REVIEW: De uskyldige [The Innocents] [2021]

Can I just listen? You’ve seen De uskyldige [The Innocents] before. Whether the telekinetic powers, battle between good and evil, or exploitation of neurodevelopmental disorders like Autism to supply a character a sense of power that contrasts preconceived prejudices, everything Eskil Vogt puts into his script is familiar in some way. What makes it so uniquely different in tone and expectation is therefore the choice to project those tropes onto children. His decision becomes an evolutionary progression forward from Max Landis and Josh Trank‘s Chronicle in that the sort of…

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REVIEW: The Batman [2022]

No more lies. It’s been twenty years since the murder of his parents. Two since he put on the cowl. Gotham still doesn’t know what to think of the costume, but the fear it has placed inside the hearts of criminals cannot be overstated. Violence only seems to increase, though, and Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) wonders if his presence as a vigilante seeking vengeance has done anything beyond giving offenders another figure of “justice” to run from. Saving a helpless man from a gang on Halloween, only for the victim…

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REVIEW: Kicking Blood [2022]

Where do we go when we die? Living forever isn’t living. It can’t be. Without the threat of death, all you’re doing is going through the motions. Just because Anna (Alanna Bale) understands this more than her centuries-old hunting friends (Benjamin Sutherland‘s Boris and Ella Jonas Farlinger‘s Nina), however, means little if she refuses to actually change. Not that she hasn’t in superficial ways like holding down a job (working sunrise to sunset at a library) while they live off the spoils of their latest, wealthy victim. But that’s more…

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REVIEW: Offseason [2022]

Wherever I went, there they were. When your dementia-riddled mother starts screaming about nightmares following her and demons crawling out from the water, it doesn’t matter how lucid she appeared to be beforehand. You tell her what she wants to hear, try to make her as calm and comfortable as possible, and wait for the inevitable. That’s what Marie Aldrich (Jocelin Donahue) did when Ava’s (Melora Walters) clear eyes and confident voice spun an outlandish tale surrounding the isolated island where she grew up and left without ever going back.…

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REVIEW: Spider-Man: No Way Home [2021]

It’s just a tree. **Potential Spoilers** “Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is Spider-Man.” Those are the words we hear at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home and the beginning of Spider-Man No Way Home. They’re the dying words/contingency plan of Quentin Beck aka Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal), recorded and sent to J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) and his Alex Jones alt-verse “Daily Bugle” to turn the entire city of New York against their friendly neighborhood hero. The ramifications are obvious. Anonymity is gone. Peter’s friends (Zendaya‘s MJ and Jacob Batalon‘s Ned)…

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BERLINALE22 REVIEW: Super Natural [2022]

Have we started yet? Less a film than an experience, Jorge Jácome‘s Super Natural is the sort of work that only achieves the sort of transcendence it aspires towards if the viewer is willing to meet it halfway. Unfortunately for me, doing so is easier said than done considering most of the narration (subtitled computer noises reminding me of videogames that don’t have the budget to hire voice actors) is very clearly trying to engage with me throughout. That device can work when the questions being asked are rhetorical in…

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REVIEW: えんとつ町のプペル [Eiga Entotsumachi no Puperu] [Poupelle of Chimney Town] [2020]

You have to look before you know. It’s Halloween night and a bright light has penetrated through the dark smoky clouds above Chimney Town. The red crystal in the shape of a heart tears through everything in its path en route to the garbage dump, pausing just above the ground’s surface to pull the long-since discarded objects towards it like a magnet. When all is said and done, a figure emerges: pointed hat, umbrella handle nose, cage body, and spring arms. The children dancing and singing in the street for…

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REVIEW: Cryptozoo [2021]

Without dreams, there can be no future. Ever since childhood, Lauren Gray (Lake Bell) hoped to save cryptids. Her first encounter came while struggling to conquer a steady stream of nightmares in youth. Fate would have it that a Baku (an elephant/pig hybrid that steals dreams) happened to be nearby. It came to Lauren while she slept and sucked all the bad thoughts from her mind, ostensibly saving her life. In order to repay the favor, she dedicated her existence to helping animals and, by extension, cryptids like her savior.…

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REVIEW: Eternals [2021]

It’s almost time. With twenty-five films and a fully realized serial arc already released, I wonder how many viewers checked out of Chloé Zhao‘s singular Eternals before the preamble was even complete. Despite all that context and investment, we’re made to read about all-powerful beings called Celestials, God-like immortals who inspired the cultural epics and heroes we still teach our children today, and other-worldly malicious creatures known as Deviants who’ve threatened humanity’s salvation for millennia. It’s obviously a big ask. One that Kevin Feige and company couldn’t have even suggested…

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REVIEW: A Cure for Wellness [2017]

You won’t come back. Capitalism has become pathological to the point where your work and the industry you work in doesn’t need to benefit society if it keeps your wallet full. It’s why the white working class is prone to vote against itself at elections under the false sense that they’re just one lucky break away from being a millionaire and thus shouldn’t shoot themselves in the foot now simply because they haven’t gotten there yet. It’s why the willfully oppressed can look upon someone gaming the tax system that…

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REVIEW: Venom: Let There Be Carnage [2021]

Responsibility is for the mediocre. I’m pretty sure there’s more exposition in Venom: Let There Be Carnage than there was in Venom. It’s not without reason. At the time of the original’s inception, Sony had their hands tied. The Marvel characters they had—namely those from the Spider-Man universe—couldn’t integrate with the Marvel Cinematic Universe at-large without an agreement like the one that allowed Spidey into the Avengers. And since Spider-Man was an Avenger, he couldn’t interact with those characters either. Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) was therefore on an island alone…

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