REVIEW: Chuck [2017]

“That guy could take a punch” Who is Chuck Wepner? It’s a legitimate question. I didn’t know—not that I’ve ever followed pugilism in my life. So when his story received the cinematic treatment from director Philippe Falardeau with the title The Bleeder, I honestly assumed fiction. Here comes another boxing movie about what’s assumedly a not-so-good fighter who bleeds like a sieve. Maybe it’ll be funny. But that’s not what Chuck (it’s theatrical name) is at all. No, Chuck Wepner is a real guy and was a real fighter. At…

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REVIEW: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them [2016]

“Worrying means you suffer twice” After seven books, eight movies, and a play, the Harry Potter universe has become an expansive property no one wants to see die. Pottermore kept the fandom alive online with exclusive stories and quizzes bringing you into Hogwarts while author J.K. Rowling‘s textbooks added flavor and raised over seventeen million pounds for charity. So it was a no-brainer when Warner Bros. asked her for more. The question simply became how to do it. How could you retain the level of excitement and wonder to acquire…

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REVIEW: The Book of Life [2014]

“Always play from the heart” I’ve held fascination for Día de Muertos ever since seventh grade Spanish class. There’s just something about its love for the dead and ability to turn something scary to so many into this beautiful cultural tradition that makes its juxtaposition of old bones and ornate artistry a uniquely special aesthetic. To say I was intrigued in Jorge R. Gutierrez‘s The Book of Life would therefore be an understatement. The colors, detail, subject matter, and music he infused seemed a perfect coalescence of style and substance…

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REVIEW: Crave [2013]

“Forgive me for the things I’ve done and the things I’ve yet to do” When you take a look at Charles de Lauzirika‘s filmography to see the myriad behind the scenes featurettes and home video productions he’s accomplished for the likes of Ridley Scott, David Lynch, and Mark Romanek, it’s no surprise that his directoral debut Crave would prove as dark as it does. Co-written by Robert Lawton, the story follows an increasingly deranged, freelance crime scene photographer as the rage-fueled fantasies in his head begin to crawl out into…

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REVIEW: Pacific Rim [2013]

“She’s starting to chase the rabbit” After watching two spec scripts get sold and ultimately fall through, Clash of the Titans scribe Travis Beacham finally breaks into Hollywood with an original vision in Pacific Rim. A futuristic look at our world on the cusp of annihilation by the claws of an alien species entering our realm via a wormhole over an underwater rift in our Earth’s crust, his tale is as close to a live action anime as we’re likely to get—complete with kaiju and mecha warriors fighting to rule…

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REVIEW: Alien: Resurrection [1997]

“You’re a beautiful, beautiful butterfly” An obvious predecessor to screenwriter Joss Whedon‘s revered “Firefly”, Alien: Resurrection breathes new life into a franchise that could have easily been left alone. Reviving the iconic Ellen Ripley through the hot button topic of cloning, his script found a way to coax Sigourney Weaver back with a uniquely dark spin on the character. Part alien, part human, and all Petri dish, ‘Number 8’ is cognizant of her former self’s rage against the xenomorphs two hundred years before while also acknowledging her role as mother…

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REVIEW: Drive [2011]

“There are no good sharks?” Part-time stuntman, part-time mechanic, part-time wheelman, and full-time brood—this is Ryan Gosling‘s Driver. He’s a man of few words with determination stamped on his face and a code of morals that exist inside a very murky gray area blurring the line between right and wrong when loyalty comes into play. A very cerebral actioner that harkens back to director Nicolas Winding Refn‘s Valhalla Rising more than Bronson, Drive lives up to its stature of incomparable cool. This thing is slick as hell, existing in a…

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REVIEW: Season of the Witch [2011]

“Ever get the feeling God has too many enemies?” Despite the random list of characters I’ve seen Nicolas Cage play—not to mention the almost infinite selection of those he could portray in the future—an armored knight fighting in the Crusades was not something I ever imagined to see him attempt. That malleable, chameleon-like hair of his doesn’t quite fit the 14th century, especially when juxtaposed with Ron Perlman’s brutish scowl for the duration. Watching the two very different actors joke before a fight about how the man with the least…

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REVIEW: Tangled [2010]

“Goldie, look at all the blood in his mustache” How long does it take to grow your hair so that you can use it with a pulley system to lift a person up a good hundred feet? Well, if Disney’s Tangled is to be believed, eighteen years. I don’t think it hurts having the golden locks also be magical; the whole ability to heal living creatures does lead you to believe it will constantly heal itself and not get dry, brittle, or manifest loose ends. But then that’s what happens…

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TIFF10 RECAP: The Festival In Photos, Tweets & Reviews

Another year done at the Toronto International Film Festival. It was a pretty uneventful trip into the city—besides a rogue Customs official’s 5 minute power trip before we reached the border—that saw a smooth two hour drive both to and from, a far cry from the parking lot car jams of a few short weeks earlier to hand in film picks for the advance lottery. 2010 saw its fair share of rain, the umbrella while waiting in line for Andrew Lau‘s screening of Jing mo fung wan: Chen Zhen [Legend…

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TIFF10: Day Three Recap

Day Three at TIFF was by far our craziest of the year—seeing five films back-to-back from 11AM to 2:30AM. The late start allowed for a bit of sleeping in for preparation, as well as a semi-lengthy breakfast at Timmy Ho’s, both of which probably kept us from falling asleep during the marathon sittings. And while the last two of the night finally saw a bit of humor infused into the otherwise heavy schedule of dramas that do take something out of you, the morning opened with what could have been…

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