REVIEW: Firestarter [2022]

When you see her, you will understand. My initial impulse upon rewatching the original movie was to read the novel assuming something got lost in translation to make it feel so boring on-screen. Now that I’ve seen director Keith Thomas and screenwriter Scott Teems‘ latest adaptation of Stephen King‘s Firestarter, however, I’m beginning to wonder whether the source material is just dull. Because a lot has changed this go-round. The fact there’s only thirty minutes left by the time Andy (Zac Efron) and Charlie McGee (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) make it…

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REVIEW: Firestarter [1984]

You don’t need your gun. I haven’t read Stephen King‘s Firestarter, but I must believe it has more going for it than Mark L. Lester‘s adaptation. Why make it into a film at all if not? If I were to guess, the problem occurred when the producers hired Stanley Mann to create a new script that leaned more closely to the novel after Christine director John Carpenter had already commissioned two before exiting the project. There’s a difference between making a film version of a book and filming the book—something…

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REVIEW: Dual [2022]

Why aren’t I crying? Sarah (Karen Gillan) is depressed. While it initially seems the result of loneliness created by her live-in boyfriend’s (Beulah Koale‘s Peter) absence with a lengthy out-of-town work effort, she’s been retreating from the world for quite some time now. Small things like not wanting to answer the phone when her mother (Maija Paunio) calls to “chat.” Big things like not wanting to leave the house and socialize with people when staying home and watching television is enough. So, when Sarah finds out she’s sick courtesy of…

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REVIEW: カウボーイビバップ 天国の扉 [Kaubōi Bibappu: Tengoku no Tobira] [Cowboy Bebop: The Movie] [2001]

I try not to think. It was supposed to be a quick bounty hit on the way home from the horse track for Faye Valentine (Wendee Lee). When she got her ship in position to apprehend the mark (Dave Wittenberg‘s Lee Sampson), however, someone else exited the vehicle instead (Daran Norris‘ Vincent Volaju). Not only that, but this mysterious man also went all action movie by calmly walking away as said truck exploded behind him. The chaos causes Faye to high tail it out of there knowing the return on…

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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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REVIEW: The Seed [2022]

I feel amazing. Childhood friends Charlotte (Chelsea Edge), Heather (Sophie Vavasseur), and Deidre (Lucy Martin) never get to hang out anymore. Life and adulthood have a tendency of keeping once inseparable cliques apart, but they’re hoping a once-in-a-lifetime meteor shower is just the excuse to finally get them together again. What better reason is there for Heather to use her father’s isolated modern mansion in the middle of nowhere? She can cajole Charlotte’s analog and low maintenance “nerd” away from her nine-to-five grind as well as Deidre’s ultra-popular social media…

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REVIEW: Please Hold [2021]

Always read the fine print. After the debacle that was Don’t Look Up, it’s nice to know satire is alive and well courtesy of KD Davila‘s short film Please Hold. Where the former refuses to acknowledge its thinly veiled metaphor for what just happened in America during the COVID-19 crisis (choosing to willfully pretend as though it’s hypothesizing a future, unrelated tragedy instead), the latter knows exactly what it’s doing. Because while the idea of an automated justice system stripping human beings of their right to know what they’re being…

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SLAM22 REVIEW: کشتن خواجه [Killing the Eunuch Khan] [2022]

Where is the escape? It would be a mistake to take the synopsis for Abed Abest‘s Killing the Eunuch Khan at face value because this is not a film about a serial killer in the generic sense of the word. Khan (Ebrahim Azizi) isn’t some cult leader a la Charles Manson sending his disciples out into the world to murder people in his name. He’s not a monster in the vein of Jigsaw either, entrapping victims to do his dirty work in the hope that doing so will earn them…

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SUNDANCE22 REVIEW: Something in the Dirt [2022]

You can only fall so fast. Directors Justin Benson (who also writes) and Aaron Moorhead go back to their roots with a lo-fi, (mostly) single locale sci-fi similar to their debut feature Resolution. Rather than a cabin in the woods, however, Something in the Dirt takes place within a cheap, lease-free, sight-unseen Los Angeles apartment. The tenant is a long-time area bartender named Levi (Benson) who’s hoping to jump ship and leave the city after his pursuit of something meaningful left him with only frustration. It’s within walking distance to…

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REVIEW: The Matrix Resurrections [2021]

Desire and fear, baby. Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) are dead. There’s no denying this fact. They sacrificed themselves for the salvation of humanity, traveling to a machine city to explain to the source code that Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) had gone far enough rogue to threaten the viability of the entire experiment and thus both of their species. Trinity passed first (but not before seeing the real sun for the first time in generations). Neo went next, his deal for peace with the machines being contingent on…

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REVIEW: The Matrix Revolutions [2003]

Cookies need love like everyone does. You cannot have a film as anticlimactic and boring as The Matrix Reloaded segue into a sister project (they were produced and photographed concurrently) as propulsive (albeit very messy) as The Matrix Revolutions without realizing a mistake was made. Whether it was the filmmakers (Lana and Lilly Wachowski), the studio (Warner Bros.), or both, the decision to continue The Matrix through sequels seems to have been motivated by probable box office success rather than actual artistic merit. The idea of two new pieces set…

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