REVIEW: Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood [2019]

Give me sexy, evil Hamlet. It was around midnight between August 8th and 9th, 1969 that Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, and Patricia Krenwinkel arrived at 10050 Cielo Drive in Los Angeles on a mission from their cult leader Charles Manson. They were told to go to that house (a former renter named Terry Melcher once rebuked Manson) and kill everyone inside as gruesomely as possible. By morning five people were dead including a pregnant Sharon Tate (whose husband, director Roman Polanski, was in Europe working on a new film) with…

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REVIEW: Missing Link [2019]

What chicken? With Laika CEO Travis Knight branching out to live-action on Bumblebee, it was only right that Chris Butler would carry the studio’s fifth feature film after the ambitious undertaking that was Kubo and the Two Strings (which the former directed and the latter co-wrote). Missing Link also becomes Butler’s follow-up to ParaNorman—my personal favorite from the stop-motion firm—and similarly stars a character that believes in what no one else does. Whereas Norman was sympathetic in his ability to speak with ghosts, Sir Lionel Frost’s (Hugh Jackman) quest to…

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TIFF16 REVIEW: Snowden [2016]

“Secrecy is security and security is victory” Remakes repackaging foreign films for American audiences are justifiable if done correctly. I’d hope our movie-going public would willingly read subtitles and experience the original artist’s vision, but we don’t live in a utopia. Dramatizing non-fiction work is equally acceptable in specific circumstances because a narrative built from talking head interviews is sometimes easier to parse and appreciate than those disparate accounts alone. Where I take umbrage with this trend is when Hollywood uses a documentary—an Oscar-winning documentary no less—and literally re-enacts it…

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REVIEW: Gone in Sixty Seconds [2000]

“Two Rogers don’t make a right” There are more than a few unexpected things concerning the Gone in Sixty Seconds remake that surprised me. One was the huge cast of familiar faces. Another the full embracement of its spectacular levels of cheese. And despite marketing materials and especially the poster, Angelina Jolie is far from a second lead and barely onscreen thirty minutes. Heck, besides the botched heist at the beginning that sets the chain of events that brings Randall ‘Memphis’ Raines (Nicolas Cage) out of retirement in motion, we…

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REVIEW: This is Where I Leave You [2014]

“Secrets are cancer to a family” Get ready because I’m going to throw some hyperbole your way. Here it is: This Is Where I Leave You is Franny and Zooey meets The Big Chill. Now hold on a second and let me explain. Jonathan Tropper is not J.D. Salinger and Shawn Levy isn’t Lawrence Kasdan. I know this because I’m not completely delusional. However, the comparison is still sound if you’re willing to take it with a grain of salt. The former work popped into my head straight away through…

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REVIEW: The Girl Next Door [2004]

“I’ll always remember … “ A film not necessarily loved upon release—many actually reviled it for “glamorizing” the life of a porn star—Luke Greenfield‘s The Girl Next Door was and still is a hilarious coming of age story for a post-American Pie world. It’s about finding yourself on the cusp of high school graduation without a memory worth telling as hitting the books and being a consummate student leaves you wanting. Matthew Kidman (Emile Hirsch) did everything he was supposed to on his quest to Georgetown and only found a…

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REVIEW: Rango [2011]

“Ain’t no one gonna tango with the Rango” Director Gore Verbinski knows star Johnny Depp’s penchant for fast-talk rambling only too well. After helming the original Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, he decided to take an odd turn into animation with the PG-rated Rango, taking his lead with him for the journey. Using a quasi-motion capture technique, the actors actually performed their roles, the footage later animated in character to mimic the motion and expressions of each. So, even though we see an awkward chameleon in a Hawaiian shirt—it’s not…

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REVIEW: The Crazies [2010]

“You had time for me” It is true folks, I willingly went to go see a horror movie remake. While I enjoy my fair share of the gore genre, mostly with works full of atmosphere, mood, and storylines with a mix of the surreal and the absurd, do I necessarily care about the subgenre dealing with political musings hidden beneath the zombification of America? No, no I don’t. So what drew me to The Crazies, a revamp of its namesake’s 70s release created by the king of political-horror George Romero…

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REVIEW: A Perfect Getaway [2009]

“Dude was a Silver Age Marvel freak” I’m not quite sure why I hold director David Twohy in such high esteem. I see his name attached to a picture and think that it could be pretty good when in fact I haven’t seen very much of his work. Below is a very underrated thriller he worked on with Darren Aronofsky and The Chronicles of Riddick is a fun adventure flick, (and I say that not seeing the director’s cut yet). But seriously, that is it. I know Pitch Black is…

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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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REVIEW: Live Free or Die Hard [2007]

“Is the circus in town?” Since I don’t consider watching movies on edited tv as really watching the movie, I have never seen an installment of the Die Hard series. As a result, the fourth film, Live Free or Die Hard has been my first foray into John McClane’s one man against the world antics. Now this is actually somewhat ironic because in order to get the PG-13 rating that the producers wanted, there has been a lot of overdubbing of lines, and it’s noticeable. So in effect, my first…

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