TIFF19 REVIEW: The Report [2019]

It’s based on science. It matters that Diane Feinstein and other Senators (John McCain included) fought to make the Intelligence Committee’s report on “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” public because it held information the American people needed to know about how the CIA conducted itself after 9/11. While many would say the fact nobody has been prosecuted or held accountable since for what was laid out is the most important takeaway, however, I’d disagree. To me writer/director Scott Z. Burns distilled it in one line of dialogue during his cinematic adaptation of…

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REVIEW: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom [2018]

“They’re alive. Like me.” Anyone who read/watched Jurassic Park in the 1990s should have known the product of John Hammond’s hubris: a marriage between mankind’s extinction and evolution into something more. This is what the themes of control and the lack thereof portend. To play God is to risk losing everything we have built in the past 300,000 years. Because whether we bring back that which nature destroyed (dinosaurs) or create something wholly new (through genetic manipulation and cloning), we breathe life into a being not meant for the present…

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TIFF16 REVIEW: Bleed for This [2016]

“Christ and elephants” There’s something about boxing movies that gets butts in seats regardless of so many being practically the same story. The formula almost always concerns some type of personal and professional redemption and Ben Younger‘s Bleed for This is no exception. Being a true telling of Vinny Pazienza’s (Miles Teller) arduous journey back into the ring after a near-fatal car crash severed his neck, however, means it possesses some substance beyond the old “washed up” bid for revenge against the press or a former coach/manager who’s now inexplicably…

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INTERVIEW: Jalmari Helander, writer/director of Big Game

After finding success from his debut feature Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale—an expansion of a world he created through two previous shorts all released together by Oscilloscope—Finnish writer/director Jalmari Helander did what many European filmmakers do and went English-language for his sophomore effort. But he did so on his terms by once again writing his own script and recruiting familiar faces to act against the newly accessible stable of international stars provided to him. The result is action romp Big Game and it has the potential of turning even more…

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REVIEW: Wild Wild West [1999]

“Never drum on a white lady’s boobies at a big redneck dance” Let’s just say that Mel Gibson and Tom Cruise dodged a bullet by backing out of Wild Wild West during its seven-year gestation. Its script probably wasn’t nearly as off-the-wall goofy at the start considering their clout as actors, but I highly doubt either would have been up for the parody it became. While the 90s were all about the television adaptation anyway—Gibson went on to do the lackluster Maverick and Cruise the effective Mission: Impossible—I’m not sure…

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REVIEW: A Single Shot [2013]

“He’s got a hard bark on him” It’s a shame most people need an incident that risks taking their life to finally acknowledge they have one left to live. For John Moon (Sam Rockwell), this moment comes on a morning hunt like many others. Already with three arrests for poaching deer, this specific excursion finds his aim off. Needing to chase his mark and eventually shoot blindly at movement in the corner of his eye, the kill lying motionless and choking in blood opposite his barrel comes into focus as…

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