REVIEW: Trigger Point [2021]

Everybody breaks. Things get off to a pretty rocky start with Brad Turner‘s Trigger Point thanks to a haphazard opening sequence comprised of silencer shots and gun flashes as random bodies fall to the ground. It feels like the cold open to a television show (Turner has worked on the likes of “24”, “Homeland”, and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” amongst many others during his thirty-year career) and thus the precursor to what will ultimately feel like a made-for-TV actioner. That we quickly move to a day in the life of Nicolas…

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REVIEW: Su ren te gong [The Rookies] [2019]

Every battle needs a theme song. I should have known better considering I’ve seen two Alan Yuen films before: a directorial effort in Firestorm that forgets its unwavering severity in the third act to deliver farcical chaos and a screenwriting effort in Monster Hunt wherein the lead is a pregnant man with the salvation of monster-kind cooking in his belly. I should have known the American trailer for his latest work Su ren te gong [The Rookies] was manipulated beyond its desire to pretend Milla Jovovich was its star. While…

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REVIEW: The Mosquito Coast [1986]

Ice is civilization. Anyone who has lived through the COVID pandemic with a MAGA-touting Trump lover in the family knows Allie Fox (Harrison Ford): a man so crippled by inadequacy and fear that he’ll twist himself into a pretzel to feign righteousness. It’s therefore interesting that this character is both anti-capitalism and anti-God since those are usually the means that facilitate that twist. But you listen to Allie’s opening rant (to his son Charlie, as played by River Phoenix, and ultimately to anyone in earshot of his intentionally sanctimonious shouting)…

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REVIEW: Nobody [2021]

Do you remember who you used to be? What if John Wick wasn’t so brooding and his boogeyman was forced to live out his retirement in the real world rather than one filtered through an embellished mythology? Can you see him waking up each morning to yell obscenities at the garbage truck, frustrated that he forgot to leave the tote on the curb again? Can you see him punching a clock every morning to pore over spreadsheets before climbing into bed on the other side of a pillow divider blocking…

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REVIEW: バトル・ロワイアル [Batoru rowaiaru] [Battle Royale] [2000]

It’s not my fault. The idea that a totalitarian government would target children as a means to subdue opposition wasn’t a far-fetched concept even before such YA-fare like The Hunger Games arrived over a decade later. You don’t have to look further than twentieth century wars wherein teens were drafted to serve as cannon fodder while the adults in charge sought to destroy the world. Transform draft dodgers during Vietnam into bratty fifteen-year-old punks rebelling against high school authority and you have your unwitting band of so-called “disrespectful counter-culture” types…

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REVIEW: Boss Level [2021]

Yesterday was months ago. Add another entry to the time loop directory with Joe Carnahan‘s Boss Level arriving as this month’s installment of what feels like a monthly ritual these days. It’s not socially relevant like The Obituary of Tunde Johnson, emotionally poignant like Before I Fall, genre-bending like Happy Death Day, or irreverently subversive like Palm Springs, but it is entertaining. This is especially true for fans (like me) of the director’s Smokin’ Aces since that’s the title this latest work most closely resembles whether by way of its…

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REVIEW: Raya and the Last Dragon [2021]

Who’s hungry? As Raya (Kelly Marie Tran) states during her expository prologue to Don Hall and Carlos López Estrada‘s Raya and the Last Dragon (written by Qui Nguyen and Adele Lim), events that should unite us often end up doing the opposite. For the Asiatic world of Kumandra, this phenomenon occurs in the aftermath of their most dire moment once the plague known as druun (a virus-like creature that multiplies with every attack, turning living creatures into stone) is finally annihilated thanks to the bravery of a dragon named Sisu…

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REVIEW: Flora & Ulysses [2021]

Maybe it’s okay to hope. The magic Kate DiCamillo imbues within the pages of Flora & Ulysses is infectious. Not only is her book a smart and witty adventure that refuses to shy from the struggles with loneliness everyone faces (young and old), but it also seeks to use wordplay and vocabulary in a fun Phantom Tollbooth kind of way that entertains and educates in equal measure. My worry with Disney’s live-action adaptation was therefore whether or not it could do the material justice since the absurdly hyperbolic nature of…

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REVIEW: Greenland [2020]

Where are the flashes? John Garrity (Gerard Butler) dreads going home at the start of director Ric Roman Waugh and screenwriter Chris Sparling‘s disaster film Greenland, but it’s not because a giant comet from an unknown solar system is flying closer to Earth than expected. He’s not some scientist who’s been studying the trajectory or a military man with the expertise to stop it. He’s a structural engineer pretending his foreman can’t finish up because he’s unsure of what to expect upon opening his front door. The fact Allison (Morena…

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REVIEW: No Man’s Land [2021]

Cause they’re hungry. There’s a fundamental problem at the center of Conor Allyn‘s No Man’s Land: the tragic event sparking its introspective yet superficially transformative journey isn’t accidental. The fact that every synopsis and description of it uses that word only helps to prove that its story is being told from a privileged and biased perspective. Jackson Greer (Jake Allyn, who also co-wrote with David Barraza) isn’t cleaning his gun when he shoots and kills a Mexican boy trespassing on his father’s property. He didn’t think the gun was unloaded…

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REVIEW: Echo Boomers [2020]

You can help me bridge that gap. I’d never heard the term Echo Boomers until Seth Savoy‘s film (co-written by him, Jason Miller, and Kevin Bernhardt). As a synonym for Millennials, however, it’s pretty apt. Baby Boomers screamed into the void and Millennials bounced back. We (I’m borderline with Boomers saying my 1982 birthdate makes me a Millennial and Millennials saying I’m Gen-X) are mirrors they hate because of how much we remind them of themselves. They call us the “Me Generation” because they believe we’re over-confident and entitled without…

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