REVIEW: Exhibition [2014]

Stop worrying about me. After two films centering upon characters that need to escape their insular lifestyles in order to discover what it is they truly desire, Joanna Hogg‘s Exhibition conversely traps D (Viv Albertine) and H (Liam Gillick) within their claustrophobic yet comfortable home so they must confront their past and present before deciding on their future. She does this by using a 1969 house built by commercial architect James Melvin as her canvas, the actors as her paint. Its modern design provides three levels of segmentation: a communal…

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REVIEW: Archipelago [2011]

I’ll wait and see what I’m told to do. There’s no better name for what Joanna Hogg has created than Archipelago. Not only has she set her film upon a series of islands on which the central family vacations, but she’s also molded the members of that horde into those very same scattered mounds of land. This is to be their send-off for Edward (Tom Hiddleston) as he’s about to embark on an eleven-month stay in Africa as an aid worker: just him, his sister Cynthia (Lydia Leonard), their mom…

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REVIEW: Unrelated [2008]

Just don’t tell the olds. Yeah? Tired and defeated, Anna (Kathryn Worth) walks her way down dark roads to the rented Italian villa of her oldest friend Verena’s (Mary Roscoe) extended family. She was supposed to arrive with husband Alex, the vague excuse of him having to stay behind last minute as good a reason for her palpable malaise away from the larger group as the confrontational phone calls she’ll eventually field from him. There’s obviously trouble in the water where their marriage is concerned, but its severity is left…

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REVIEW: Avengers: Infinity War [2018]

He’s never fought me twice. It’s been ten years since we met Tony Stark on the big screen. Ten years of serial storytelling with massive budgets, character crossovers, television offshoots, and Stan Lee cameos that took Hollywood and the box office by storm. Not even steward Kevin Feige could have predicted that type of longevity with twenty films by 2018’s completion, but here he and we are at the culmination of all those carefully laid plans. It’s been an enjoyable journey with origin tales, rights swapping, tonal shifts, and more…

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REVIEW: Thor: Ragnarok [2017]

Good luck with that, new Doug! Marvel fatigue has officially hit me, but not like a ton of bricks as much as a nagging sense that the studio is merely going through the motions. Unfortunately this slow unraveling is worse than a huge misstep because it means that a shift back onto the rails is less likely, especially with everyone hailing Thor: Ragnarok as a franchise entry that “breaks the rules.” If that means “push plot to the background for bloated excess dragging pacing out to the point of realizing…

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REVIEW: Kong: Skull Island [2017]

“Eating’s for the living” It’s amazing how a film’s success can create a tidal wave, but that’s exactly what Gareth Edwards‘ Godzilla did in 2014. We’re talking critical acclaim, half a billion dollars at the box office, and a rejuvenated plea for monster flicks. Well the first two are fact, the third merely hope on behalf of Legendary Pictures. Because their investment isn’t just sequels, it’s about a “MonsterVerse” so important to them that they got Universal Pictures to give Kong: Skull Island‘s rights to Warner Bros. so a single…

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REVIEW: Crimson Peak [2015]

“Beautiful things are fragile” If you truly want to know what to expect from Crimson Peak you should ignore the trailers—save their ability to highlight the gorgeous aesthetic—and instead read director Guillermo del Toro‘s mission statement. In it you’ll discover that this isn’t your usual horror story. Yes it has some jarringly gruesome visuals and is rife with skeletal ghosts, but his main goal was to pay homage to the “old-fashioned, grand Hollywood production in the Gothic romance genre.” This means a melodramatic tone that earns its laughs as intentional…

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TIFF15 REVIEW: High-Rise [2016]

“I think he’s lost his focus” As soon as the voice of Tom Hiddleston‘s Dr. Robert Laing was heard speaking narration above his weathered and crazed visage manically moving from cluttered, dirty room to darkened feverish corner, my mind started racing. Terry Gilliam‘s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas popped into my consciousness and then his Brazil after a quick title card shoves us back in time to watch as Laing enters his new concrete behemoth of a housing structure oppressively standing above a vast and still parking lot. Add…

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TIFF15 REVIEW: I Saw the Light [2016]

“Remember: they can kill you, but they can’t eat you” The opening to Marc Abraham‘s I Saw the Light holds a lot of intrigue. Based on Colin Escott‘s biography about hillbilly legend Hank Williams, the start goes from a faux black and white newsreel interview with producer Fred Rose (Bradley Whitford) recounting how one-of-a-kind the singer was to a magically lit performance by Tom Hiddleston as Williams (the actor sings every note and the actors playing his band pluck every string). He’s sitting on a stool with a hazy spotlight…

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REVIEW: Only Lovers Left Alive [2014]

“A diamond emitting the music of a giant gong” In the age of Twilight its good to know an auteur like Jim Jarmusch can render contemporary vampires as the romantic ideals of immortality, wisdom, and survival any thought-provoking interpretation should. Gone is the CW brood from “The Vampire Diaries”, ostentatious displays of supernatural power courtesy of “True Blood”, and the heightened sexuality of all their bloodsucking quasi-porn sizzle. Replacing them is a dying breed of intellectual artists held over from centuries gone, men and women without interest in the current…

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REVIEW: Thor: The Dark World [2013]

“I’ll just stay here and say ‘sea bass’ alone” There was something off with Thor in 2011 besides its horrid post-conversion 3D. While many believe Iron Man 2 was nothing but an evolutionary bridge for its hero to move closer towards what The Avengers needed, it was actually the Norse God of thunder who provided the most obvious bit of prequel exposition by introducing himself, extraterrestrial life, and that forthcoming blockbuster’s main villain, Loki. Captain America: The First Avenger also brought us a new character’s origin, but his story—like Tony…

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