REVIEW: No Time To Die [2021]

The past is not dead. The end of Daniel Craig‘s James Bond run is finally here—a year late. Five films in a decade-and-a-half serves as quite the accomplishment even if the quintet was marked by extreme ups and downs. Casino Royale impressively injected new blood to flip the script in numerous ways while Skyfall proved a high water mark for the franchise as a whole regardless of lead actor due to its aesthetic, craft, and dramatic gravitas. Sprinkled in-between, however, were Quantum of Solace‘s glorified epilogue to the former and…

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REVIEW: Halloween Kills [2021]

None of us are innocent. Ah, the dreaded middle chapter of a trilogy. Can I call Halloween Kills that? Yes. I’m going to regardless of it technically being the third of four since the first is more a prequel to its triptych than a legitimate opening to a quartet. This is especially true considering David Gordon Green‘s latest installment in the franchise cannot exist on its own whereas John Carpenter‘s original Halloween can. It even proves how its predecessor, 2018’s Halloween, can’t stand alone either. This last truth might be…

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BIFF21 REVIEW: Catch the Fair One [2021]

You wish it was me on that wall. Kaylee (Kali Reis) hasn’t fought much since her sister Weeta disappeared two years ago. She’s waiting tables at a diner and sleeping in a shelter now, estranged from her mother (Kimberly Guerrero‘s Jaya) and really only in touch with her trainer/friend Brick (Shelly Vincent). The latter is with her at the beginning, taping her hands up to ready for a boxing match. We don’t see it, though, and don’t know who it is against. This is intentional because it may not have…

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REVIEW: Halloween [2018]

Say goodbye to Michael and get over it. If it worked for Terminator 2: Judgment Day in 1991, why shouldn’t it work for Halloween in 2018? Give the original film’s victim of an unexplainable evil the time to prepare to take it down on her own since nobody else is willing to believe her. And since Laurie Strode’s (Jamie Lee Curtis) predator didn’t die (1978’s Halloween cliffhanger is dismissed with a couple lines of dialogue pretty much saying Michael Myers was caught and subdued shortly after), she doesn’t have to…

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REVIEW: Halloween [1978]

This isn’t a man. I wish I could go back in time and watch Halloween upon its release because I can’t help being underwhelmed by it. That doesn’t mean it’s bad. On the contrary. John Carpenter‘s horror opus is a very effective thriller that earns its place as an inspirational slasher icon. Its score is unparalleled (and honestly a huge part of the film’s appeal whether fans are cognizant of its impact or not); its use of a lumbering, emotionless boogeyman inspired; and its portrayal of teens grounded despite sex-crazed…

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BIFF21 REVIEW: Cólera Morbo [Rage] [2021]

The crow never forgets. Everyone collided one fateful day in 1993. Beatriz (Liseth Delgado) and Lizeth (Karen Osorio) left school and cheered up sad little Mateo (Sebastián Carreño) before a speeding car passed and crashed a few feet away. Engulfed in flames, the driver (Carlos Fernando Pérez‘s Carlos Cota) screamed as he fought to escape the wreckage. The teens ran to the burning man to suppress the fire with their jackets, saving him until an ambulance could arrive. It was a harrowing moment captured on a roll of film inside…

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REVIEW: The Card Counter [2021]

It’s a weight which can never be removed. William Tell (Oscar Isaac) doesn’t like to be noticed. Not because he’s a Swiss folk hero who proved his marksmanship by shooting an apple off his son’s head, but because his past is full of demons he’d just as soon leave behind during the daylight since the nightmares are coming while he sleeps either way. Card games are currently holding them at bay after an eight-year stint in Leavenworth. The counting systems he learned while in jail have made him practically unbeatable…

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REVIEW: Copshop [2021]

I’m on it. When rookie officer Valerie Young (Alexis Louder) gets a disturbance call, the last thing she expects upon arrival is an all-out brawl between men and women in tuxedos and dresses outside of a wedding reception. That’s Vegas for you. Since they’re only hurting themselves, her sergeant stays in the car to finish his burger while she pulls her revolver to shoot into the air and break it up. That’s when Teddy Murretto (Frank Grillo) enters the frame with a sucker punch to Young’s jaw right before apologizing…

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TIFF21 REVIEW: Saloum [2021]

You’ll be sick to death of us by the end. The infamous “Hyenas”—three mercenaries running amok throughout Africa—are caught in the air with gold bars, the drug lord (Renaud Farah‘s Felix) they’ve been hired to extract, and a failed fuel tank leaving them with bad and worse options for an emergency landing. The Guinea-Bissau authorities won’t let them leave without a fight on the ground and they’ve surely alerted their Senegalese counterparts already, but Chaka (Yann Gael) knows of a secret beach from his past where they might be able…

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TIFF21 REVIEW: La hija [The Daughter] [2021]

Nobody can know you’re here. The plan is simple, but risky. Javier (Javier Gutiérrez) has worked at a juvenile delinquent center for two decades, interacting with all kinds of troubled teens. After trying to conceive a child with his wife Adela (Patricia López Arnaiz) for almost as many, they’ve yet to succeed. As a result, Javier can’t help but see a new resident as a means to an end wherein both parties can benefit. Irene (Irene Virgüez) is fourteen, pregnant, and in love with a boy who’s currently in jail…

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TIFF21 REVIEW: Lakewood [2022]

I want this to end. Screenwriter Chris Sparling takes us back to the script that put him on the Hollywood map with Lakewood. Much like his isolated one-man show Buried, this latest focuses on a single character caught in a high-pressure situation with seemingly no way out. Unlike it, however, the real danger is far away from the screen. You see, Amy Carr (Naomi Watts) is safe. She woke up, texted work that she’d be taking a personal day, told the kids to go to school, and set off on…

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