REVIEW: A Hidden Life [2019]

We lived above the clouds. With notoriously long post-production periods due to his uniquely poetic editing style, Terrence Malick‘s three-hour WWII romance A Hidden Life may have actually benefited from its three-year delay as far as thematic relevance to current events is concerned. As a rising tide of fascistic totalitarianism takes hold of world governments (including partisan blindness in the United States), a rarely told story like that of conscientious objector Franz Jägerstätter becomes more important than ever. While it might have been lost in 2016’s shuffle, seeing it now…

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TIFF17 REVIEW: Du forsvinder [You Disappear] [2017]

“We just want to make sure you’re well enough” What if it was an established fact that free will as a concept was dictated by our body’s chemistry? Every decision we think we’re making is really made implicitly by our organs—more correctly, they are dictating to our brains what it is we want. That shopping spree for things you don’t need? That affair with someone you don’t even like? You can’t control either impulse if you truly wanted to because your hormones and biological imperatives in those specific moments have…

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TIFF15 REVIEW: Colonia [2016]

“You may never get back out” It’s amazing how many horrific acts mankind has initiated over the past century. With all the coups, wars, dictators, etc. it’s impossible to find a country devoid of at least one historically heinous blight. Chile under Augusto Pinochet certainly had its fair share, but I never heard of the prison camp/cult commune Colonia Dignidad. Run by a “godly” savior in Peter Schäfer (Michael Nyqvist), this community guarded by an electrified fence and segregated between men, women, and children became his state-run playground. He took…

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REVIEW: John Wick [2014]

“I’d like a dinner reservation for twelve” If ever there was a film you truly cannot judge by its cover, John Wick is it. We’re talking an action flick about a retired assassin played with stoic Zen by Keanu Reeves (the titular Wick) going on a killing spree against Viggo Tarasov’s (Michael Nyqvist) Russian mob syndicate because the crime boss’ son Iosef (Alfie Allen) stole his car and killed his dog. Sure there’s more emotional heft to this catalyzing event to not think Wick is entirely off his rocker with…

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REVIEW: Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol [2011]

“And I’ll catch you” I remember so much talk about whether or not Tom Cruise was being forced out of the Mission: Impossible series and how Jeremy Renner was cast to either replace him or be ushered in as the new team leader in subsequent films. Well, after watching Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and seeing ‘A Tom Cruise Production’ in big, bold white letters, I’m thinking it’s a pretty safe bet to say the franchise is still his to do what he may. Kudos to him if true, I’m…

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REVIEW: Luftslottet som sprängdes [The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest] [2009]

“You have been one of the most entertaining patients I’ve had in a long time” While The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was by far the most captivating and unique of the Millennium Trilogy’s installments, the final two—as a pair—officially and successfully close the story of Lisbeth Salander. We’ll never know exactly what author Stieg Larsson was setting out to do with this opus, nor if it was truly complete as a trio, but as films from director Daniel Alfredson, The Girl Who Played with Fire and Luftslottet som sprängdes…

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REVIEW: Flickan som lekte med elden [The Girl Who Played with Fire] [2009]

“You treat your friends like dirt. Its as simple as that.” Taking place more than a year after we’ve left Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace) and journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Flickan som lekte med elden [The Girl Who Played with Fire] begins with two halves of a sprawling story soon to bring them back together. For the first two-thirds, I’d almost say one doesn’t have to watch the first installment of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy because this entry has its own case of…

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REVIEW: Män som hatar kvinnor [The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo] [2009]

“They always think I’ll show mercy” There is no better director in Hollywood to helm Stieg Larsson’s Män som hatar kvinnor [The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo] than David Fincher. It is the perfect mix of Zodiac’s journalistic detecting and Se7en’s dark, religious-based murders. I can only see one problem—Niels Arden Oplev has already brought an adaptation to screens and it is every bit as good as it can be. Would Fincher bring someone uniquely his own to the project? For sure he would, and I’ll admit that I eagerly…

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