REVIEW: The Assistant [2020]

What can we do? There will be people that walk out of Kitty Green‘s The Assistant with a confused shrug and that’s precisely the point. They will wonder why they just sat through an 80-minute distillation of a woman’s workday because they won’t have felt the drama or been able to read between the lines of what’s going on. Much like Matthew Macfadyen‘s human resources manager Wilcock, they’ll obtusely hide behind the veil of unsubstantiated assumption despite knowing that assumption is correct. Why? Because they’ve deluded themselves into thinking what’s…

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TIFF17 REVIEW: The Current War [2019]

“Star in a jar” A casualty of Harvey Weinstein’s downfall, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s thought-to-be awards-contender that was rushed for a lukewarm TIFF reception in 2017 finally sees the light of day. Retitled The Current War: Director’s Cut due to the director’s extensive revisions (thanks to producer Martin Scorsese’s contractual ability to block the other version’s release), the film remains narratively identical with effective pacing tweaks that fix some of what gave me pause two years ago. The most noticeable change is the slight increase in screen-time for Nicholas Hoult’s Tesla to…

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TIFF12 REVIEW: Anna Karenina [2012]

“If you’re a good man you’ll forget everything” When TIFF director and CEO Piers Handling introduced the newest adaptation of Leo Tolstoy‘s Anna Karenina by saying director Joe Wright appropriately played up the theatricality of the novel, I wasn’t quite prepared for the blatant transparency where his stylistic approach’s artifice was concerned. As the camera lingers on a darkened stage covered by a place card to set the scene, I was blown away by the rising curtain uncovering a brilliantly conceived introduction to this TARDIS-like world much bigger on the…

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REVIEW: Robin Hood [2010]

“We are men of the hood, merry at your expense” I’ll start this out with the truth: Robin Hood is not Robin Hood—and that’s not a bad thing. You’ll catch on very early once you realize the name Robin Longstride for Russell Crowe’s lead character isn’t an artistic change because it rolls easier off the tongue. No, the Loxley moniker does also exist; only it’s attached to King Richard’s right hand man, neck deep in the Crusades’ final hoorah. Throw in the fact The Lionheart himself dies within the first…

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REVIEW: Death at a Funeral [2007]

“My father was an exceptional man” And now it takes just three years for a remake of an English language film, that stays in its native language, to happen. Chris Rock may have gotten Neil Labute—it appears he has assimilated into the Hollywood machine for good now—to direct a new version, from the same screenwriter no less, but it is Frank Oz’s British Death at a Funeral that came first. Don’t be afraid of the accents and give the original a shot. I’ll admit that it gets pretty dark there…

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REVIEW: Frost/Nixon [2008]

“I let them down” Now if you want a film to show the problems of drinking and how it can ruin your life, Frost/Nixon could be it. I jest somewhat here because, of course, that is not what this story is about. However, if what is shown is to be believed, a drunken night of nerves and fear on behalf of Richard Nixon might have been his ultimate demise. After what had been a steamrolling of his interviewer, David Frost, basically reshaping his image and making he, recently disgraced and…

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REVIEW: Pride and Prejudice [2005]

“You have bewitched me, body and soul” Joe Wright’s Pride and Prejudice is a truly solid bit of filmmaking. I can’t say whether it is a good adaptation or not, being I have not read the novel nor seen the other film treatments, however, as a piece of work in its own right, it succeeds on all accounts. Gorgeous to look at, this debut shows all the signs of the greatness he was to achieve with this year’s Atonement. From multiple long takes, sweeping through the scenery, choreographed to perfection…

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