REVIEW: The Addams Family 2 [2021]

Up and Addams. When Grandma Addams (Bette Midler) says, “Time to make some money” upon waving goodbye to the family as they embark on a cross-country bonding vacation (despite the song lyric proclaiming they are “going global,” that doesn’t happen until the end credits), I laughed because it seemed like a thinly veiled joke on sequels to already rebooted IP generally being made to do exactly that. What I didn’t expect, however, was for there to be an actual advertisement about halfway through courtesy of a Progressive billboard. It’s not…

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REVIEW: The Addams Family [2019]

The day is becoming most wonderfully disruptive. What exactly the “old country” is in context with the latest iteration of Charles Addams‘ beloved The Addams Family is unknown. Are we to infer Transylvania? Maybe. Does the film itself pretty much just show Gomez (Oscar Isaac) and Morticia (Charlize Theron) driving until they hit a straight-jacketed inmate (Lurch) escaped from an abandoned asylum up on a hill? Yes. Does a patient escaping a building with no occupants seem strange? Sure, but that’s kind of par for the course. Asking questions about…

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TIFF21 REVIEW: Flee [2021]

This is where my story begins. Documentarian Jonas Poher Rasmussen went to a lot of trouble to keep his friend and subject of Flee a secret. It’s with good reason too since the story divulged is one that could feasibly send him back to Afghanistan despite living the majority of his life in his adopted country of Denmark. More than just using a pseudonym (Amin Nawabi), however, the interviews also become rotoscope animation as a means of amplifying anonymity. There are obviously still risks involved from the simple act of…

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TIFF21 REVIEW: Where Is Anne Frank [2021]

Everything is Anne Frank. The premise to Ari Folman‘s Where Is Anne Frank is genius. Rather than adapt the famed diary into a traditional narrative, he brings its target (Anne’s imaginary friend Kitty) to life. And since this figment of a sounding board only knows that which Anne (Emily Carey) wrote to her, finding form in the present is obviously going to leave many important holes. How did the war end? How long did it last? Did Anne become a famous writer? Did she and Peter van Daan ever have…

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TIFF21 REVIEW: Charlotte [2021]

The sad ones always feel more true. Similar to co-director Tahir Rana before tackling the project, I too had never heard of Charlotte Salomon before sitting down to watch it. This fact seems weird considering many hold her posthumous masterpiece Life? or Theater?: A Song-play as the first graphic novel. A pedigree like that shouldn’t be swept under the rug—especially not when you delve into her work’s content and begin understanding all she endured as a German Jew during World War II. You would think her name would be held…

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FANTASIA21 REVIEW: Mad God [2021]

The Mad God of the film’s title is writer/director/animator Phil Tippett and the sheer audacity of him manufacturing an 80-minute opus of grotesquery sprung from a passage by Leviticus that would ultimately need thirty years to complete. His original footage went before cameras during the late 80s and early 90s—around the time he was working on Robocop 2—before he let the concept fade away once computer graphics (thanks to Jurassic Park, which he won an Oscar for) began taking over the special effects industry. It wasn’t until the 2010s that…

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REVIEW: The Boss Baby: Family Business [2021]

Apparently, there’s no “a” in “teamwork” either. Anyone who’s seen The Boss Baby knows a sequel was set-up via the revelation that a now grown-up Tim’s (Tobey Maguire) second daughter was sent by Baby Corp. for a yet unknown mission. The previous Templeton plant (Alec Baldwin‘s Theodore) had chosen to stay and grow up to fulfill the promise of his toddler-sized suit so that the clan could have their deserved happy ending. What then would Baby Corp.’s reason be for taking this family hostage again just one generation later? How…

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REVIEW: The Boss Baby [2017]

I’m enough. It’s tough to call my complete disinterest in The Boss Baby as a “judging a book by its cover” scenario when that cover is what the studio sold, but I won’t lie and say babies doing Glengarry Glen Ross wasn’t what turned me off from it. Watching every new marketing piece play into that juxtaposition as though it wasn’t a creatively bankrupt idea was simply too much to bear. So I avoided Tom McGrath‘s latest—despite believing his Madagascar series had finally come into its own by part three—and…

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REVIEW: Luca [2021]

The curious fish gets caught! It’s been ten years since one of Pixar’s best shorts was released alongside Brave. Storyboard artist Enrico Casarosa‘s La Luna was a heart-warming tale merging our reality with a fantastical premise in a way that proved perfectly suited for the animation medium’s infinite storytelling possibilities. The resonate familial relationship at its center led into that recognizable emotional journey every child and parent must take in order to allow the former the freedom to choose his/her own identity away from the latter’s shadow … but not…

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REVIEW: Já-Fólkið [Yes-People] [2020]

Life beats us all down eventually. Or, if we’re lucky, it numbs us from caring about the chaos that surrounds us. This is only too true for the inhabitants of three apartments within Gísli Darri Halldórsson‘s short film Já-Fólkið [Yes-People]. Whether it’s the senior couple at a breakfast table daring each other to blink during an impromptu “who’s most annoying” contest or a cheery mother and her morose son getting through teaching clarinet to a novice and staying awake at school respectively or a frustrated middle-aged pair who’ve turned to…

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REVIEW:Genius Loci [2021]

I’m going to sit here and wait a while for a sign. With its esoteric dialogue and often cacophonic score incorporating foley sound effects with the melody that also double as the driving rhythm upon which the visuals are cut together, Adrien Merigeau‘s Genius Loci (co-written by Nicolas Pleskof) eschews traditional narrative for a beat poet aesthetic that embraces disorder on a journey through time and space. Reine (Nadia Moussa) is at once present in her sister’s apartment (watching a pot boil over upon the stove while simultaneously watching a…

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