REVIEW: Ordinary Love [2019]

How do you say to someone, ‘Don’t die’? Cancer is so often equated with death that it’s no wonder most films work towards that result when dealing with the subject matter. Not everyone dies, though. Many discover it early enough to have it removed without the need for additional operations. Some are a bit further along and must therefore confront the prospect of chemotherapy as a deterrent from complications. It’s different for everyone and the pain endured will always be there, but cancer stories can also be about life and…

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REVIEW: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs [2018]

Well don’t let my white duds and pleasant demeanor fool ya. You know the whole enterprise will be a bit cheeky just by directors’ Joel and Ethan Coen‘s statement of intent. While explaining that their love for anthology movies stems from the format’s ability to unite multiple directors with a common theme, they admit their hopes of doing the same with a sextet of Western tales written and adapted over the years. Instead of lamenting the fact they couldn’t make it happen before deciding to direct everything themselves, the duo…

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REVIEW: Widows [2018]

This isn’t your world. When the first trailer for Widows dropped, I thought, “Steve McQueen is branching out to genre fare now.” This wasn’t a slight, just an observation. I obviously wanted to see it, but thought I could wait before the notes out of TIFF declared it a must-see. Suddenly I needed to reevaluate my perception of what this thing was behind its marketing push. Would there be more than just revenge and heist-based thrills? Would this be a slower burn a la co-writer Gillian Flynn‘s novels augmented by…

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REVIEW: The Commuter [2018]

“One little thing” If the timeline is to be believed, the fourth meet-up between director Jaume Collet-Serra and Liam Neeson entitled The Commuter was the result of the latter rather than the former. Byron Willinger and Philip de Blasi‘s story went through the hands of at least two other stewards as well as a rewrite by Ryan Engle before finally going in front of the cameras. So one could hypothesize Collet-Serra was brought in as someone familiar with the genre, tropes, and especially the lead actor to bring things home.…

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REVIEW: Silence [2016]

“An army of two” A labor of love twenty-five years in the making, Silence is tailor-made for Martin Scorsese‘s sensibilities as a person and director. Not only does it comment on faith and therefore his personal struggles being someone who contemplated going down the road towards priesthood, it also provides similar subject matter and plot progression to his most famous religion-based drama The Last Temptation of Christ. This epic journey is ostensibly the last temptation of Sebastião Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield), a Jesuit priest striving to cultivate Catholicism in Japan at…

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TIFF16 REVIEW: A Monster Calls [2016]

“You will tell me your nightmare. That will be your truth.” When your author and illustrator both win Carnegie and Greenaway Medals for the same book (it may still be the only time ever), you can bet Hollywood will come knocking. Even though the production is a joint effort between Britain (the majority of its cast) and Spain (The Orphanage director J.A. Bayona), it was Focus Features who scooped up the rights to Patrick Ness‘ A Monster Calls. The decision was a no-brainer without the accolades, its fairy tale proving…

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REVIEW: Keanu [2016]

“It’s like smoking crack with God” After the massive success of former “MADtv” comics Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key’s eponymous sketch comedy show “Key & Peele” it was only a matter of time before the duo would grace the silver screen together. It’s actually surprising that it’s taken this long (the Comedy Central property went for five seasons before being put on indefinite hold by the creators) considering Key is everywhere you look these days on TV and film. Peele is the one you don’t notice very much (and only…

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REVIEW: The Prophet [2015]

“And yet you rise above them unbound” After watching the animated cinematic adaptation of Kahlil Gibran‘s The Prophet and hearing his prose poetry read out loud, I can understand both the critical pause and public adoration it’s earned this past century. It consists of the kind of inspirational tales of flowery optimism that many love to read—enough so the book’s twenty-six essay-compilation has been translated into almost fifty languages and never been out-of-print since bowing in 1923. But this type of uplifting human condition rhetoric isn’t for everyone and personally…

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REVIEW: Run All Night [2015]

“Me and you” There’s something to be said about knowing exactly what you’re getting and Jaume Collet-Serra is proving consistent enough to deliver that promise through his films. Whereas Luc Besson spins a revolving door of directors to helm his actioners—mostly tongue-in-cheek, over-the-top fare (besides the original hit-maker Taken) he doesn’t deem worthy of his own eye behind the lens—Collet-Serra has carefully chosen a series of scripts from disparate scribes to supply him serious thrills with which to place his visual stamp. The common denominator between them being Liam Neeson…

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Posterized Propaganda June 2014: ‘Snowpiercer,’ ‘The Rover,’ ‘Venus in Fur’ & More

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. It’s no surprise a month like June doesn’t possess the best posters for blockbuster releases. No one readying to visit a theater for summer popcorn carnage cares if the advertisement…

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REVIEW: A Million Way to Die in the West [2014]

“Can you give Louise wrapped candies?” I do believe congratulations are in store for one Mr. Seth MacFarlane. After a successful animated comedy that survived cancellation; two follow-ups that never quite caught on with equal cheer; a bit part in the ill-fated “Flash Forward” as an actor; a ho-hum, neutered stint as Oscar host; and a brilliantly hilarious first feature that held infinite promise for what his cinematic future held, Seth’s time has officially come. I’m not talking about acquiring the fame to release albums of him crooning nor the…

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