REVIEW: King of Thieves [2018]

Stop talking shop. She’ll turn in her grave. It’s not about the robbery. King of Thieves wouldn’t be worth telling if it was just watching these senior actors ranging sixty-years old to eighty-five fictitiously accomplish the “biggest jewel heist in British history” since there obviously won’t be any foot-chases or complex wire-suspended acrobatics. No, the reason this tale (adapted by Joe Penhall from a Vanity Fair article by Mark Seal) proves interesting is due to the characters they portray. How do diabetes, incontinence, and hearing loss affect their chances of…

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REVIEW: Going in Style [2017]

“Everyone deserves a piece of the pie” Back before Martin Brest was placed into forced retirement post-Gigli, he had a run of comedy hits including Midnight Run and Beverly Hills Cop. The first of these studio pictures, however, was a heist flick starring eighty-year old George Burns, seventy-year old Lee Strasberg, and fifty-year old Art Carney as clean-nosed roommates inexplicably looking to rob a bank. The fun was in the preparation—a rejuvenated excitement in their lives. The drama came via a long, winding road of tragedy afterwards. So of course…

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REVIEW: Now You See Me 2 [2016]

“You may not be having fun, but I am” The problem with giving a film steeped in misdirection a sequel is that the mysteries have already been uncovered. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle to achieve the same success. Now You See Me had a great magic premise wherein the theatrical audience was as in the dark as the fictional audience attending The Four Horsemen’s performances. We knew something big was happening, but weren’t privy to the plan. We watched the intrigue, received truth from an illusion-debunker,…

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REVIEW: The Muppet Christmas Carol [1992]

“Heeeeyyy. You’re not Charles Dickens.” Not having seen The Muppet Christmas Carol in over a decade made me forget how effective an adaptation it is of Charles Dickens‘ classic tale. It helps that I’ve seen other iterations in the meantime, especially the one from 1951 starring Alastair Sim which Brian Henson‘s version works hard to closely mimic. There are obvious excisions such as Ebenezer Scrooge’s sister and additions like manufacturing Jacob Marley a brother named Robert so Statler and Waldorf can both get in on the fun, but for the…

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REVIEW: Youth [2015]

“Levity is an irresistible temptation” What strange beauty writer/director Paolo Sorrentino finds within the sadness of his palatial Swiss Alps resort’s inhabitants in Youth. The story plays like a surrealistic existential revelation—the aftermaths of each character’s crisis as they discover exactly who they are in the midst of tragic knowing. Age transforms bodies and minds into a monotonous amalgam of flesh and fatigue, years worn as wrinkles and memory gaps while ego remains untouched except by the grace of but a single reveler who truly gets who we are when…

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REVIEW: Kingsman: The Secret Service [2015]

“It’s a bulldog, innit?” I’m all for Matthew Vaughan continuing to jump from comic book property to comic book property. That’s not to say his debut Layer Cake was bad—on the contrary, I liked it a lot—he’s simply had a very successful run afterwards in the graphic novel realm spanning Stardust, Kick-Ass, and X-Men: First Class. Collaborating with Mark Millar hasn’t hurt either with his latest Kingsman: The Secret Service coming from the Kick-Ass creator’s pen. The pair plus screenwriter Jane Goldman have found a synchronicity for fun, entertaining action…

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REVIEW: Interstellar [2014]

“Who’s they?” Say what you will about Christopher Nolan, the man knows how to make resonate blockbusters. He knows movies—plain and simple. There has always been a power in cinema that hits us at an emotionally deep level, a window into our souls through the characters onscreen we have learned to cherish as though extensions of ourselves. Nolan appreciates this truth and has proven to possess an uncanny ability to tap into that universal consciousness despite using inherently obtuse stories rooted in scientific fantasy and actual theoretical physics the layperson…

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REVIEW: Last Love [2013]

“I’m an old fool, darling. Just an old fool.” Do not watch the trailer for writer/director Sandra Nettelbeck’s Last Love (formerly Mr. Morgan’s Last Love). For many that shouldn’t be a problem because like me they hadn’t known it existed until sitting down to watch, but I implore those who have to go in blind. Between its two-and-a-half minute runtime showing way too much information about certain relationship evolutions and its decision to end on one of the few jokey moments that somehow has descriptions putting the word comedy next…

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REVIEW: Now You See Me [2013]

“That’s a lot of excitement for a crime” As the characters in Louis Leterrier‘s Now You See Me love to say, the more you see the less you know. This is the line of deflection The Four Horsemen love to package as their neat and tidy rule, ignoring the constant, ever-apparent question magicians and illusionists have refused to answer since the first trick was performed: “How did you do that?” It’s a loaded query posited with full knowledge that understanding would only render the feeling of disbelief we hunger to…

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REVIEW: The Dark Knight Rises [2012]

“Sometimes the pit sends something back” **Potential thematic spoilers** The trailer for the aptly coined ‘epic’ conclusion to director Christopher Nolan‘s caped crusader trilogy—The Dark Knight Rises—says it all through an emotional exchange between Batman (Christian Bale) and Catwoman (Anne Hathaway). Lamenting in her trademarked selfishness that he doesn’t “owe these people any more” and he’s “given them everything,” she begs to run away from the anarchy ravaging their once great city of Gotham. He did his best, admirably failing. Having none of it, though, the billionaire playboy who molded…

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REVIEW: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island [2012]

“They will not stop until you feed them” After making a boatload of money—that’s the equivalent to one hundred millions dollars if you didn’t know—Journey to the Center of the Earth was almost guaranteed a sequel. Proving they could bring the fictional worlds of Jules Verne to life and somehow make it relevant to a bunch of kids barely able to put down their Smartphones long enough to read a magazine let alone a dense volume of literature, nothing would stop the studio machine from taking the plunge to Atlantis…

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