REVIEW: Abominable [2019]

Dude. You darted Dave. Writer/director Jill Culton started production on Abominable in 2010 before eventually leaving the project and ultimately coming back on-board. Still retaining sole writing credit, I have to believe Dreamsworks stayed true to her original narrative vision during those years when she was away. Maybe they fiddled with things to hew closer to a proven formula (the plot similarities to the studio’s How to Train Your Dragon are many) or perhaps parallels to that 2010 release were always present considering the close proximity of their respective geneses.…

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REVIEW: The Goldfinch [2019]

I lost something that should have been immortal. Theo Decker (Oakes Fegley) lost a lot one fateful day at The Metropolitan Museum of Art when an unexplained terrorist bombing took his mother, home, stability, and, most importantly, his childhood away. One second he’s stealing a glimpse of the young girl (Aimee Laurence‘s Pippa) beside him in front of a famed Carel Fabritius painting while his mom’s hand leaves his shoulder and the next sees him rising from the ashes of the aftermath, dead bodies everywhere. And if dealing with the…

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REVIEW: Glass [2019]

Why are we the only ones? It began nineteen years ago with a tale about emotional and physical duress—byproducts of tortured lives being led by purportedly “great” men too defeated to reach their full potential until circumstances reveal the power possessed within. M. Night Shyamalan was playing with the notion of superheroes walking the thin line between reality and fantasy. He sought to show how quick humanity is to explain away the impossible as quite ordinary, reducing those leaning upon the former into victims of delusion. Through Unbreakable‘s David Dunn…

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REVIEW: Ocean’s 8 [2018]

Hims are noticed. Hers are ignored. The best way to reboot a franchise is via a sequel. It’s smart because of the connection whether it be setting or characters since familiarity allows us as viewers to settle in without having to relearn what the property intrinsically contains. Look at Creed—or to a lesser extent Star Wars: The Force Awakens—for the perfect example of how something like this works. Both are practically carbon copies of the original installments within their respective franchises and trade on nostalgia to place a new generation…

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REVIEW: The Post [2017]

Quality drives profitability. Let’s be real: every Steven Spielberg film is a must-see, hype-driving machine. He’s a cinematic giant who rarely chooses a project to direct without extreme enthusiasm and artistic purpose (whether the result proves timeless or not). But no one could be blamed for letting excitement crescendo higher than usual upon hearing about his latest, The Post. Still in the midst of post-production on Ready Player One, Spielberg chose to drop everything while the visual effects artists did their thing to put Liz Hannah‘s script in front of…

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REVIEW: Blue Jay [2016]

“You leaving room for Jesus?” While we wait the requisite nine years hoping for another installment in Richard Linklater‘s seminal Before saga, Mark Duplass is here to fill the void early with his own intimate, two person reunion of past love and current strife entitled Blue Jay. Many will scoff at this declaration and say there are at best surface comparisons between the works with this one falling short on the emotional gravitas, but I’d disagree. Perhaps it’s the fact that I relate to two former high school sweethearts fatefully…

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REVIEW: Carol [2015]

“How many times have you been in love?” Director Todd Haynes‘ latest period romance Carol is nothing short of impeccable. From the acting to the cinematography to the art direction to Carter Burwell‘s gorgeous score, this thing is flawless in execution to the point where it should be rendered a clinically cold piece devoid of the immense emotion captured within each scene. Somehow these meticulous camera set-ups and intense expressions retain the warmth necessary to experience its characters’ love—a love in its purest form. The story is brimming with complex…

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REVIEW: 12 Years a Slave [2013]

“Stay safely” A label such as hero has lost its meaning of late. So ubiquitous today, it’s been rendered empty by being placed upon men and women who—while just, compassionate, and selfless—don’t quite reach the level of endured suffering for the word to earn its full weight. With America’s history possessing so much cowardice and hate, even some of its greatest legends can’t shake the damning facts which prove they’re less than the pristine pillars our books would like to tell. Yet in our darkest time—an era of unforgivable crimes…

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REVIEW: The Time Being [2013]

“Artists don’t have families” The life of an artist is often pigeonholed into some lofty, depression-laden existence built upon selfish ambitions and creative genius leaving no room for anything else. One could argue the great works possess such high emotive worth and resonant beauty because their creators poured every ounce of their heart and soul into them with nothing to spare on a life with which to love or be loved. Well-known masters were penniless and poor—starving artists who could have used the financial wealth bestowed upon their estates in…

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REVIEW: Mud [2013]

“Green beans never tasted so good” It’s a rarity to find a coming-of-age story set inside an adult-themed drama. Usually we’re made to watch adolescents caught inside the funny/awkward growing pains of puberty as lust and love and vanity and fear all mix into a pool of hormonal angst, embarrassment, and pratfall through comedy. Writer/director Jeff Nichols looked to create something in opposition to such cliché when he set off on the journey leading him to Mud more than a decade ago. He sought a way to capture the heaviness…

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REVIEW: Martha Marcy May Marlene [2011]

“Death is pure love” Lost and alone, Martha never knew what love was. Her parents gone at a young age, her sister away in college, living with a chimney for an aunt who to this day she says hated her—loneliness always prevailed whether people were around or not. So it’s no surprise she would be lured in by the kindness, compassion, and gentle voices of a commune living off the beaten path. A community of strays reborn into a life with purpose, she would find her place and never feel…

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