REVIEW: Thor: Love and Thunder [2022]

Team kids-in-a-cage. Korg (Taika Waititi as narrator/sidekick/co-writer/director) isn’t wrong when describing Thor: Love and Thunder as a love story for the ages. What else would a heartfelt tale of blood and justice centering a romance between a man and his hammer be called? Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Mjolnir were inseparable until the former’s older sister maliciously broke the latter into pieces (don’t worry, he got payback). He’s had to live without his baby for years now, desperately trying to fill its void with an axe (Stormbreaker) despite still lamenting what…

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FANTASIA22 REVIEW: 大怪獣のあとしまつ [Daikaijyu no Atoshimatsu] What to Do with the Dead Kaiju?] [2022]

We’re protecting people’s right not to know. The easiest way to describe the tone of Satoshi Miki‘s realization of an objectively ingenious concept (What happens to the rotting carcass of a defeated kaiju?), is to mention the question to which every journalist demands an answer after a blister filled with the gaseous byproduct of the monster’s decomposition bursts: Does it smell like poo or puke? If that sounds like your idea of a good time for two hours, Daikaijū no Atoshimatsu [What to do with the Dead Kaiju?] is for…

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FANTASIA22 REVIEW: Incroyable mais vrai [Incredible But True] [2022]

There’s a jewel? We all get older. It’s a part of life. Some do so gracefully. Others racked with fear. What’s interesting, and a major component of Quentin Dupieux‘s latest absurdist comedy Incroyable mais vrai [Incredible But True], is that few know which they are until they confront a potential avenue to cheat aging altogether. That’s the case with Alain (Alain Chabat) and Marie Duval (Léa Drucker). If we asked them how they felt about the subject at the start of the film, they’d probably say they hadn’t really thought…

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FANTASIA22 REVIEW: Country Gold [2022]

I make nothing but hit records and baby boys. The cost of fame sits in the living room wondering aloud whether dad will be home for Christmas. Why these two young boys’ voices have been deepened to sound like they’re forty-year-old drunks slurring through a bender is beyond me (an assumption of it being a dream or game is squashed once mom enters without the effect being called out), but their words have meaning. Troyal’s (Mickey Reece channeling Garth Brooks) star has risen to unimaginable heights, and he’s embraced it…

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REVIEW: Not Okay [2022]

Can’t offensive be, like, a brand? I’m not saying you couldn’t want to pivot careers from photo-compositor to writer, but to make it seem like A) the former is just a matter of loosely using the lasso tool in Photoshop to make a perfect mask that’s good enough to fool the world and B) that it’s a stepping-stone job shunted to the corner and treated like an internship because “anyone can do it” put me in a bad mood right away. I get it, though. Writer/director Quinn Shephard needs her…

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FANTASIA22 REVIEW: Sissy [2022]

Be there or die. There’s some delicate subject matter at the heart of Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes‘ Sissy. It’s unavoidable when you’re spring-boarding off an objectively tragic event that occurred during childhood. Because, while young Sissy may have been the one who physically assaulted Alex when they were age twelve, that isolated and impulsive act of violence was ignited by months or years of psychological torment inflicted by the injured. Does the event make Sissy a monster regardless of those circumstances? Or can society look beyond the visual aftermath…

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FANTASIA22 REVIEW: Next Exit [2022]

I can start with one minute. While a viral video of a young boy playing cards with his dead father captured the nation so profoundly that suicides and murders have skyrocketed due to humanity no longer fearing death, allowing every single ghost to be seen by every single human on Earth would be quite the logistical issue for first-time feature film writer/director Mali Elfman. She first started crafting Next Exit ten years ago and thus has had plenty of time to tweak and hone her script in a way that…

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FANTASIA22 REVIEW: L’employée du mois [Employee of the Month] [2022]

The most dangerous thing here is you. It’s review day and everyone is laughing about what raises and bonuses they’re going to request this year. Nico (Alex Vizorek) jokes about asking for an SUV and money because it worked for someone else in the past. And why not? EcoClean Pro’s manager Patrick (Peter Van den Begin) decided to give his latest intern (Laetitia Mampaka‘s Melody) a stack of papers to shred on her first day, so it’s not much of a leap to assume the books have been cooked to…

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REVIEW: Mr. Malcolm’s List [2022]

Next! Hearing that author Suzanne Allain originally set her idea of a bachelor that utilizes an impossible list of criteria to find the “perfect” bride in modern day before realizing the farcical nature of the conceit was better suited for the Jane Austen 1800s made me laugh because it’s so true. She talks about the “all-consuming” nature of finding a suitable match back then for both genders and uses Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice as an example of someone who might be so arrogant as to treat love like…

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REVIEW: Flux Gourmet [2022]

It wasn’t the flanger. Despite centering upon a three-piece artistic collective utilizing culinary accoutrement to manufacture aural soundscapes (band name yet undecided), Peter Strickland‘s bone-dry farce skewering the dynamic between artist, patron, and audience Flux Gourmet isn’t really about any of the above. That’s not to say Stones (Makis Papadimitriou) isn’t a participant within that dynamic, he’s just not included to fill any of those positions. His involvement is instead as an objective observer hired to document the work being accomplished by Elle (Fatma Mohamed), Lamina (Ariane Labed), and Billy…

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REVIEW: Cha Cha Real Smooth [2022]

I keep forgetting I’m around children. The critiques are legitimate. Cooper Raiff‘s latest film Cha Cha Real Smooth does feel like it was created by a sophisticated AI with protocols to produce the perfect indie darling for mass appeal, emotional resonance, and potential awards glory. That doesn’t, however, mean it doesn’t succeed at doing all those things in a way that transcends whatever ambitions or intent went into it. Whether the quirky humor, swooning heartache, or endearingly sweet characters, there are more moments that deserve an eyeroll than I can…

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