REVIEW: X-Men: Apocalypse [2016]

“And from the ashes of their world, we’ll build a better one” At a certain point Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) understands his pupils need more than just help controlling their powers in the X-Men universe. They must also learn to fight. He and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) had no choice but to battle forces of evil in X-Men: First Class and in Days of Future Past the real war was fought in the future with a team of soldiers already formed decades after a thus far unseen origin. Professor X,…

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REVIEW: Spy [2015]

“I’ve swallowed enough microchips and shit them back out again to make a computer” The Paul Feig/Melissa McCarthy train continues forward with James Bond spoof Spy after the box office successes of Bridesmaids and The Heat (with Ghostbusters still forthcoming). This installment sees McCarthy as the bona fide star, onscreen for practically the entire duration as CIA analyst turned field agent Susan Cooper. She’s been in the earpiece of top operative Bradley Fine (Jude Law) for so long that she’s probably saved his life more times than he’s killed people,…

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REVIEW: This is Where I Leave You [2014]

“Secrets are cancer to a family” Get ready because I’m going to throw some hyperbole your way. Here it is: This Is Where I Leave You is Franny and Zooey meets The Big Chill. Now hold on a second and let me explain. Jonathan Tropper is not J.D. Salinger and Shawn Levy isn’t Lawrence Kasdan. I know this because I’m not completely delusional. However, the comparison is still sound if you’re willing to take it with a grain of salt. The former work popped into my head straight away through…

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Adult Beginners [2015]

“What? Never seen a kid in a suitcase before?” No one is ever going to say Ross Katz‘s Adult Beginners is original. The opening implosion for Jake’s (Nick Kroll) multi-million dollar investment project was done in Elizabethtown, his frightened guilt in not being there when his mother died of cancer is Garden State, and the estranged sibling relationship between he and sister Justine (Rose Byrne) is a trope used countless times each year. It’s a comedy about familial struggle with a bunch of adult “children” trying to find a balance…

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REVIEW: Neighbors [2014]

“We should go Mom tipping later” After respectively writing and directing a short film that dealt with a manchild living in a storage unit who befriends one of the employees in hopes to stay, Brendan O’Brien and Andrew Jay Cohen have decided to go a bit less high concept with their feature screenwriting debut. But while the quirky setting may be gone, the theme of surviving the suburban boredom of adulthood is not. One could say Neighbors is an evolutionary reworking of American Storage‘s concepts as the duo polishes things…

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REVIEW: I Give It a Year [2013]

“I’d ruin Bieber” Clumsy and cute—that’s my concise review of regular Sacha Baron Cohen collaborator Dan Mazer’s directorial debut I Give It a Year. It’s actually a perfect embodiment of the central marriage for which the bride’s sister indifferently declares the titular sentiment. They bore each other in equal measure while providing the one thing they each thought they desired. Josh (Rafe Spall) is the type of security Nat (Rose Byrne) covets at this time in her life and she is the perfect woman he’s been bred to want through…

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TIFF12 REVIEW: The Place Beyond the Pines [2013]

“Your skill set? Very unique.” Retaining the gritty authenticity of his lyrically heartbreaking Blue Valentine, Derek Cianfrance‘s new insanely ambitious look into the nature versus nurture equation feels much smaller than its reality. It would be easy to say The Place Beyond the Pines gives us too much to process in too contrived a way, but I believe that would be too quick a judgment. Shifting character focus three times, the film will have you wondering if it would have worked better with an earlier ending. But then you’d miss…

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The 84th Oscars recap through tweets …

@jaredmobarak • Shut up Ryan Seacrest … Like the studio isn’t going to reimburse you. Cry about it #Oscars12 And with a little Bisquick, the 84th Annual Academy Awards show began before the camera even entered the Kodak “Chapter 11” Theatre. The is he or isn’t he banned from the show star of The Dictator, Sacha Baron Cohen, did what he does best by getting interviewed in character and causing a scene. Ryan Seacrest appeared to be enjoying the joke of it all and remained quite amiable until the comedian…

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REVIEW: Insidious [2011]

“Last night I watched myself sleep … then I flew away” Ever since James Wan and Leigh Whannell collaborated on what became a franchised sensation in Saw, expectations for the two were high. I haven’t seen their second film, Dead Silence, but I do remember press being positive and the creepiness of dolls—a motif the two seem to champion, (look at the chalkboards for an Easter Egg here)—quite unnerving. So, with the buzz on their newest horror film, Insidious, almost universally great, I became excited for what could be an…

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REVIEW: Bridesmaids [2011]

“Hold on for one more day” The best things a comedy can do are to exceed expectations and prove you don’t need to show all the funny parts in the trailer to con people into coming. Kristen Wiig and co-writer Annie Mumolo achieve both with their ‘stone-cold pack of weirdoes’ gearing up for the bride-to-be’s wedding day. Following in Tina Fey’s footsteps as SNLer turned feature film comedy scribe, Wiig branches out from the tv sketch show with help from Judd Apatow and his gang, including director Paul Feig, to…

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REVIEW: Get Him to the Greek [2010]

“Please press seven for fellatio” The glory that is Russell Brand’s character Aldous Snow in Forgetting Sarah Marshall stems from two words: supporting role. On paper, expanding the obnoxious and vain sexual deviant’s background part to head up his own vehicle seems like a slamdunk—and it is to some respect. Although it underperformed at the box office opening weekend, Get Him to the Greek appeals to its audience and makes them laugh hard. But does humor alone create a success? I’m undecided on whether I laughed or looked towards my…

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