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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TIFF18 REVIEW: Mid90s [2018]

I don’t kiss and tell. The summer between middle school and high school is a formative one for any kid. There’s this sense of moving away from childhood and towards young adulthood—of needing to act older to fit in considering the pecking order has restarted with you down at the bottom. Factor in a sibling who’s already gone through this transition (living to remind you of this fact with his penchant for brutal abuse you’re too naïve to realize is his own insecurity seeking an easy target to work out…

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REVIEW: Logan Lucky [2017]

“Did you just say cauliflower to me?” The story is as follows: Steven Soderbergh—while on hiatus from feature films (previously known as retirement)—received a script from a mutual friend of his and screenwriter Rebecca Blunt (who might not be a real person). He fell in love with its stripped down Ocean’s 11 feel devoid of the posh financial backing robbing casinos needs and knew he’d regret handing it off to a recommended contemporary instead of helming it himself. Soderbergh therefore sat on this hillbilly heist gem until his show (“The…

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REVIEW: Alien: Covenant [2017]

“One wrong note eventually ruins the entire symphony” I was in the minority with Prometheus in 2012, declaring its brilliantly nuanced story diving beneath its genre conventions as the best entry in the Alien franchise since the original. It was spirituality-tinged science fiction whereas Ridley Scott‘s 1979 classic was character-based horror with palpable emotion-laden terror. Both were disparate worlds that fit together if not reliant upon each other. Scott found this new success in large part to screenwriter Damon Lindelof and the decision to scale back Alien references so that…

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REVIEW: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them [2016]

“Worrying means you suffer twice” After seven books, eight movies, and a play, the Harry Potter universe has become an expansive property no one wants to see die. Pottermore kept the fandom alive online with exclusive stories and quizzes bringing you into Hogwarts while author J.K. Rowling‘s textbooks added flavor and raised over seventeen million pounds for charity. So it was a no-brainer when Warner Bros. asked her for more. The question simply became how to do it. How could you retain the level of excitement and wonder to acquire…

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REVIEW: Steve Jobs [2015]

“Computers aren’t paintings” Despite being an Apple guy from way back playing with LOGO the turtle in grade school before eventually swapping out MacBook Pros every five years or so from college on, I never really cared who Steve Jobs was beyond the kindly looking genius in a black turtleneck. To me the appeal was ease of use—I embraced the closed system Aaron Sorkin’s script readily attributes to Jobs—and the design. How can you not love the packaging, look, and logo during the Jobs 2.0 era? It’s impeccable. Whether or…

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REVIEW: Inherent Vice [2014]

“Something Spanish” While no stranger to comedy, writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson had yet to go full screwball as he does with Thomas Pynchon‘s Inherent Vice. I shouldn’t say “full” considering the laughs are desert dry and delivered with the utmost severity, but laugh-out-loud wouldn’t be an out of question turn of phrase to utilize if your sensibilities are keenly attuned to its acquired tone. Think Chinatown on acid with twists and turns and leads run hot that ultimately point nowhere; the end arriving with a few periphery issues resolved and…

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