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…

Read More

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…

Read More

REVIEW: I Kill Giants [2018]

“We’re stronger than we think” While the main creative force behind I Kill Giants is unquestionably screenwriter Joe Kelly (whose limited comic series of the same name alongside artist J.M. Ken Niimura is the basis for his script), director Anders Walter‘s Oscar-winning short Helium shows he’s hardly a stranger to its subject matter. These two found success through the delicately complex experience had when a child confronts his/her as yet abstract conception of death wherein the infinite expanse of one’s imagination can manifest a path towards understanding. Few people find…

Read More

REVIEW: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 [2017]

“It’s not ripe” The world of Guardians of the Galaxy proved a necessary shot of comic and action adrenaline for the Marvel Cinematic Universe back in 2014. It gave a breather from the Tony Stark crew, allowed the voice of an outsider in James Gunn to permeate the Hollywood machine, and introduced a level of sky’s-the-limit promise and potential as far as aliens, planets, and scope (Thanos isn’t Earth’s random enemy, we’re just standing in his way of much bigger goals beyond our comprehension). Its success came via its characters,…

Read More

REVIEW: Live By Night [2016]

“We don’t get to pick our sins” A scene happens early on in Live by Night where Deputy Police Captain Thomas Coughlin (Brendan Gleeson) tells his criminal son Joe (Ben Affleck) that our actions always add up to a conclusion for which we can never predict. The idea is that Joe is a good man—a war veteran with a good heart—who’s simply been disillusioned. Thomas is willing to not crackdown on him despite being fully aware of how his boy makes a living as long as the evidence doesn’t force…

Read More

REVIEW: Star Trek Beyond [2016]

“The poetry of fate” After an auspicious reboot that erased every movie in the series before it (save the travels of Leonard Nimoy‘s Spock) while ensuring each one still remained in canon, J.J. Abrams stumbled a bit by recycling one of those films’ most acclaim stories for the follow-up. I’ll be the first to admit that Star Trek Into Darkness isn’t all-bad upon a second viewing three years later, but it’s neither unique nor consistently exciting enough to sustain its massive runtime. Unsurprisingly, Abrams decided to take a backseat to…

Read More

REVIEW: The Book of Life [2014]

“Always play from the heart” I’ve held fascination for Día de Muertos ever since seventh grade Spanish class. There’s just something about its love for the dead and ability to turn something scary to so many into this beautiful cultural tradition that makes its juxtaposition of old bones and ornate artistry a uniquely special aesthetic. To say I was intrigued in Jorge R. Gutierrez‘s The Book of Life would therefore be an understatement. The colors, detail, subject matter, and music he infused seemed a perfect coalescence of style and substance…

Read More

REVIEW: Guardians of the Galaxy [2014]

“I don’t learn” It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the best Marvel film to date would be one without a single recognizable character to anyone not already a fan. Guardians of the Galaxy has been around since 1969, but it’s the 2008 iteration by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning which struck the studio’s fancy as far as opening their cinematic universe wide open. There’s still a tenuous connection to Earth with the group’s default leader being a human snatched as a child by a Ravager ship, yet this detail…

Read More

REVIEW: Out of the Furnace [2013]

“Let me make this right” I think Scott Cooper’s Out of the Furnace has been given a bad rap by the critical world. It’s slow, laborious, and perhaps not possessed with the freshest of plots, but there is still a palpable power driving it forward courtesy of fantastic performances and a starkly authentic depiction of a forsaken region not unlike Winter’s Bone’s Ozarks. Whether it’s the gradual shutdown of a blue-collar Braddock, PA way beyond its prime in today’s America or the backwoods justice of a lawless portion of New…

Read More

REVIEW: Star Trek Into Darkness [2013]

“Bones, get that thing off my face” Director J.J. Abrams’ reboot of Star Trek four years ago was a refreshing, original take on a world possessed by countless offshoots because screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman used its science fiction genre to both retain and destroy existing mythology. A red matter black hole sending the Romulan Captain Nero back through time allowed their new universe to stand on its own as a parallel reality to the original show’s rather than forever remaining in its shadow. Orci and Kurtzman impossibly crafted…

Read More

Posterized Propaganda September 2012: White Space Rules the Month

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. When not distracted by the more offbeat, artistically inclined one-sheets for the amazing line-up gracing Toronto screens at TIFF this month, I was surprised to see a few good ones…

Read More