REVIEW: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald [2018]

We mustn’t be what they say we are. Who is Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne)? This is an important question we have to ask while watching Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, one we didn’t during the entirety of Harry Potter’s adventures at Hogwarts and beyond. Back then we knew who our hero was because of the mark on his head. Potter was the child of prophecy, the fated vanquisher of the wizarding world’s greatest foe Voldemort. So we invested in him and his friends from the beginning. We willingly grew…

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REVIEW: Rough Night [2017]

“Our kids are going to play together” I wasn’t expecting much out of “Broad City” co-writer/director Lucia Aniello‘s feature length debut Rough Night, but even low expectations run into the possibility of not quite being met. A big part of this stemmed from my anticipation of a dark comedy, one that might have the chops to rival a personal favorite with a similar plot device in Very Bad Things. I wanted to see these bachelorette revelers go to pitch-black places in order to mine uncomfortable laughs rather than lazy gags…

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REVIEW: Good Kill [2015]

“They don’t call it a hellfire for nothing” There are agenda movies that remain impartial to display a right and wrong interpretation of the ordeal on display through natural causes and there are those manipulated into force-feeding a single viewpoint upon the audience devoid of nuance. Andrew Niccol‘s Good Kill is the latter. The very few instances where he presents the alternative argument to his thesis—that drone strikes are a necessary evil with collateral damage proving the consequence of a “greater good” scenario—either arrive as though the character exclaiming it…

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REVIEW: Dope [2015]

“Congratulations. You have found your iPhone.” Malcolm Adekanbi (Shameik Moore) is a geek. You don’t even need the opening line of Rick Famuyiwa‘s Inglewood-set high school adventure Dope to state as much once we meet him. A self-proclaimed “oreo” with straight-As, constant beat-downs by Bloods-member Bug (Keith Stanfield), and Harvard aspirations his guidance counselor (Bruce Beatty) even scoffs at, the time to finally escape and be what his neighborhood loves to mock him for has arrived. SATs are around the corner, an interview with an Ivy League-alum in the position…

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REVIEW: Mad Max: Fury Road [2015]

“Our babies will not be warlords” It’s not often delays, financial dissolutions, and waning interest make a film better, but I don’t want to know what Mad Max: Fury Road might have been without them. In its current form the film embodies a logical escalation of what director George Miller began over three decades ago by embracing the insanity eating away at his titular road warrior’s resolve. Survival becomes a collective pursuit whether in the wastelands left behind after wars ravaged the earth of gasoline, water, humanity, and life itself…

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REVIEW: Divergent [2014]

“Faction before blood” Like it or not, the twenty-first century has brought cultural alterations. For instance, the conversation about futuristic dystopias and/or social upheaval no longer includes 1984, Brave New World, or Fahrenheit 451. Our contemporary equivalents are now The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, and Divergent. They may not be at the same reading level, target the same demographic, or prove as smart and prophetic as the former trio, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t relevant or effective. All except for one thing impossible to ignore: their delivery method.…

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REVIEW: X-Men: First Class [2011]

“Mutant and proud” The new world order begins and sides are chosen as Matthew Vaughn—five years late—finally gets his crack at the world of Marvel mutants. X-Men: First Class arrives to tell us the origins of what we’ve seen in the original trilogy, retreating back into the 40s, paralleling of the Holocaust with the world’s inevitable reaction to a new breed of evolution and how the oppressed become the oppressors to survive. It’s a very fine line between good and evil, right and wrong, retribution and revenge. Charles Xavier hones…

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TIFF10 REVIEW: It’s Kind of a Funny Story [2010]

“I would just live like it meant something” I’ll admit, an adaptation of Ned Vizzini’s novel It’s Kind of a Funny Story wasn’t what I thought Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck would pursue after two well-received dramas in Half Nelson and Sugar. The trailers did express the dramedy aspect, though, despite media outlets incessantly calling it the next comedy starring Zach Galifianakis, so no one should go in thinking it will necessarily be a laugh riot. It’s very funny, in fact a lot funnier than I expected, but the setting…

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