REVIEW: Velvet Buzzsaw [2019]

All art is dangerous. The underlying idea of Dan Gilroy‘s art world horror Velvet Buzzsaw is an intriguing one because it forces us to realize how extensive the profiteering branch patterns of one single canvased tree of paint are. There’s the artist seeking notoriety, the gallery owner providing it, the consumers catching a glimpse at exhibits, the pocketbooks of buyers, the curators banking on ticket sales after hopping onto the bandwagon, and the critics supplying exposure in return for clicks. And that’s just the main offshoots which themselves possess more…

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REVIEW: Of Mice and Men [1939]

“I ain’t gonna say a word” We’ve all read John Steinbeck‘s classic novella Of Mice and Men and I believe teenagers will continue doing so in Middle/High School for the foreseeable future. What may change—and if memory serves me correctly might have already changed upon my turn at flipping the pages—is which cinematic version teachers show afterwards. As we move further and further into the twenty-first century I can imagine the numbers of kids intrinsically bored by the sight of black and white growing exponentially with each tick of the…

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REVIEW: Penguins of Madagascar [2014]

“Venetian blinded again” Is Penguins of Madagascar a total cash grab? Not quite. It’s one thing when a studio hones in on a successful franchise’s periphery character and deems it worthy of a spin-off by pretending it possessed enough depth to carry a feature of its own, but it’s another when the filmmakers embrace its appeal and simply expanded upon that element. Puss in Boots was painted as a hero to begin with and supplying him an origin wasn’t a giant leap past Shrek. The “cute and cuddly” penguins from…

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REVIEW: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy [2005]

“So long and thanks for all the fish” It took a quarter century for Douglas Adams‘ seminal work The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to hit the big screen, but it was worth the wait. Well, I’m probably not the authoritative word on such a statement considering the book series has rested unread on my shelf for the better part of ten years. As someone with no frame of reference to either it or the original radio play, though, I can say it’s a ton of British satirical fun showcasing…

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REVIEW: RED 2 [2013]

“I was very touched that you cried at my funeral” For DC Comics imprint Homage’s RED, screenwriters Jon and Erich Hoeber turned Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner’s original work into a surprise box office hit with an inspired cast of aged, former CIA operatives presently labeled “retired: extremely dangerous”. The goal with any successful comic book adaptation is then to greenlight a sequel in the hopes lightning will strike twice in a bigger and better way. Like many before them, however, the task of expanding on a winner is never…

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REVIEW: Warm Bodies [2013]

“God, we move slow” Who would have thought even fifteen years ago that 2013’s nerd culture would have at its pinnacle zombies and bacon? Seriously, who? While we have Ron Swanson to thank for helping keep the latter alive recently, Hollywood has been the former’s driving force. What used to be a vehicle to disseminate political satire and civil unrest in a world slowly devolving towards a wasteland of mindless automatons has now become a million dollar moneymaking machine. They are so ubiquitous that I’m baffled none ever showed up…

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REVIEW: Transformers: Dark of the Moon [2011]

“You all read ‘Humpty Dumpty’” When Transformers came out in 2007, it was all the rage. Nostalgia, explosions, over-the-top summer blockbuster laughs, and even a smidgeon of heart were thrown into Michael Bay’s ultimate orgasm of action, sex, and metal. It was fun despite its corniness and therefore left a desire for a sequel, one where we knew all the major players and could watch their continuing saga. But 2009 came and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen underwhelmed. I still maintain that if liking one means liking the other because…

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REVIEW: RED [2010]

“Did you vacuum?” My only knowledge of director Robert Schwentke was that he helmed the Jodie Foster vehicle Flightplan that didn’t interest me in the slightest and the sub-par adaptation yet very effective film version of The Time Traveler’s Wife. So, I wasn’t sure on whether his newest comedic actioner RED would end up being a hit or miss despite a couple of very fun trailers. Ends up Schwentke directed a couple well-received German language works to begin his career trajectory to Hollywood too, he isn’t just some hack brought…

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REVIEW: Where the Wild Things Are [2009]

“Will you keep out all the sadness?” A few weeks back I went into Barnes and Noble to acquire a novel with a friend. While she was in the children’s section seeking some Spanish books to use with her students I moseyed on over to the illustrated nook whereupon I spied Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are. Remembering the cover image and very little else, I decided to flip through the pages and refresh my mind before catching the new adaptation in theatres. Surprising to me, each spread contained…

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REVIEW: Burn After Reading [2008]

“His optometrist has a sense of humor” Last year’s No Country for Old Men showed the world that the Coen Brothers could make a great film. After a pair of not-so-good flicks, no one really cared about them, two creative geniuses that crafted some of cinema’s best black comedies of the 80s and 90s. Then came the Oscar winner, showing an attention to detail and precision pacing worthy of the accolades if not, in my opinion, the best film of the year. But it was so serious and unlike anything…

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REVIEW: Beowulf [2007]

“Sins of the father” Let’s start this out with the fact that my College Professor of World Civ had us read The Epic of Gilgamesh rather than the one adapted here with Beowulf. So, I went into the film without really knowing anything of the story besides the monster Grendel and the obligatory pride as a curse, creating your own demons, etc. As shown onscreen, it is obvious that the yarn is an ancient one. Besides the archaic traditions—Queens are inherited as the wife of all who take the crown?—it…

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