REVIEW: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines [2003]

“Anger is more useful than despair” There’s one great moment in Jonathan Mostow‘s Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines: its end. I’m not being snarky in some jokey “because it was finally over” kind of way either. It is legitimately good. Half twist, half bittersweet salvation in the face of apocalyptic nightmare where a hero is finally born. The series has been working towards this revelation for two decades by this point; reaching the moment when the future we’ve seen of a world covered in skulls and metal is about…

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REVIEW: Jurassic World [2015]

“This will give parents nightmares” As all good sequels must learn, the key to success is delivering on the promise set forth by the original while also providing something fresh and improved. Just ask James Cameron, a master at the task, who injected action-packed life into both Aliens and Terminator 2: Judgment Day without negating or watering down the mythology still relevant beneath those newfound popcorn blockbuster sensibilities. Neither The Lost World nor Jurassic Park III did it. They decided to both reinvent the wheel and forget what the appeal…

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REVIEW: Terminator 2: Judgment Day [1991]

“You’re really real” Oh what seven years can accomplish through cinematic technological achievement. While The Terminator still looks good today, Terminator 2: Judgment Day looks amazing. Director James Cameron acknowledges his evolutionary leap by opening the follow-up with a near-replica 2029 Los Angeles prologue as the first to showcase exactly how far forward. These new sentient machines are carbon copies of the old moving with marginal hitching to physically belong next to their human adversaries. Besides the sequences inside cars with flat projections whooshing by (Hollywood still hasn’t perfected this…

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REVIEW: The Machine [2014]

“Some people can’t give up hope even if they know it’s hopeless” With so many writers and directors keen to give us a look at a future ravaged by an impending war between man and his creations, it’s always a breath of fresh air when someone decides to show the potential of an evolutionary leap towards harmony. That’s not to say Caradog W. James‘ film The Machine is devoid of violent carnage at the hands of bloodthirsty militaristic bureaucrats sitting behind desks as their employed scientists crack the code of…

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REVIEW: The Abyss [1989]

“You have to look with better eyes than that” Even the most rudimentary research into the production of James Cameron‘s The Abyss yields horror story upon horror story as frustrations shattered personal lives and behind the scenes decisions fought against its genre, budget, and appeal. There’s the writer/director basing lead character Lindsey Brigman on producer Gale Anne Hurd only to find himself marrying her previous to filming, separating during pre-production, and divorcing months before it’s release date. That opening weekend itself was pushed from July until August to complete special…

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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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Posterized Propaganda August 2012: A Summer Lull

“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. August isn’t fooling around with a ton of releases spanning both big budget and independent productions. I couldn’t even begin to talk about them all here—sorry Sparkle—but there sadly aren’t…

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REVIEW: Aliens [1986]

“Game over, man. Game over!” Leave it to über action champion James Cameron to turn a darkly serious sci-fi thriller into a brutally fun romp successful enough to spawn two more sequels and a separate spin-off series that has kept H.R. Giger‘s grotesque xenomorph relevant today. Fresh off the success of Terminator 2, Cameron joined original Alien producers David Giler and Walter Hill to flesh out a new concept that would take the saga into another genre and wider audience appeal. Proving a strong female lead could carry a film…

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REVIEW: Drive Angry 3D [2011]

“Please … aim fer their tires” You have to respect a man who seems to love his work. Why else would Nicolas Cage, an actor so full of talent and skill at his craft—see Leaving Las Vegas and Adaptation.—continuously partake in endeavors that are for all intents and purposes unworthy of an audience? It has to be because he finds pleasure in greasing up whatever obscene hairdo he currently has and appropriating that redneck drawl he so loves. There is something to becoming caricatures and wreaking havoc onscreen, being evil…

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REVIEW: WALL•E [2008]

“Define dancing” Robots falling in love. There is a lot to like about the new Pixar film WALL•E. The animation goes without saying—better than anything out there. The glares, the environments, everything is rendered spectacularly, right down to the flame of a Zippo lighter. As for the story, leave it to these wizards for creating a tale that hits on a gut level, letting our simplest emotions come to the surface in order speak to our hearts and souls. With fewer words than Arnold Schwarzenegger had to speak in Terminator…

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REVIEW: Hitman [2007]

“That’s not a woman” Now I have never played nor really heard anything about the video game for which Hitman is based off of. Besides the whole “hitman” aspect, I guess it is a first-person shooter and pretty popular. Right now, the only reference I have is of the screenshot used in the film, (honestly was that type of nod really necessary?), but from that it seems they at least got the title character’s look down. As for the rest, I wouldn’t be surprised if it actually gets everything right.…

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