean” Is it a coincidence the Muppet renaissance follows the same trajectory as its subjects’ original cinematic saga? 2011’s The Muppets was enjoyable if not a tad overrated due to its story mirroring many of the beats that made 1979’s The Muppet Movie a classic. Revamping its road movie trope perfectly suited the need to reintroduce these iconic figures to a new audience ready to realize the troupe’s potential as they reunited for the common goal of putting on the greatest show in their history.…

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Posterized Propaganda March 2014: ‘Noah’, ‘Nymphomaniac,’ ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel,’ ‘Enemy’ & 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. Has summer started early? Big blockbusters like Divergent, Noah, 300: Rise of an Empire, and Need for Speed are releasing in March—I guess they must therefore be the studios’ lesser…

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TIFF13 REVIEW: 2013 Short Cuts Canada Programmes

Programme 1 A far cry from the documentary short Joda—a visual letter to Jafar Panahi—that was included in the TIFF Short Cuts Canada Programme last year, graphic designer turned filmmaker Theodore Ushev’s Gloria Victoria is all about the visceral and aural capabilities of film without something as unnecessary as words. Full of sumptuous textured layers formed by sketch drawings, Russian Constructivist elements, what I believe were faces from Pablo Picasso’s Guernica, and more, the rising crescendo of Shostakovich’s “Invasion” from Symphony No. 7 helps spur on an emotive war in…

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REVIEW: Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey [2011]

“Kevin comes alive through Elmo” I was a Jim Henson kid growing up in the 80s. The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and “The Jim Henson Hour” were staples in my household and I even made my parents take me to see The Witches theatrically at eight. But where I enjoyed the stories and fantastical places his characters took me, Kevin Clash took a shine to the full theatricality of this genius. As a high school kid in Baltimore he hand-sewed his own puppets after watching Henson explain how on TV, performed…

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REVIEW: The Muppets [2011]

“Laughter, the third greatest gift of all!” If you saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall, it’ll be no surprise that Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller were chosen as the ones to bring The Muppets back to the big screen. Almost three decades since the last true Muppet movie besides their literary adventures after Jim Henson’s untimely death, it’s also not shocking that the two decided to base their plot around this lengthy hiatus. Years removed from the original “Muppet Show” that began in 1976, this new iteration begins by introducing us to…

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Posterized Propaganda November 2011: Too Many Characters!

“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. Hark! The holidays are upon us! While that signifies the beginning of what should be the glorious awards season flood of quality work only the lucky few of us attending…

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REVIEW: Alice in Wonderland [2010]

“Off with your head!” With a knack for creating imaginative worlds that can be both dark and colorful simultaneously, director Tim Burton seems like a natural fit to adapt the Wonderland of Lewis Carroll’s novels. However, for every inventive Big Fish or Edward Scissorhands come the atrocious re-envisionings of Planet of the Apes and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. So, let’s just say I was scared going into Alice in Wonderland because, while the setting and art direction seemed perfect, I couldn’t help remember how bad his work from pre-existing…

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REVIEW: El laberinto del fauno [Pan’s Labyrinth] [2006]

“My mother told me to be wary of fauns” Finally Buffalo is able to see the phenomenon El laberinto del fauno [Pan’s Labyrinth] for itself. All the hype and the acclaim have definitely raised expectations for this film by visionary Guillermo del Toro. For myself, I really just wanted to see a del Toro film outside of the Hollywood realm. Sure I liked both Blade II and Hellboy, but it’s the other Spanish language films, Cronos and The Devil’s Backbone, that have been intriguing me for years. After watching his…

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