REVIEW: Army of Darkness [1993]

“Well hello, Mr. Fancy Pants” Only Sam Raimi knows how you travel from The Evil Dead‘s straight low-budget horror to the campy “ultimate experience of medieval horror” ten years later, but it’s obviously worked for him considering the series jump-started his promising career to the heights of Hollywood’s Spider-Man. Even so, that original trilogy is a curious case in cinematic history switching genres and mythology on the fly to get weirder and weirder and more loved as a result. Ask ten people and nine will probably say the cheese ball…

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REVIEW: Vacation [2015]

“I’m as hard as a faucet right now” I smelled trouble as soon as Ed Helms was cast in Vacation as the now father-of-two Rusty Griswold. While the perfect surrogate for Chevy Chase‘s bumbling Clark in a remake of the original National Lampoon’s Vacation, he’s a far cry from the character he’s meant to play in this half reboot/half sequel. I made the mistake of rewatching that first entry into the Griswold’s saga to realize it coupled with the equally fantastic Christmas Vacation prove Rusty was always the one family…

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REVIEW: The Amazing Spider-Man [2012]

“Up your what, Dad?” Ten years after Sam Raimi‘s Spider-Man joined Bryan Singer‘s X-Men in proving the superhero genre could be taken seriously in the annals of cinematic history, the reset button has been pressed for a fresh new look. Between Marvel taking the initiative to pool their collective, solely-owned properties into one giant universe of quasi sequels with 2008’s Iron Man and DC Comics lucking into Christopher Nolan‘s vision of Batman as more than a surreally cartoonish romp in the darkness, what was one of the most legitimate comic…

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Posterized Propaganda July 2012: Meet the new poster, same as the old one

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact 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. Not even superhero heaven can save this summer from continuing its uninspiring dearth of quality posters. But what do you expect when there are four sequels/reboots in the mix? A…

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REVIEW: The Avengers [2012]

“In the end you’ll always kneel” It’s hard to believe the new Marvel cinematic canon began just four years ago—if anything just for the simple fact these actors have been contractually obligated to continuously work in the world for its duration. The new The Incredible Hulk released with much less poetic atmosphere and more action-based aesthetic akin to the universe the studio now wished to portray than Ang Lee‘s foray from 2003 and a comic tone was cemented in arguably the series’ best entry, Iron Man. Subsequently followed by Thor,…

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TIFF10 REVIEW: Bunraku [2010]

“Love is temporary; Hope is eternal” Bunraku may be the term used to describe a form of traditional Japanese puppet theater, but that is no longer what I am going think when the word comes up in casual conversation—because it happens so frequently. Instead, I will recall memories of writer/director Guy Moshe’s unique vision of a future where the law is enforced by battles of skill and hand-to-hand or samurai combat, guns now outlawed from use. His Bunraku is an unforgettable film of high style and high-concept that was three…

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REVIEW: Iron Man 2 [2010]

“We don’t all run on batteries, Tony” The first Iron Man was a breath of fresh air when it came out in 2008. That was the year The Dark Knight showed audiences how morosely ambitious a comic book story could be, as well as arriving after the more serious tales of humanity X-Men and Spider-Man, amongst others, had. Sure there were the couple blips on the radar called Fantastic Four, but those were merely campy and pulpy because the story wasn’t strong enough to be anything else. It was the…

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REVIEW: Drag Me To Hell [2009]

“I welcome the dead into my soul” When I heard that Sam Raimi was back onto the Spider-Man train, signed on for the fourth installment, I was a bit lost for words. We all know how the third film in the series was a pale shadow of the previous two and the rumors were swirling about a remake of the movie that made him a cult filmmaker, The Evil Dead, so why visit the land of superheroes again? At the moment, I can only think that he is looking for…

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REVIEW: Iron Man [2008]

“Don’t waste it” There was a big question mark looming over the theatrical adaptation of Marvel’s Iron Man property. It was in the guise of director Jon Favreau. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the Favs, but when I heard he was helming a big budget comic book flick … let’s just say I was a little worried. Once his cast was set and the fanboys started humming across the internet I started to ease into the decision with high anticipation. Thankfully, after finally seeing the finished product, I…

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REVIEW: Spider-Man 3 [2007]

“I’d give my life for them” So here it is, the final piece to the Raimi/Maguire trilogy of superheroes and love conquering all. The first two installments in the franchise helped rejuvenate the comic book movie, making them be taken seriously and showing that a little imagination surrounded by the real world could create suspense, action, and heart. Spider-Man 3 had a lot of expectations to live up to, and not just to be cohesive and complete with three villains and a couple new faces on the side. I know…

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