TIFF17 REVIEW: Professor Marston and the Wonder Women [2017]

“Fantasy is possibility” Many probably don’t know about the man who created Wonder Woman. It’s not a surprise considering the decades it took to finally bring the character to the big screen despite a popularity that rivals her male Justice League counterparts. He wasn’t just some writer cashing in on the superhero craze spawned by neither a successful run of Superman nor a rags-to-riches story of an unknown. No, Dr. William Moulton Marston was a psychologist, Harvard PhD, professor, and inventor of the lie detector. He was a feminist who…

Read More

REVIEW: The Fate of the Furious [2017]

“That’s a lot of ice cream and Tay Tay concerts” A new era in The Fast and the Furious lore has begun almost four years after original co-star Paul Walker passed away doing exactly what his character Brian O’Conner did in the films: drive fast. With his role shelved by retirement rather than death, the goodness Brian provided Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his band of miscreants remains in the background as an unseen sense of morality and justice. It lingers to bolster the group’s sense of “family” and togetherness…

Read More

REVIEW: Beauty and the Beast [2017]

“Now find it in your mind’s eye and feel it in your heart” This latest Disney epoch consisting of live action remakes/re-imaginings of their classic animated tales has the studio utilizing a few different creative motivations. The best has thus far has been their ability to find ways to create something wholly new and better from the blueprints of those that didn’t age well (The Jungle Book‘s basic sing-along and Pete’s Dragon‘s archaic values). Then there’s the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” school with Cinderella wherein the filmmakers…

Read More

REVIEW: The Girl on the Train [2016]

“I’m not the girl I used to be” I like unreliable narrators because it’s fun to witness actions unfolding without knowing whether anything onscreen is real. The person could be a liar, schizophrenic, a secondary source ignorant to pertinent facts, or simply mistaken. So I got excited upon learning of Paula Hawkins‘ The Girl on the Train and its lead Rachel (Emily Blunt). Here was a character who literally knew nothing but what she was told. A raging alcoholic prone to nightly blackouts, her reality becomes the stories told in…

Read More

TIFF15 REVIEW: High-Rise [2016]

“I think he’s lost his focus” As soon as the voice of Tom Hiddleston‘s Dr. Robert Laing was heard speaking narration above his weathered and crazed visage manically moving from cluttered, dirty room to darkened feverish corner, my mind started racing. Terry Gilliam‘s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas popped into my consciousness and then his Brazil after a quick title card shoves us back in time to watch as Laing enters his new concrete behemoth of a housing structure oppressively standing above a vast and still parking lot. Add…

Read More

REVIEW: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies [2014]

“One light, alone in the darkness” No matter how entertaining The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is—definitely the best of the trilogy—I still can’t shake the feeling that J.R.R. Tolkien‘s tale would have been better served as a two-parter. A lot of the added information director Peter Jackson and his stable of co-writers injected throughout the first two installments come to a head here amongst the end-to-end carnage and it does add more emotion and higher stakes albeit between characters who shouldn’t be included in this Lord of…

Read More

Posterized Propaganda October 2014: ‘Gone Girl,’ ‘Nightcrawler,’ ‘Whiplash,’ and 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. Say goodbye to summer. Tent pole season is over and the critical darlings have begun to pop up on the Fandango queue. October is still a weird month, however, since…

Read More

REVIEW: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug [2013]

“I could have anything down my trousers” There is a certain charm to the middle section of a book where characters met start to come into their own before the big climax. It’s a crucial section, one its bookends need to truly succeed. However, when a single work of fiction is stretched and divided into three acts, this portion will inevitably prove anticlimactic when isolated from the rest. Peter Jackson and company are sadly not immune to this truth while attempting to model J.R.R. Tolkien‘s The Hobbit after his Lord…

Read More

REVIEW: Fast & Furious 6 [2013]

“You wanna catch wolves? You need wolves.” It’s family reunion time in the Fast & Furious franchise as its creative team consisting of director Justin Lin and writer Chris Morgan expand the arc they began seven years ago with Tokyo Drift. The one installment without tough guy scowls from Paul Walker’s Brian or Vin Diesel’s Dom (although the latter did cameo), it’s out of chronological order existence had only since been alluded to via the continued participation of Sung Kang’s Han. Fast Five brought Brian’s old friends from 2 Fast…

Read More

REVIEW: Immortals [2011]

“Witness hell!” With the most recent forays into mythology coming in the form of a boring Troy and misguided Clash of the Titans, seeing the name Tarsem Singh attached to Immortals brought a smile to my face. Originally titled Dawn of War and War of the Gods before settling on its current name, the director sought to deliver a bloody epic in the style of a Renaissance painting—the flowing light of the Gods’ capes and fluid motion of action a real treat. And if you’ve seen his previous work The…

Read More

REVIEW: Blitz [2011]

“Do I look like I carry a pencil?” With a name like Blitz and the surly visage of Jason Statham on its poster, one would expect this British flick to be an action-packed romp with little plausibility. Surprisingly, however, Elliott Lester’s film is a straightforward criminal thriller using its star’s penchant for brutality as merely a character trait rather than a lifestyle. Hotheaded, temperamental, and never one to follow authority too closely, Statham is on the right side of the law this time. A Detective Sergeant going by the name…

Read More