TIFF19 REVIEW: How to Build a Girl [2020]

This bitch be paying rent. As a young girl with aspirations to write, journalist Caitlin Moran used her hippie homeschool upbringing to enter literary competitions with potential to open industry doors. The Observer‘s “Young Reporter of the Year” at fifteen eventually started her professional career the following year with Melody Maker and never looked back. Did she devolve into the nom de plume Dolly Wild to gleefully trash bands as DM&E‘s resident rock gatekeeper extraordinaire? No. But you have to imagine the opportunity to go that route was available. The…

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TIFF17 REVIEW: Brad’s Status [2017]

“Why are you competing at all?” Brad’s (Ben Stiller) son is about to embark on college. It’s the type of auspicious life marker to make anyone look back and question the journey they’ve taken thus far. Has Brad done enough? Lived up to the potential he felt he possessed? Or was he passed by? All of his old Tufts friends are rich, famous, successful, and/or happy—pure happiness unencumbered by the seemingly trivial struggles Brad faces daily. He isn’t poor, though. Nor destitute. If anything he’s on the cusp of breaking…

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REVIEW: Passengers [2016]

“Excellent choice” **Spoilers included** You’re traveling on a spaceship towards a distant planet in hopes of restarting your life anew with endless possibilities. The journey takes 120 years, your body in stasis to arrive the same age that you left. Let’s say something happens around the thirty year mark to cause an unknown malfunction that inexplicably wakes you with no way of returning to slumber. This massive ship is at your disposal—well, the areas accessible by your wrist bracelet’s discerning permissions and a crowbar—but there’s no one with which to…

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REVIEW: Nocturnal Animals [2016]

“Sometimes it’s not good to change things so much” One movie stood out in 2009: fashion designer Tom Ford‘s unlikely directorial debut A Single Man. It had style to spare and amazing performances (Colin Firth‘s Oscar loss was vindicated a year later), but its emotionality was its greatest strength. Ford created this tragic whirlwind and found a glimmer of hope—a way out of the darkness to acknowledge there’s more life yet to live. That was the trait I looked forward to experiencing on a larger scale with his follow-up Nocturnal…

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REVIEW: The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box [2014]

“Faithfulness will be your shield” There will never be a lack of literary fantasy adventures for ages 12 and up to transfer from page to screen. The question becomes whether the property is given access to a wealthy studio’s clout or one more reliant on word-of-mouth and existing fanbase to ease the transition. For Entertainment Motion Pictures, their grab at franchise caliber fiction comes courtesy of a trilogy written by British author G.P. Taylor that unfortunately secures little of those things. It appears the author’s first novel Shadowmancer is the…

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REVIEW: Admission [2013]

“Thank you, sad lady” When your movie depends on its unorthodox relationship between star (Tina Fey‘s Princeton admissions officer, Portia) and central plot device (Nat Wolff‘s soon-to-be high school graduate dreaming of attending said college, Jeremiah) stemming from the very real possibility they’re estranged mother and son, it’s unsurprising to discover the world around them is a laundry list of eccentrically unique parents. Between her former live-in boyfriend leaving to have twins despite hating children (Michael Sheen‘s Mark), her feminist Bohemian mother who spent years trying to break free from…

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REVIEW: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 [2012]

“Should I start calling you Dad?” **contains spoilers as far as its major difference from the book** I’m going to applaud The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 for two reasons. One, it signals what we can hope and pray will be the last adventure inside Stephenie Meyer‘s angst-ridden, melodramatic world of supernaturals—until the planned off-shoots/reboots being bandied about, of course. Two, it rather unsurprisingly proves to be the best of the series after three bloated, over-wrought filler films ruined the tiny bit of promise the original Twilight provided. But…

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Posterized Propaganda April 2012: Where Art and Commerce Meet

“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. There’s a good mix of work coming out in April and the posters do well to mirror such. I’m not quite sure how Chris Sparling could have his script for…

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REVIEW: Underworld: Awakening [2012]

“My heart isn’t cold, it’s broken” I like dark, sci-fi actioners and I’m unafraid to admit it. I’ve seen every Underworld and Resident Evil in the theatre and anticipate continuing that trend until their respective series die. My interest in each comes from different motivations, though. No matter how cheesy and overly stylish the vampire versus lycan war gets, it retains its intriguing mythology as a backbone to the carnage. On the flip side, Alice’s adventures against Umbrella ratchet up the aggression for non-stop fight choreography deflecting from the fact…

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REVIEW: Midnight in Paris [2011]

“Nostalgia is denial” Who knew Woody Allen could be so whimsical? I guess to ardent fans of the auteur, this question may seem ridiculous—either I’m uneducated to think he wasn’t or I’m oblivious to not realize he always was. Whichever side of the fence you fall on, nothing will deter my, quite possibly premature, musing that Midnight in Paris is my new favorite Woody film. I haven’t seen many, including barely any before Celebrity, (as in all his classics), but there is just something about this movie that put a…

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REVIEW: TRON: Legacy [2010]

“Like bio-digital jazz, man” It’s twenty years later and I’m still not quite sure how anyone would think a big budget blockbuster taking place inside a computer mainframe could feasibly be seen as profitable, yet Disney has done it once more. 1982 saw TRON unleashed upon the world with an aesthetic way ahead of its time and confounding language for anyone not a computer programmer. Somehow it gained a huge cult following and the studio held tight, always rumoring a sequel, until they could blow audience minds again. TRON: Legacy…

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