FANTASIA15 REVIEW: Ava’s Possessions [2016]

“Did anyone call in sick for me?” When the industry is inundated with supernatural horror redundancies like it has for the past two decades, work like Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg‘s Shaun of the Dead or Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead‘s Spring are necessary to kept things from going stale. A point when audiences simply stop caring does exist. It’s apparently much farther out from the fad’s onset than you’d think America’s attention-deficiency would tolerate, but it will eventually arrive. Perhaps this extended longevity can be attributed to just such…

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REVIEW: 100 Bloody Acres [2013]

“…We’ll Fertilize Ya!” There is a fine line between horror spoof and horror comedy. The former tries to make fun of the genre while the latter looks to appeal to audiences of both halves. Since most horror generally has a comedic streak anyway, accomplishing this duality above the juvenile humor of a Scary Movie shouldn’t be too hard. But while comedies with horror elements—Beetlejuice, Bubba Ho-Tep, and Ghostbusters—have been a staple through the years, it was 2004’s Shaun of the Dead that gave mainstream audiences a chance to embrace the…

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TIFF13 REVIEW: 2013 Short Cuts Canada Programmes

Programme 1 A far cry from the documentary short Joda—a visual letter to Jafar Panahi—that was included in the TIFF Short Cuts Canada Programme last year, graphic designer turned filmmaker Theodore Ushev’s Gloria Victoria is all about the visceral and aural capabilities of film without something as unnecessary as words. Full of sumptuous textured layers formed by sketch drawings, Russian Constructivist elements, what I believe were faces from Pablo Picasso’s Guernica, and more, the rising crescendo of Shostakovich’s “Invasion” from Symphony No. 7 helps spur on an emotive war in…

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REVIEW: The World’s End [2013]

“Lets Boo-Boo” The Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy—a label jokingly coined during the press tour for its second entry—has come to a close with a mint chocolate chip wrapper flapping in the wind. Following horror comedy Shaun of the Dead and bromance actioner Hot Fuzz, The World’s End‘s sci-fi apocalypse makes good use of its title with some fire and brimstone and robots spraying blue blood. The old “Spaced” team took a hiatus when writer/director Edgar Wright delved into comic adaptation Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and writer/star Simon Pegg and…

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REVIEW: The Battery [2013]

“Like rain on a tin roof” It’s hard to give any new film about zombies the benefit of the doubt. What started as a politically charged venue to comment on society has pretty much been warped into an entertainment franchise providing viewers copious amounts of guilt-free blood and gore in the name of survival. Every once in a while something fresh arrives—a comedic romp like Shaun of the Dead, the small screen writing clinic of “The Walking Dead”, enhanced mythology for more authentic thrills a la 28 Days Later, or…

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REVIEW: Warm Bodies [2013]

“God, we move slow” Who would have thought even fifteen years ago that 2013’s nerd culture would have at its pinnacle zombies and bacon? Seriously, who? While we have Ron Swanson to thank for helping keep the latter alive recently, Hollywood has been the former’s driving force. What used to be a vehicle to disseminate political satire and civil unrest in a world slowly devolving towards a wasteland of mindless automatons has now become a million dollar moneymaking machine. They are so ubiquitous that I’m baffled none ever showed up…

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REVIEW: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel [2012]

“Top of the mountain” It’s a rare success to see a film as great as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel excel because of its leading cast of seniors. Since this bunch of peerless British performers so often shine in the background, we forget how good they really are. An inspired group, they portray Deborah Moggach‘s odd mix of retirees with an authenticity that brings her novel These Foolish Things to life inside the vibrant hustle and bustle of its Indian locale. Whether looking for new love, lost love, companionship, an…

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REVIEW: Attack the Block [2011]

“They’re four foot high, blind, n’ got kicked to def by a bunch a kids. We got nuthin’ to worry ’bout” After the extraordinary success Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s Shaun of the Dead’s comedy/horror mash-up found internationally, it’s no surprise their friend Joe Cornish’s feature directorial debut has achieved equally staggering results. Attack the Block is a mix of horror, comedy, and science fiction as it depicts a gang of adolescent hoodlums taking on an alien invasion in Brixton, South London. Right after the kids mug a young nurse…

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Posterized Propaganda September 2011: Misfires countered by fearlessness

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact that 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. September is the start of the film festival season. Unsurprisingly, while Toronto, Venice, and New York debut the flicks we’ve been waiting all year to see, the box office…

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REVIEW: Paul [2011]

“And that’s Jenga!” If I hadn’t already realized this fact last year after loving Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, I knew it following my screening of Paul—Edgar Wright is the lynchpin of success for the quartet of he, Nira Park, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost. It began on British television with the hilarious homage-driven “Spaced” and continued onto the big screen in two very funny, very over-the-top, and very British films. Replacement director Greg Mottola is no slouch—he brought us Superbad and Adventureland after all—he just can’t fill Wright’s shoes…

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REVIEW: Run, Fatboy, Run [2008]

“A son? Did you know he had a son?!” Do not let the Hollywood marketing machine fool you. Yes Simon Pegg stars in Run, Fatboy, Run and yes he has cowriter credit on it, however, this is not a Pegg/Wright/Park production like Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead, and “Spaced.” No this is a story from the warped mind of Michael Ian Black, he of “The State” fame. It appears from the “story by” credit to Black that maybe Pegg came in late with some tweaks and rewrites after he…

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