REVIEW: The Wave [2020]

Reality’s a choice, maaaan. The first thing you need to know when entering director Gille Klabin and writer Carl W. Lucas‘ The Wave is that it takes a lot of liberties. The second thing is that doing so doesn’t have to be a problem. So much of what happens on-screen is born from convenience and ultimately has no explanation (if it even needs one) before playing its long-term role within Frank’s (Justin Long) hallucinogenic nightmare of an adventure. Just because he might get a handle on what’s happening to manipulate…

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REVIEW: Jay and Silent Bob Reboot [2019]

Hollywood … Florida? A lot happens in eighteen years. Look at Kevin Smith. While his daughter was born two years prior to Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, fatherhood had only begun. Then he moved away from the View Askewniverse (with varying success), started a podcasting career (spawning his weirdest movie to-date, Tusk), and suffered a heart attack that sparked weight loss and the overdue mending of burnt bridges. So while Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob’s (Smith) first journey to Hollywood wielded them as immature idiots with so little…

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REVIEW: And Then I Go [2018]

Ours is a group of two. The Columbine massacre happened in 1999. It’s crazy to think it’s been over twenty years because we seem to have a new school shooting every month now. And as they grew in prevalence, the conversation surrounding them shifted from tragedy to politicization. Gus Van Sant‘s Elephant arrived in 2003 as a poetic psychological display unconcerned with pretending to know answers. It documented the experience of this tragic event as an emotional confluence between troubled souls on both sides of the gun—the mundane taking on…

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REVIEW: Yoga Hosers [2016]

“It looks like a Vancouver hockey riot in here” You can’t fault Kevin Smith for having his heart in the right place. We can only blame his financiers for letting this True North trilogy crusade continue on with Yoga Hosers despite a short turnaround from script-to-screen neglecting the step of weighing its viability and worth against its vanity project underpinnings. Because that’s what it ultimately is: an excuse for the Depps and Smiths to have fun. We thought Tusk provided their escape, but that was merely the appetizer. The main…

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REVIEW: Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story [2004]

“So what are you dying from that’s keeping you from the finals?” I’m usually the guy who watches the trailer for a stupid raunchy comedy and instantaneously declares it unworthy of my time. For some reason, however, Rawson Marshall Thurber‘s Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story hit every mark necessary to have me believing it could actually be entertaining. I was unfamiliar with much of the cast save the three main leads—it introduced me to both Justin Long and Alan Tudyk—but something about the sheer absurdity of a major league, cable…

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REVIEW: Tusk [2014]

“I believe we’re all tea people” I want to dismiss Kevin Smith‘s second foray into horror as total bullshit. I really do. Not only was Tusk created on a lark because one of his and Scott Mosier‘s internet Smodcasts recorded them discussing a crazy Gumtree ad offering a room for rent if the lodger agreed to wear a walrus suit, but because the “ad” in question was itself a fictitious prank by poet Chris Parkinson. Smith’s listeners voted to have a film made out of the restructured, warped version of…

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REVIEW: Galaxy Quest [1999]

“Never give up. Never surrender.” What would happen if William Shatner were beamed into space for real—tracked down by a group of aliens indecipherable from the litany of cosplaying fans clamoring for his autograph at one of the infinite Comic Cons held around the nation? This is the question stuck in screenwriter David Howard‘s head as he put Galaxy Quest to paper in order to imagine the possibilities. A lush with a bigger head than when the titular show was on air, Jason Nesmith (Tim Allen) encourages fans with a…

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REVIEW: After.Life [2009]

“I wanted to love … I was too scared” Finding your father dead on Christmas Day when you’re only ten years old can have quite the effect on a person. Ever since that moment, writer/director Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo had feared death, unable to confront what it meant. So, to have this Warsaw-born and NYU/Tisch-educated woman create After.Life as her debut feature film, one shouldn’t be too surprised. In attendance at a screening during Buffalo’s Polish Film Festival, Wojtowicz-Vosloo told her audience that after four years total, 24-hectic days of shooting, and…

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TIFF10 REVIEW: The Conspirator [2010]

“Why did I fight for the Union if my rights aren’t assured?” The aftermath of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination hasn’t really been the subject of many films that I know of. Of course there is the whole Steven Spielberg Lincoln project that has been pushed back every year since its announcement, a starting date nowhere near close at hand, but while watching a depiction of his life should be interesting, the subject of his death is more so. Here was the first murder of a President, an event no one…

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REVIEW: Going the Distance [2010]

“Dan, take me to Berlin” Acclaimed director—and Buffalo, NY native—Nanette Burstein has finally made her way to the world of fictional film. After helming the documentary The Kid Stays in the Picture about producer Robert Evans, one could say she took a step towards narrative with American Teen, a real-life look into today’s high schools and just how close John Hughes got The Breakfast Club. I remember some talk about staging and scripting reactions to make it all more cinematically interesting, but whether true or not, the film was a…

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REVIEW: Planet 51 [2009]

“Sea monkeys dancing to the Oldies” There is a new competitor on the animated picture front. The Spain-based company Ilion Studios has thrown their hat in the ring with the new film Planet 51. Unlike some of the other upstart firms that have cropped up in the past decade, Ilion’s artistry is very much on par with Dreamworks and Fox, (no one can compare to Pixar, sorry), and surprised me with how clean and polished the animation was. A studio like this needs to find success early, however, in order…

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