REVIEW: My Spy [2020]

It’s a fine line between friendly and desperate. Like Hulk Hogan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Vin Diesel, and Dwayne Johnson before him, former wrestler and MMA fighter Dave Bautista has found himself starring alongside a child in a family-friendly vehicle using the juxtaposition between adolescent innocence and muscle-clad heroics as a comedic right of passage towards potential (Hollywood Hogan left his short-lived cinematic career in the 90s) superstardom. Whereas Mr. Nanny, Last Action Hero, The Pacifier, and Tooth Fairy hit the big screen to varying box office success, however, Bautista’s bid to…

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REVIEW: Babyteeth [2020]

I’m not ready to be functional. No matter how prepared we think we are to confront our own mortality, we aren’t even close. This goes for those lucky enough to spend close to a century on Earth, but especially for those who aren’t. And with our own impending mortality comes that of loved ones around us. How do we cope with knowing there’s nothing to do but wait? How do we numb the pain we feel as bystanders in order to help the dying deal with theirs? Ignoring it makes…

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REVIEW: Judy & Punch [2019]

That’s the way to do it. They say your first violent act is the hardest. After that, however, repeating it often proves easier with each subsequent attempt. That initial struggle lies in knowing your actions are wrong. But if you do something unforgivable and never experience any consequences, those bad deeds start to normalize. You become comfortable with what you did and inevitably fall prey to a steady escalation of violence that spills out into the public. Domestic abuse leads to bar fights. Bar fights lead to run-ins with the…

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REVIEW: Dreamland [2020]

We don’t do this. There’s a line in Bruce McDonald‘s director’s statement that I believe should be shown before the start of his latest film Dreamland. It’s as follows: “I encouraged our team to embrace the Dream [and] not let logic get in the way of a good idea.” He goes on to mention how the result is a “miracle freak baby” that probably never should have been made considering they consciously tried to “stop making sense.” It’s the type of insight that people need access to since intent goes…

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REVIEW: Military Wives [2020]

Until we laugh again. Deployment day has arrived for the Flitcroft barracks. The soldiers are off to Afghanistan for a six-month stint while their spouses are left behind to raise families and attempt to stay sane. In a bid to help distract from the unavoidable worry, group activities are commonly brainstormed and executed for anyone interested in joining. And being the military, it should be no surprise that a rank-and-file hierarchy is adopted on that front too regardless of whether those forced into authority positions actually want them. As wife…

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REVIEW: Alice [2020]

Prejudice is more powerful than logic. It makes no sense. The night before saw Alice Ferrand’s (Emilie Piponnier) husband François (Martin Swabey) going out of his way to passionately make-out with her in front of their friends at a dinner party and now he won’t answer her calls. Despite his running out of the house earlier than usual without any explanation, however, there’s nothing to make her think something is wrong until a trip to the drugstore exposes a freeze on their finances. One credit card won’t work. Then another.…

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REVIEW: Le daim [Deerskin] [2019]

Meet the beast. This is a mid-life crisis. Strike that. This is a mid-life crisis in a Quentin Dupieux movie. I add that clarifier because most people don’t turn into serial killers when buying a high-priced item or having an affair will suffice. But most people aren’t like Georges (Jean Dujardin)—he does all three. Well, strike that from the record too. We don’t actually know if he’s had an affair. All we know for certain is that his wife never wants to see him again. Withdrawing 7,500 euros from the…

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REVIEW: Porno [2020]

C.B.T.L. It’s the summer of 1992 and both Encino Man and A League of Their Own are playing on the big screen. This is a good thing for Mr. Pike (Bill Phillips) as it means he has two PG movies to place on the marquee for families to enjoy. Anything raunchier or more risqué than that might prove difficult for a god-fearing man such as him—a local figure who preaches the word of the Lord to the Christian teens for whom he provides a place to work, pray, and confide…

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REVIEW: Extra Ordinary [2019]

The fragrant aroma of purity. When weird, unexplainable happenings occur—it’s probably a ghost. At least that’s what Vincent Dooley (Risteard Cooper) based a career of dealing with the paranormal upon. A producer of VHS tapes that taught audiences about these experiences as a group of phenomena he coined “Talents,” he also spoke with the dead. Alongside his young daughter Rose (who possessed the gifts necessary to deal with the more practical aspects such as incantations and guiding spirits into the afterlife), Vincent toured Ireland with the hope of helping those…

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REVIEW: La Gomera [The Whistlers] [2019]

The package arrived safely. A Romanian detective named Cristi (Vlad Ivanov) just landed on La Gomera in the Spanish Canary Islands. Because he’s unsure who’s supposed to meet him or where he’s going, he enters Kiko’s (Antonio Buíl) car with trepidation despite the man seemingly knowing everything about him. Only when they arrive at their destination to find Gilda (Catrinel Marlon) does Cristi relax since she’s the one who asked him to come and gave him the plane ticket. The reason is to teach him how to use an ancestral…

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REVIEW: Papa, sdokhni [Why Don’t You Just Die!] [2019]

It’s surprising how everything evil can be justified. Matvey (Aleksandr Kuznetsov) just wants to take his girlfriend Olya (Evgeniya Kregzhde) on a date. At least that’s what he tells her father Andrey (Vitaliy Khaev) when he opens the door. We know it isn’t quite true, though, considering his pulse is racing and his grip on the hammer hidden behind his back is tightening. Because a neighbor is walking to her apartment across the hall to provide way too compelling a witness, he can’t just take a swing and leave. So…

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