FANTASIA17 REVIEW: Better Watch Out [2017]

“U LEAVE U DIE” It’s Christmas and songs of carolers are in the air of a quaint suburban neighborhood populated by houses big enough to list four bedrooms yet safe enough to not need alarms. Perfectly imperfect families live inside them like the pulls-no-punches Deandra (Virginia Madsen) and affably self-deprecating Robert (Patrick Warburton) showing how […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Burn Your Maps [2017]

“The kid in the strange clothes said he gave birth to two goats” Many films deal with the aftermath of a family death by becoming about how their characters live with the pain—changing them into different people. Some distinctly show them living despite it instead. Rather than depict Connor (Marton Csokas) and Alise (Vera Farmiga) […]

REVIEW: Joy [2015]

“No, I don’t need a prince” There’s a reason you don’t hear “Mangano” throughout David O. Russell‘s supposed biography of Miracle Mop inventor Joy Mangano and it’s because Joy isn’t real. Whether original scribe Annie Mumolo intended this aesthetic—she reportedly fought tooth and nail to retain her credit—or Russell retooled its tone, what could have […]

REVIEW: The Magic of Belle Isle [2012]

“You don’t have to leave this planet to tell a good story” As the years progress and his workload diminishes, director Rob Reiner has chosen to spend his time bringing what he calls “life-affirming material” to the big screen. Despite the surprising success of The Bucket List in 2007, however, such a decision carries smaller […]

REVIEW: Red Riding Hood [2011]

“All sorrows are less with bread” Why, in movies, does a thrown axe/sword/dagger/knife always land squarely in the back of one’s opponent as he’s about to maim? Can’t it comically thud to the ground, short the half revolution necessary to inflict injury, allowing the antagonist to look at the camera with a twinkle in his […]

REVIEW: Firewall [2006]

“I’m going to find my dog” It’s almost comforting to know that when trailers for action thrillers are in paint by numbers structure their film counterparts are as well. The Harrison Ford actioner Firewall seemed like a redundant, rehashed plot regurgitated for the umpteenth time and that is exactly what it ended up being, minus […]

REVIEW: The Number 23 [2007]

“I think you know” Director Joel Schumacher can go from great (Tigerland), to very good (Falling Down), to classic nostalgia (The Lost Boys), to utter garbage (Batman & Robin). When I hear that he has directed something new, I usually begin with a cringe before checking out the new trailer. The Number 23, however, started […]