REVIEW: Toy Story 4 [2019]

She’ll be okay. It was said upon the release of Toy Story 3 that the franchise was done as far as Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear’s (Tim Allen) adventures were concerned. These sentiments made sense because it ended nicely on a logical breaking point wherein the boy whose name adorned their feet grew-up and gifted them to a new owner (Bonnie) who promised a warm future of happiness and play. Because simply retiring the characters would be dumb, Pixar decided to branch out into a trio of short comedic…

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REVIEW: Love, Simon [2018]

“You’re still you” There have been crazier premises for coming-of-age romantic comedies than having the lead fall in love via email with someone they’re afraid they’ll never meet. Unrequited love is nothing new to the genre and neither is an escalating series of mishaps and intentionally misleading manipulation on behalf of the lead towards his best friends to keep that love secret. But despite these familiarities, director Greg Berlanti and his talented cast of funny and emotive actors finds a way to make it resonate. The relationships onscreen—good or bad,…

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REVIEW: American Ultra [2015]

“We fired the ugly one” When there are only seven basic plots—as the saying goes—to implicitly choose from as a screenwriter, genre-bending homage becomes the sole path towards creativity. So while Max Landis‘ script for American Ultra is The Bourne Identity meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith through a Pineapple Express filter, it’s a damn good ride regardless. He’s throwing common tropes on their head by making a government-trained agent into a paranoid stoner filled to the brim with anxiety. He’s creating laughs out of dramatic convention while director Nima Nourizadeh…

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REVIEW: Wuss [2013]

“Do these kids have parents? It’s still outer suburbia.” Writer/director Clay Liford knows a film titled Wuss better make sure its lead character is a living embodiment of the word. So even though he may be introduced as a self-deprecating nerd willing to laugh about living with his mom and working at the same high school he’s currently standing in to chat up a drunk, former “popular girl” at their ten-year reunion, his luck at cajoling her into visiting his darkened classroom can’t help but get interrupted by the vice…

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REVIEW: Happythankyoumoreplease [2011]

“Who says Santa’s pants have to be red?!” It only took about halfway through Happythankyoumoreplease before I began to think about the one thing I probably should have latched onto from the start. The comparisons between this and 2004’s Garden State are unmistakable. And it’s not just the obvious—or what should be obvious if my brain had been working—that each starred and was written and directed by the star of a hit television sitcom, it’s also the sense of heart behind every single moment, the off-kilter eccentricity of certain characters…

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REVIEW: The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard [2009]

“Looks like a refugee camp for dirty men” Sometimes you just have to get over the fact that a film needs a good/coherent plot to be a success and let the stupidity flow over you. This is exactly what I did when sitting down to watch The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard. You cannot argue the comedic talent involved, but you can make the point that Gary Sanchez Productions could bring the whole shebang down. I know I am in the minority on my feelings for Will Ferrell and his…

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