REVIEW: The Mercy [2018]

What if I tell them I’m here? I had never heard of Donald Crowhurst before seeing James Marsh‘s film The Mercy. This is unsurprising since the British Sunday Times‘ Golden Globe Race of which he was a competitor occurred in 1968, not quite fifteen years before my birth. And if his would-be return-date to Teignmouth, England of July 1969 after yachting around the world without stop or assistance was ingrained in my mind for any event—auspicious or infamous—it was the moon landing. So when the synopsis described this amateur sailor…

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REVIEW: Allied [2016]

“Look for the hummingbird” Sometimes that story you’ve had bouncing around your head needs time to gestate and your career the opportunity to blossom before it can be released upon the world. For Steven Knight it was a bit of both. Already nominated for an Oscar back in 2004 for the brilliant Dirty Pretty Things, the screenwriter soon wrote Eastern Promises before directing the intriguing one-man show Locke. A couple underrated gems (Pawn Sacrifice), some duds (Seventh Son), and a critically acclaimed television series later (“Peaky Blinders”), he finally put…

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REVIEW: The Conjuring 2 [2016]

“This is the closest to Hell I ever want to go” When a formula succeeds as well as that of James Wan‘s The Conjuring and its real life subjects have as extensive a Rolodex of haunting investigations as Ed and Lorraine Warren, the prospect of a sequel arrives as both inevitability and an initial pause. Generally these types of projects change creative hands early so studios can rush ahead without worrying about scheduling conflicts, but Wan has never been one to shy away from involvement on subsequent entries to his…

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REVIEW: Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation [2015]

“Face your fate” It’s amazing what a few years can do for a celebrity’s image. From couch-jumping in love to rumors of getting written out of the fourth Mission: Impossible installment despite building the franchise to being the bell of the Hollywood Ball scaling the Burj Khalifa and now hanging from an Airbus A400M Atlas in flight without a stunt double, Tom Cruise epitomizes box office royalty. Hell, there’s even rumblings he’s trying to distance himself from Scientology now—but I won’t hold my breathe with that one. Whatever he does…

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REVIEW: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy [2011]

“Smiley leaves with me” When I first heard about Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy I didn’t think it had a chance of living up to my expectations. It possessed an all-star cast, was director Tomas Alfredson‘s English-language follow-up to the brilliant Let the Right One In, and was adapted from an espionage thriller by John le Carré—the novelist of another personal favorite, The Constant Gardener. An unforgettable marketing campaign piqued my interest with stunning character posters composed of number and letter strands color-coded to create each face and the never-ending praise…

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REVIEW: The Duchess [2008]

“Freedom in moderation” Keira Knightley’s period drama for the year 2008 is a well-crafted one, but lacking in anything new and exciting. The Duchess is your run-of-the-mill tale of unrequited love amidst the artifice of a marriage of utility. It all begins with a gathering of teenagers, playing their games in the yard while the adults talk inside, planning the futures for their children behind closed doors. When Georgiana’s mother tells her how she will be the next Duchess of Devonshire, you are almost shocked at her reaction. So happy…

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