REVIEW: Charlie’s Angels [2019]

Hugs work. It’s been over fifteen years since Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle hit cinemas. That might not seem so long considering the first movie bowed almost twenty years after the television show went off the air, but TV reboots were all the rage back in the early ‘aughts. That extra time might have actually helped then because the fad’s key selling point was updating seventies-era properties with twenty-first century technology. Going from then until now, however, doesn’t quite hold the same demand for a “new look” as far as aesthetics…

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REVIEW: The Nightingale [2019]

You’re my life. After giving grief and survivor’s guilt physical form by way of a violent monster known as The Babadook, writer/director Jennifer Kent turns her sights on trauma and the ways our bodies, minds, and souls react to unimaginable and unprovoked pain endured at the hands of mankind’s superiority complexes born from delusions of grandeur. To do so she went back into the dark history of her home country of Australia to recognize the hatred and malice shown on the news today along racial, gender, religious, and sexual lines…

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REVIEW: Their Finest [2017]

Authenticity, optimism, and a dog. As the Blitz raged and British soldiers continued to pour into Europe to try and push the Germans back, those left at home to take cover during air raids and do their part in factories still needed something to keep morale high when it all looked so futile. One such avenue was the movies currently run out of the Ministry of Information as the government sought to ensure the general public experienced only stories that provided hope. Being that you can only make so many…

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REVIEW: The Huntsman: Winter’s War [2016]

“Do not love. It’s a sin and I will not forgive it.” They tricked me. Yes, the deflective, vague, and completely false marketing campaign had me believing—no matter how slim the chances were considering my lack of feeling anything for Snow White and the Huntsman—that The Huntsman: Winter’s War had something special under its sleeves. It did away with the least interesting character of the first movie (thank you Kristen Stewart/Rupert Sanders sex scandal), decided to go prequel on us with the Huntsman’s back story (Eric is his name), and…

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REVIEW: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

“They chose you” With The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 officially in the books I’m confident in saying Suzanne Collins‘ dystopic trilogy will hold up as one of the most successfully faithful cinematic adaptations ever. And a big part of that is the decision to make it into four movies because, as anyone who’s read the novels knows, Mockingjay is a dense work with little fat where its political and emotional intrigue are concerned. Any issues stem from Lionsgate’s misguided choice of putting a full year’s wait in between…

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REVIEW: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 [2014]

“If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree” Welcome to the bait and switch. If you’ve read Suzanne Collins‘ Hunger Games Trilogy you know that Mockingjay is by far the meatiest and most resonate installment of the series despite diverting from the blueprint that brought people in. So rich in the politics, revolution, and sci-fi lying underneath the action of the previous entries, splitting it into two films was actually a good idea. They should have placed the release dates months apart a la The Matrix sequels rather…

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Wiig, Gyllenhaal, and Monster Love at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival

Friends and family think me crazy for driving up the QEW so I can sit in darkened theaters for around thirty of a total eighty-hours in Toronto, but I wouldn’t spend my early September days any other way. This is what the Toronto International Film Festival does—it makes you look sanity in the face, say no thanks, and go the exact opposite way towards a world-renowned cinematic spectacle those same people are jealous about once I tell them I saw Kristen Wiig tell a joke. It was a funny one too…

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TIFF14 REVIEW: The Riot Club [2014]

“People like us don’t make mistakes” I’ll bet Laura Wade’s 2010 play Posh is something special to see on stage. A fictionalized take on Oxford University’s exclusive Bullingdon Club—sons of wealthy Brits who attended the best boarding/prep schools before following in their patriarchy’s footsteps to enjoy vandalizing college rooms as an initiation ploy and restaurants as part of their yearly evening of hedonistic excess—it’s debaucherous centerpiece of a banquet has to be an invigorating experience live. I say this because its depiction in Lone Scherfig’s film The Riot Club (adapted…

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REVIEW: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire [2013]

“Remember who the real enemy is” The aspect author Suzanne Collins included in Catching Fire that was more or less absent in The Hunger Games can be summed up with the above quote. While Panem’s dystopia provided a common antagonist for the surviving twelve districts of a revolution their Capital won seventy-four years previous, the series’ first installment relied almost exclusively upon whether its heroine Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) would survive her adversaries in the titular games. Yes, the political unrest was at the constructed mythology’s back, but the ultimate…

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REVIEW: Snow White and the Huntsman [2012]

“Have I not given you all?” What happens when a fairy tale depicting an innocent princess saved by a litany of characters on her way to the crown turns into an epic battle with heroine in full armor storming the castle herself? Well, we discover just how flimsy a character the titular Snow White actually is. A prisoner for years while an evil queen brought darkness upon her kingdom, the young girl’s escape into the hallucinogenic Dark Forest proves nothing but a sense of survival. She has no skills at…

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