REVIEW: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse [2018]

It’s just puberty. You have to hand it to Sony for thinking outside the box. Not long ago they had the number one cinematic superhero property with Tobey Maguire donning the Spidey-suit to take on the Osborns. They tried to strike gold twice with a new “Amazing” iteration starring Andrew Garfield, but the results simply couldn’t compete with the creative and financial gains Marvel proper had with their Disney-backed universe. So they buckled. They made the compromise they said they never would and allowed the Spider-Man character to become an…

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REVIEW: Private Life [2018]

Let’s get pregnant, shall we? At forty-one and forty-seven respectively, Rachel Biegler (Kathryn Hahn) and Richard Grimes (Paul Giamatti) are against the proverbial clock when it comes to having children. With her novel about to be published, his pickle business sustaining him after his successful off-Broadway theater troupe disbanded, and a rent-controlled New York City apartment keeping them warm, the time to finally make a go of it has arrived. But things aren’t going very well. Both have their reproductive organs called into question, the adoption process is moving at…

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REVIEW: Captain Fantastic [2016]

“Your mother is dead” When you look at the poster for Captain Fantastic—especially the bright red suit worn by Cash family patriarch Ben (Viggo Mortensen)—you can’t help conjure twee thoughts of Wes Anderson quirk and yet Matt Ross‘ sophomore feature is anything but. This film is instead rooted in a very strong sense of reality. Just because it may not be your reality doesn’t lessen the events occurring or decisions made. If anything they’re strengthened because you notice the choices your parents made and you’ve made as parents in this…

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REVIEW: The Family Fang [2016]

“Let this be your trumpet call: life is sweet so taste it while you still can” No one knows Nicole Kidman‘s strength as an actor quite like Nicole Kidman. It’s no secret that the choices she’s made post-Oscar win for The Hours have been somewhat questionable, but there was at least one fantastic gem in the mix. The film was Rabbit Hole, an adaptation by David Lindsay-Abaire from his own play in which she served as producer and lead. Not only was the work great, Kidman herself has rarely been…

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REVIEW: The Visit [2015]

“Swerve” It’s no secret that M. Night Shyamalan needed a winner after a string of box office and commercial failures. Firmly in the minority saying The Village and Lady in the Water are his two best—the former is one of my all-time favorites—my idea of his failings doesn’t necessarily coincide with the movie-going public, but I was relishing the thought of seeing what the embattled artist could do with a stripped-down, found footage horror. With reviews seemingly positive and financials proving lucrative at ten times the budget and counting, it…

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TIFF15 REVIEW: Len and Company [2016]

“Be good or be gone” Hearing how deeply a film touched its cast lends a certain air that might not normally be there. Len and Company has it as Juno Temple and star Rhys Ifans both exclaimed during their TIFF premiere Q&A how affected they were by director Tim Godsall and cowriter Katherine Knight‘s script. Shot at the former’s own home with a delicate touch of humanity, an abundance of humor, and the perfect pinch of dramatic gravitas, the film proves more than its conventional story presumes. We’ve seen its…

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REVIEW: The D Train [2015]

“Like lawn chairs” Calling The D Train a comedy is probably the most accurate description to bestow upon it, but the label doesn’t quite do it justice. I’m still wrestling about whether that’s because it’s more than a simple comedy or because it utilizes the genre so it can get away with a strain of insensitive humor. Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel‘s sophomore feature script (they wrote Yes Man) ultimately feels alternatingly exploitative and heartfelt. Each time they take a pitch-black turn to some heavy corners that force Dan Landsman…

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REVIEW: This is Where I Leave You [2014]

“Secrets are cancer to a family” Get ready because I’m going to throw some hyperbole your way. Here it is: This Is Where I Leave You is Franny and Zooey meets The Big Chill. Now hold on a second and let me explain. Jonathan Tropper is not J.D. Salinger and Shawn Levy isn’t Lawrence Kasdan. I know this because I’m not completely delusional. However, the comparison is still sound if you’re willing to take it with a grain of salt. The former work popped into my head straight away through…

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REVIEW: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty [2013]

“I always save your knick-knacks” What began as a 1939 short story by James Thurber debuting in The New Yorker, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty found its way to the big screen in 1947 led by Danny Kaye. The tale of a daydreamer losing himself in excitingly heroic fantasies while sleepwalking through a daytrip of chores in the city with his wife expanded into a magazine editor finding more interest in the pulp stories he reads than the drab life he leads. It’s a conceit mirrored today with Mitty…

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REVIEW: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy [2004]

“Rule number 1: No touching of the hair or face… AND THAT’S IT!” People have been telling me for almost a decade that Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy needs a second viewing to fully appreciate its genius. I’m happy to say they were correct. I watched it again last night and increased its score a whole point. That’s right, I still don’t get what you all do when it comes to writer/director Adam McKay and writer/star Will Ferrell’s first foray onto the big screen after collaborating on “Saturday Night…

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TIFF13 REVIEW: Bad Words [2014]

“I threw a tantrum just to get attention” Perhaps Jason Bateman is tired of playing the likeable voice of reason amongst more idiotic counterparts that his iconic turn as Michael Bluth on “Arrested Development” has typecast him into performing ever since the show’s debut launched his comeback into public consciousness. I’m not sure anyone can deny the fact that he’s played some variation on this character whether it’s Horrible Bosses, The Change-Up, or Identity Thief. The consummate straight man with unparalleled comedic timing, Bateman has finally found a role that…

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