REVIEW: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring [2001]

“Keep your nose out of trouble and no trouble will come to you” Published in 1955, The Lord of the Rings would soon prove to be J.R.R. Tolkien‘s masterwork. It took him twelve years to complete, a project that began as a sequel to The Hobbit before morphing into its own adventure steeped in dark mythology as contained by The Silmarillion—a book he had hoped to publish alongside its account of the One Ring’s return from Gollum’s possession in the Misty Mountain and Bilbo Baggins’ pocket in the Shire. The…

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REVIEW: Loving [2016]

“You need to get you some civil rights” It took one viewing of Nancy Buirski‘s documentary The Loving Story to recruit Jeff Nichols into writing and directing a biopic of Richard (Joel Edgerton) and Mildred Loving’s (Ruth Negga) journey from newlyweds to Supreme Court precedent. But don’t think Loving is a courtroom drama. I’d estimate about ten minutes of its two-hour runtime take place inside a courthouse—fifteen if you count conversations outside its doors. Nichols instead decides to focus on the couple itself by creating a romantic example of a…

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TIFF16 REVIEW: Burn Your Maps [2017]

“The kid in the strange clothes said he gave birth to two goats” Many films deal with the aftermath of a family death by becoming about how their characters live with the pain—changing them into different people. Some distinctly show them living despite it instead. Rather than depict Connor (Marton Csokas) and Alise (Vera Farmiga) as the death of their baby girl just ten months prior consumes them, Jordan Roberts‘ Burn Your Maps portrays their desire to move on after their transformations are complete. They’re searching for a future they…

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REVIEW: The Bourne Supremacy [2004]

“It’s easy. She’s standing right next to you.” The idea that a sequel can best its predecessor is one that many people believe impossible save one or two exceptions to prove the rule. We’re talking The Godfather: Part II caliber stuff—prestige pieces with weight behind them for critical acclaim and box office success. So you may find me hyperbolic to say this, but I think The Bourne Supremacy belongs on this ultra short list. Don’t demean it by exclaiming how an action film doesn’t deserve to sit alongside a Francis…

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REVIEW: The Equalizer [2014]

“Change your world” It may be because I knew beforehand that Antoine Fuqua‘s The Equalizer was based on an old 80s TV show (from Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim), but it felt very episodic in a way that made it utterly boring. There’s that time Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) helps his coworker lose weight. That time he gives a troubled young prostitute a reason to smile. Don’t forget when he helps someone out of a jam with some corrupt cops. Or when he takes down a Russian mob syndicate single-handedly.…

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REVIEW: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 [2014]

“You still blow dry your hair every morning?” It’s time to embrace the comic aspect of comic book films. I’m sorry, but it is. Christopher Nolan‘s time on the Dark Knight Trilogy is over and while we’d like the comic genre’s big brother graphic novel to imbue the dark conflicted nature of an Oscar worthy film, it doesn’t necessarily mimic the medium’s tone. We’re talking costumed heroes fighting a rogue’s gallery of mutated baddies with special powers who wreak havoc, never die, and engage in a never-ending cycle so that…

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REVIEW: The Debt [2011]

“I’m not brave; I’m terrified.” Whether malicious or compassionate, actions have consequences. It could be your own guilt, justice being served, or the fear and paranoia of what may be coming your way—in the end, the past will rise to haunt you. This is a fact that John Madden’s The Debt uses in many different ways, cross-cutting between 1966 and 1997 with the wipe of the screen. We see the past and present of three Mossad agents and the mission they were ordered to complete, culminating in the glory of…

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REVIEW: The Bourne Ultimatum [2007]

“He just drove off the roof” I have never been one to shy away from saying that most action films do nothing for me. Most times they’re blatant vehicles to blow stuff up, show off sexy models, and throw any semblance of reality or intelligence out the window. With that said, however, the Bourne series has been fantastic. Doug Liman ushered in a new take on action by using a more cinema verite style, showing the fights in full force while making our super spy someone we can relate to…

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