REVIEW: Die Hard [1988]

“Make fists with your toes” It’s become such an action classic with numerous sequels, copycats, and homages and yet Die Hard as we know it almost never was—by choice. Novelist Roderick Thorp wrote Nothing Lasts Forever, his follow-up to The Detective, thirteen years after the original because he saw The Towering Inferno and dreamt up an idea of one man in a skyscraper hunted by terrorists. It starred his NYPD Detective Joe Leland, now aged and retired, visiting his daughter’s office building in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve where he…

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TIFF16 REVIEW: The Limehouse Golem [2017]

“Here we go again” It took fifteen years of perseverance—acquiring the rights, losing them, and reacquiring them at the behest of screenwriter Jane Goldman stoking the fire—but producer Stephen Woolley finally got Peter Ackroyd‘s 1994 novel on the big screen as The Limehouse Golem. There were some big names attached from Merchant Ivory originating plans to Woolley hoping for Neil Jordan years before developing it with Terry Gilliam. Don’t let this taint your opinion when peering upon Juan Carlos Medina‘s name on the director’s chair, though. Despite being only his…

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REVIEW: Eye in the Sky [2016]

“Never tell a soldier he doesn’t know the cost of war” How do you simultaneously become hero and martyr in twenty-first century warfare? You find yourself unwittingly lodged within the kill zone of a high value target that has been confirmed without a shadow of a doubt. Death or injury earns you both labels for your people. To die as collateral damage is to potentially radicalize more and more jihadists who may or may not prove more volatile than the ones murdered in the incident. But when actual terrorists who…

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Toronto International Film Festival 2014 Preview

We may have two consistent film festivals here in town showcasing small releases and restored classics, but you might not realize how close we are to one of the biggest in the world. Most “in the know” will center on five events when thinking about the best of the best film festivals and while Venice, Cannes, and Berlin are an ocean away and Sundance is across the country, The Toronto International Film Festival is less than a two-hour drive via the QEW into Canada. Even better than proximity, though, is…

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REVIEW: Dogma [1999]

“You can’t be anal retentive if you don’t have an anus” Due to an overly self-deprecating humor, writer/director Kevin Smith will always be the first to say he lacks true “talent” as a filmmaker. From the ultra-low budget Clerks to a recent spate of box office failures, his work deals in eccentrically loquacious characters with an acerbic wit and extreme grasp of pop culture that live or die by dialogue rather than any unparalleled directorial vision. As a result the critical sphere and haters prove vocal about his propensity to…

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REVIEW: Lee Daniel’s The Butler [2013]

“To serving our country” I’d like to say it’s surprising how an Oscar nominated director like Lee Daniels can find trouble financing a film with the type of sprawling depiction of the civil rights movement The Butler (sorry Warner Bros., I’m ignoring your lawsuit) possesses, but one doesn’t have to look past the fact everything he’s done besides Precious was panned to understand why. The unfortunate death of original producer Laura Ziskin didn’t help matters either, but an innocuous tale that does history justice while not ruffling many feathers should…

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Posterized Propaganda August 2013: ‘Elysium,’ ‘The World’s End,’ ‘Short Term 12′ & More

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. Summer is coming to a close with a five-Friday August jam-packing all the leftover big budget actioners that have been biding their time to distance themselves from the likes of…

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REVIEW: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy [2005]

“So long and thanks for all the fish” It took a quarter century for Douglas Adams‘ seminal work The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to hit the big screen, but it was worth the wait. Well, I’m probably not the authoritative word on such a statement considering the book series has rested unread on my shelf for the better part of ten years. As someone with no frame of reference to either it or the original radio play, though, I can say it’s a ton of British satirical fun showcasing…

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REVIEW: Galaxy Quest [1999]

“Never give up. Never surrender.” What would happen if William Shatner were beamed into space for real—tracked down by a group of aliens indecipherable from the litany of cosplaying fans clamoring for his autograph at one of the infinite Comic Cons held around the nation? This is the question stuck in screenwriter David Howard‘s head as he put Galaxy Quest to paper in order to imagine the possibilities. A lush with a bigger head than when the titular show was on air, Jason Nesmith (Tim Allen) encourages fans with a…

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REVIEW: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 [2011]

“His name is Voldemort, Filius. You might as well use it. He’s going to try and kill you either way.” Every story must come to an end and the saga of Harry Potter and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is no exception. Splitting the final novel of J.K. Rowling’s epic tale of wizardry into two films makes it so the words are given justice and very little is left out, but just as Part 1 lacked a complete arc, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is even less its own entity. To…

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REVIEW: Alice in Wonderland [2010]

“Off with your head!” With a knack for creating imaginative worlds that can be both dark and colorful simultaneously, director Tim Burton seems like a natural fit to adapt the Wonderland of Lewis Carroll’s novels. However, for every inventive Big Fish or Edward Scissorhands come the atrocious re-envisionings of Planet of the Apes and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. So, let’s just say I was scared going into Alice in Wonderland because, while the setting and art direction seemed perfect, I couldn’t help remember how bad his work from pre-existing…

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