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: Joy [2015]

“No, I don’t need a prince” There’s a reason you don’t hear “Mangano” throughout David O. Russell‘s supposed biography of Miracle Mop inventor Joy Mangano and it’s because Joy isn’t real. Whether original scribe Annie Mumolo intended this aesthetic—she reportedly fought tooth and nail to retain her credit—or Russell retooled its tone, what could have been an empowering rags-to-riches drama proves a hyper-stylized comic fairy tale instead. So when Joy’s (Jennifer Lawrence) attending a professional business meeting introducing herself to people she hopes will take a chance on her ideas,…

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REVIEW: Admission [2013]

“Thank you, sad lady” When your movie depends on its unorthodox relationship between star (Tina Fey‘s Princeton admissions officer, Portia) and central plot device (Nat Wolff‘s soon-to-be high school graduate dreaming of attending said college, Jeremiah) stemming from the very real possibility they’re estranged mother and son, it’s unsurprising to discover the world around them is a laundry list of eccentrically unique parents. Between her former live-in boyfriend leaving to have twins despite hating children (Michael Sheen‘s Mark), her feminist Bohemian mother who spent years trying to break free from…

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REVIEW: The Fighter [2010]

“I thought you were my mother too” It’s been a rough decade for director David O. Russell between highly publicized blow-ups with George Clooney and Lily Tomlin and his latest, Nailed, being shelved after financing fell through to the point he couldn’t finish filming. So, it is almost a miracle he was given the opportunity to even fathom helming Scott Silver’s scripted The Fighter once Darren Aronofsky backed away after having completed his own ‘fighting’ film with The Wrestler. And with the rave reviews from critics and audiences both, you…

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REVIEW: Gake no ue no Ponyo [Ponyo] [2008]

“Is he an evil wizard?” Being in Toronto for a convention that deals with anime meant I couldn’t leave the city without actually seeing an anime film, right? Lucky for us, the new Hayao Miyazaki film Gake no ue no Ponyo was playing at the local multiplex just minutes from our hotel. Distributed like his previous few films in the United States by Disney, from its Japanese Studio Ghibli origins, Ponyo ports the vision of its creator in beautiful animation and color with the inclusion of new Hollywood actors to…

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REVIEW: The Pink Panther 2 [2009]

“An odd, sexy brother in a dress” Hmmm. Does America really hate itself this much? I guess it does. I’ll start off by saying how I’m not much of a fan of Peter Sellers’ Pink Panther let alone watching Steve Martin laugh himself to the bank with a couple of remakes, (I did not see the first). But alas, I found myself in a theatre full of elderly people laughing and younger people walking out, (it was a free screening, I don’t much blame them), and I envied my two…

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REVIEW: I Heart Huckabees [2004]

“How am I not myself?” My favorite film of 2004, I Heart Huckabees, is one that cannot be easily classified. From the heady philosophy, to the comic genius, to the absurd surrealism, director David O. Russell has gone astray from the mainstream and crafted something that must be autobiographical as well as a passion project. Sure, as of late, there is all the talk about Lily Tomlin and he butting heads (the internet videos are fantastic, but my favorite is Paul Rudd and Michael Showalter doing their own version) and…

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REVIEW: A Prairie Home Companion [2006]

Being a huge fan of the movie whose name I stole for this post’s title and his more recent Gosford Park, I was ecstatic to see that Robert Altman had gone back to his layered dialogue and fly on the wall storytelling style with the new A Prairie Home Companion, (I haven’t seen The Company but it just didn’t strike me as the Altman I love). The film is a nice, poignant tale about the final show from Garrison Keillor’s ragtag band of misfits. What a crew they were: Keillor…

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