REVIEW: Captain Marvel [2019]

I’m not what you think I am. With the snap of his fingers, Thanos made half of Earth’s population disappear. It was the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most harrowing climactic cliffhanger and it did possess an emotional response despite knowing most if not all of our beloved characters would find their way back before the war was officially over. With so many broken heroes, however, who could lead the necessary response? Tony Stark? Steve Rogers? No. When Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) saw what was happening, neither of them was on…

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REVIEW: Vox Lux [2018]

Simply put: it was a hit. America lost its innocence on 9/11. It wasn’t an overnight thing, though. The gradual degradation of humanity on an ever-shrinking global landscape stewarded us there as school shootings and terrorist attacks grew with their weak links towards violent videogames rather than an otherwise Puritan sense of sex being worse than murder. Our repressed selves fought against growing malaise until that day provided a scapegoat to blame. We turned our internal rage onto an undeserving people suddenly reduced to their worst and smallest faction so…

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REVIEW: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald [2018]

We mustn’t be what they say we are. Who is Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne)? This is an important question we have to ask while watching Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, one we didn’t during the entirety of Harry Potter’s adventures at Hogwarts and beyond. Back then we knew who our hero was because of the mark on his head. Potter was the child of prophecy, the fated vanquisher of the wizarding world’s greatest foe Voldemort. So we invested in him and his friends from the beginning. We willingly grew…

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REVIEW: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword [2017]

“We all look away” The magic has once again been returned to the lore of Excalibur in a way that brings it closer to World of Warcraft mysticism than Sword in the Stone trickery—for better or worse depending on your interests. I for one actually liked Antoine Fuqua‘s King Arthur from 2004, its decision to do away with the spells not wholly destructive to the very fabric of the myth like removing the Gods was to the debacle that is Troy (rather than an expertly placed hit, its ankle shot…

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REVIEW: Shopping [1994]

“Don’t get caught” I don’t know what it is about Paul W.S. Anderson, but I very rarely dislike his flicks no matter the critical consensus or fandom drubbings. He isn’t the best director out there but he has created some interesting vehicles despite it—enough to accept the fact that Hollywood studios will continue giving him money to make them. And even though it’s a far cry from the video game adaptations serving as his claim to fame, Anderson’s debut Shopping feels right at home alongside Resident Evil and Mortal Kombat.…

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REVIEW: Spy [2015]

“I’ve swallowed enough microchips and shit them back out again to make a computer” The Paul Feig/Melissa McCarthy train continues forward with James Bond spoof Spy after the box office successes of Bridesmaids and The Heat (with Ghostbusters still forthcoming). This installment sees McCarthy as the bona fide star, onscreen for practically the entire duration as CIA analyst turned field agent Susan Cooper. She’s been in the earpiece of top operative Bradley Fine (Jude Law) for so long that she’s probably saved his life more times than he’s killed people,…

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REVIEW: The Grand Budapest Hotel [2014]

“Who’s got the throat-slitter?” The films of Wes Anderson have always resided in some sort of parallel universe full of stylistic flights of fancy, but never has one been so completely defined by its fantasy than The Grand Budapest Hotel. His previous work exists to pay homage with stories filled to the brim by aesthetic flourishes and meticulously detailed set dressings that transport us into his familiar yet unfamiliar worlds. Rather than start with story as usual, however, his latest seems to have sprung out from its environment. This shouldn’t…

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REVIEW: Side Effects [2013]

“I killed the wrong person” Some people will go to great lengths to get their lives back and Steven Soderbergh’s Side Effects shows how far. It’s a crime thriller written by frequent collaborator Scott Z. Burns about a young woman named Emily Taylor (Rooney Mara) and the beginning of what should be a brand new chapter of her life that will hopefully mirror the one before her husband was imprisoned four years for insider trading. Finally released, Martin (Channing Tatum) promises to make up for lost time and ensure his…

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TIFF13 REVIEW: Dom Hemingway [2013]

“A peasant at heart—with good hair and a strong liver” After finding a ton of work on television recently, it’s good to see writer/director Richard Shepard back in theaters with Dom Hemingway. I’m a big fan of both The Matador and The Hunting Party for their infectious humor despite somewhat mainstream stories. So, learning his latest work centered around an extremely short-tempered, alcoholic safecracker just out of prison whose vain ego was no worse for wear got me excited at the prospect of him possibly going for broke. To a…

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REVIEW: Rise of the Guardians [2012]

“Merry Christmas! Happy Easter! Don’t forget to floss!” It was only a matter of time before someone turned our favorite holiday-bound mythical creatures into superheroes. Unsurprisingly it’s William Joyce who did. By no means a household name, he isn’t a stranger to the world of youthful fantasy with credited work as a conceptual artist (Toy Story and A Bug’s Life), television show creator (“Rolie Polie Olie”), and author of cinematic adaptations earning box office success (Meet the Robinsons inspiration A Day with Wilbur Robinson). His latest project coined The Guardians…

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TIFF12 REVIEW: Anna Karenina [2012]

“If you’re a good man you’ll forget everything” When TIFF director and CEO Piers Handling introduced the newest adaptation of Leo Tolstoy‘s Anna Karenina by saying director Joe Wright appropriately played up the theatricality of the novel, I wasn’t quite prepared for the blatant transparency where his stylistic approach’s artifice was concerned. As the camera lingers on a darkened stage covered by a place card to set the scene, I was blown away by the rising curtain uncovering a brilliantly conceived introduction to this TARDIS-like world much bigger on the…

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