REVIEW: The Dark Crystal [1982]

“The great conjunction is the end of the world! … Or the beginning.” I’ll say right now that a little fright never harmed my adolescence so kudos to Jim Henson for sticking to his guns in bringing “family film” and potential nightmare inducing adventure The Dark Crystal to life. Anyone who spied upon Brian Froud’s creature design should have been aware of how dark the proceedings would turn out, but you can’t blame surprise either considering the Henson name in 1982 was only synonymous with those cute characters known as…

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REVIEW: Cinderella [2015]

“Have courage and be kind” For anyone who cannot stand singing, Disney’s latest iteration of the timeless Cinderella is catered to you. I know Chris Weitz and the other screenwriters on the project before him poured through the fairy tale’s vast lineage for every detail they could cull together into what they surely believe to be the definitive version, but what I saw onscreen is the same thing I saw as a child in cartoon form. Just without the sing-songy “Bibbidi Bobbidi Boos”. There are a couple spoken ones for…

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REVIEW: A Knight’s Tale [2001]

“We walk in the garden of his turbulence” There was always one reason I didn’t watch A Knight’s Tale: Heath Ledger. I eventually turned around on him as an actor after The Brothers Grimm and of course his Oscar nominated role in Brokeback Mountain, but in 2001 he was just that heartthrob all the girls loved who probably couldn’t act. Yes, I say probably because I’ll admit to never really giving the man a chance despite my enjoying him in Monster’s Ball, The Patriot, and guilty pleasure 10 Things I…

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REVIEW: Maleficent [2014]

“Goodbye, Beastie” Let’s be honest, Disney’s Sleeping Beauty is a bit of a bore. I remember my sister often wanting to watch when we were kids and me having none of it until the end’s fire and brimstone and menacing dragon spawned from the tale’s creepy, wide-smiling villain. Did I understand the fairy’s reason for cursing the princess? No. I’m not quite sure I realized the political ramifications of her baby shower invite getting lost in the mail until it was explained to me last night after watching Maleficent—the Mouse…

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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: Mallas, MA [2013]

“Believe me, it’s worth it” Created as part of the 48 Hour Film Project’s 2013 installment in Boston, Sean Meehan’s Mallas, MA had four stipulations: his team Fix It In Post had the genre of “Buddy Film” and were made to use a character named Brian or Bonnie Higgins, a net as a prop, and the line of dialogue above. From there the sky was the limit for Meehan and his cowriters Daniel Berube and Todd Mahoney, the idea of a superstitious town and the pair of con artists sifting…

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REVIEW: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters [2013]

“Never enter a house made of candy” The thing that’s so disappointing about Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is the rather ingenious premise at its back. Taking the classic Grimm Brothers tale and expanding on the results of what escaping an evil witch in the woods as children by burning her alive in an oven is so simple and obvious that it’s a wonder no one had thought of it before (not counting The Brothers Grimm). Credit Norwegian writer/director Tommy Wirkola for seeing the potential in transforming these scared kids…

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REVIEW: Blancanieves [2012]

“Never take your eyes off the bull” It appears Pablo Berger‘s silent, black and white interpretation of the Brothers’ Grimm‘s Snow White has become a casualty of its subject’s overexposure outside its home country of Spain. Nowhere more than America was Blancanieves pushed to the fringes after a 2012 Toronto International Film Festival debut and subsequent failure to win a spot in this year’s Oscars. One might have seen its parallels to The Artist as a glimpse of future success and yet here it is finally getting released after the…

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REVIEW: Snow White and the Huntsman [2012]

“Have I not given you all?” What happens when a fairy tale depicting an innocent princess saved by a litany of characters on her way to the crown turns into an epic battle with heroine in full armor storming the castle herself? Well, we discover just how flimsy a character the titular Snow White actually is. A prisoner for years while an evil queen brought darkness upon her kingdom, the young girl’s escape into the hallucinogenic Dark Forest proves nothing but a sense of survival. She has no skills at…

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REVIEW: Tangled [2010]

“Goldie, look at all the blood in his mustache” How long does it take to grow your hair so that you can use it with a pulley system to lift a person up a good hundred feet? Well, if Disney’s Tangled is to be believed, eighteen years. I don’t think it hurts having the golden locks also be magical; the whole ability to heal living creatures does lead you to believe it will constantly heal itself and not get dry, brittle, or manifest loose ends. But then that’s what happens…

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TIFF07 REVIEW: Cassandra’s Dream [2007]

“Being rescued is one of my wicked dreams” I went into the Toronto Film Fest screening of Woody Allen’s latest movie Cassandra’s Dream completely void of knowing anything about it. With no other preconception besides the fact that I really enjoyed Match Point, I sat down to see what was in store this time around. Would it be a comedy or a drama? Since his last entry, Scoop, was a comic one, which I have not yet seen, I was ready to be enthralled with a mystery of dramatic proportions.…

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