INTERVIEW: Jalmari Helander, writer/director of Big Game

After finding success from his debut feature Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale—an expansion of a world he created through two previous shorts all released together by Oscilloscope—Finnish writer/director Jalmari Helander did what many European filmmakers do and went English-language for his sophomore effort. But he did so on his terms by once again writing his own script and recruiting familiar faces to act against the newly accessible stable of international stars provided to him. The result is action romp Big Game and it has the potential of turning even more…

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REVIEW: Big Game [2015]

“Life is just too damn short not to have a cookie when you want one” Despite being rated PG-13 in America, Jalmari Helander‘s Big Game should target audiences between 10-15 like Dan Smith’s Young Adult novelization of the film. Being a Finnish production—the most expensive in the country’s history—probably means it did just that abroad. Unfortunately Americans cringe at the sound of curse words reaching their children’s ears, forgetting how readily accessible they are at home on TV and otherwise depending on whether parents or siblings aren’t careful. The inclusion…

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REVIEW: Insurgent [2015]

“You have to forgive yourself” I don’t know which of the three writers credited (Brian Duffield, Akiva Goldsman, and Mark Bomback) on Insurgent is responsible for the complete overhaul of Veronica Roth‘s source novel, but I applaud him. If not for the retention of its characters’ arcs, one could argue the majority of this cinematic version is a wholly original work. Ultimately, however, Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four’s (Theo James) progression within the confines of a scorched Chicago is what gives Insurgent its identity. We as an audience and fans…

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REVIEW: Divergent [2014]

“Faction before blood” Like it or not, the twenty-first century has brought cultural alterations. For instance, the conversation about futuristic dystopias and/or social upheaval no longer includes 1984, Brave New World, or Fahrenheit 451. Our contemporary equivalents are now The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, and Divergent. They may not be at the same reading level, target the same demographic, or prove as smart and prophetic as the former trio, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t relevant or effective. All except for one thing impossible to ignore: their delivery method.…

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REVIEW: Thor: The Dark World [2013]

“I’ll just stay here and say ‘sea bass’ alone” There was something off with Thor in 2011 besides its horrid post-conversion 3D. While many believe Iron Man 2 was nothing but an evolutionary bridge for its hero to move closer towards what The Avengers needed, it was actually the Norse God of thunder who provided the most obvious bit of prequel exposition by introducing himself, extraterrestrial life, and that forthcoming blockbuster’s main villain, Loki. Captain America: The First Avenger also brought us a new character’s origin, but his story—like Tony…

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REVIEW: G.I. Joe: Retaliation [2013]

“You love my panties” I have to give Paramount Pictures credit as they saw what did and didn’t work in G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and sought a way to rectify their mistakes. Were they going to end up with a good film? No. Did they at least want to find a way to give audiences something to have fun with? Surprisingly, yes. G.I. Joe: Retaliation would make big bucks at the box office anyway—it would have probably made more before a nine-month 3D retrofitting delay. The question was…

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Posterized Propaganda October 2011: Faces Take the Spotlight

“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. Thank goodness for the fall season. Not only are the films better, but the artwork generally has its own yummy indie flavor too. Close-up faces covered by sans-serif text reign…

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REVIEW: Thor [2011]

“Unworthy of the loved ones you’ve betrayed” Considering the extent of my knowledge on Thor pertains to the fantasy that Vincent D’Onofrio was he in Adventures in Babysitting, you will not be getting any grand breakdown comparison of the film with the comics. I just don’t know anything about the source material, much like all the DC and Marvel films coming out the past decade—I simply didn’t start reading comics until college and by then it was just graphic novels. So my entry into the world of Asgard came from…

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REVIEW: The Other Guys [2010]

“Aim for the bushes” My loathsome attitude to ‘full-blown’ Will Ferrell is common knowledge with those who have been reading my reviews the past few years. He just has a knack to go too far and regress into a large, blithering child. It used to work with small supporting roles or comic relief parts such as in Old School, but once the American public grabbed hold, the joke wore thin when needing to sustain itself for a two-hour duration. But then something happened a couple years ago with Step Brothers.…

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REVIEW: The Book of Eli [2010]

“Stay on the path; it’s not your concern” Sometimes promotional material lets on to the truth. By watching the trailers for The Book of Eli, I became excited to see the film due to its stripped color palette, post-apocalyptic environment, and Denzel Washington’s insane fighting skills. For some reason, though, all those posters saying “Deliver Us” and the fact of it all centering on a book that’s more important than anything else left on earth—a weapon even—eluded me in realizing just how large religion would loom over everything. The Hughes…

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REVIEW: Punisher: War Zone [2008]

“Slipping through the raindrops” The original Punisher—I don’t mean the Dolph Lundgren installment—was one of those films that I saw, thought was ok, and subsequently forgot all about. It wasn’t bad and I like Thomas Jane, however, there was nothing in it that begged for a second viewing, nor the necessity for a sequel. With that said, we are talking Avi Arad and Marvel here, (or is it Marvel Knights as the new, pretty much the same, opening animated sequence shows), and if he can try his hand a second…

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