REVIEW: Promising Young Woman [2020]

You didn’t think this was the end, did you? Has anyone created a drinking game for Emerald Fennell‘s audacious feature directorial debut Promising Young Woman yet? If not, I’m going to pitch that it surround the universal facial tic Cassandra Thomas’ (Carey Mulligan) prey deliver upon saying something they mean before floundering in an attempt to backtrack because that thing shouldn’t be said aloud. It’s usually accompanied by an extended “Uhhh” or “Wait a second” or “What I mean is”—the hamster wheel inside their brains working overtime to salvage the…

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REVIEW: The Devil Has a Name [2020]

We’ll always have Paris. Big Oil has been wrecking the environment for decades with spills, fires, and wastewater ponds amongst other atrocities to Mother Nature that place their bottom line above morality. They have the money to do it and the power to avoid any consequences—at least those that ultimately cost more than the price of overhauling the industry in a way that would make them compliant where Earth’s sustainability is concerned. It’s called “net present value.” As long as you make more profit doing bad than the net loss…

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TIFF20 REVIEW: The Water Man [2020]

I’m doing this for you. It’s starting to feel as though Gunner Boone’s (Lonnie Chavis) life is fitting to become a series of upheavals with no end in sight. First it was living with his mother (Rosario Dawson‘s Mary) while his father (David Oyelowo‘s Amos) was stationed in Japan with the Navy. Then it was moving to Pine Mills upon his return home to America. And now it’s adjusting to the reality that his mother is dying of cancer and his father hasn’t been able to thus far adjust to…

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REVIEW: Frozen II [2019]

Do the next right thing. I have to give directors Jennifer Lee (who also wrote the script) and Chris Buck credit for not simply jumping at the chance to follow up a cultural phenomenon for the paycheck. People wondered on opening weekend when a sequel to Frozen would arrive and these two held fast to their mutual decision of waiting until the story drew them back. They even began work on a completely separate project before heeding the call of unfinished business where Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel)…

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REVIEW: Vice [2018]

What do we believe? It’s still weird thinking the guy who joked around with Will Ferrell for years is an Oscar winner, but that’s exactly what Adam McKay is. Weirder still is my being firmly in the camp that believes it was deserved. What he did with The Big Short was the equivalent of too-smart people giving the public a “layman’s terms” explanation to their questions. He dumbed-down a complex topic, made it wildly entertaining, and taught us something about ourselves both in how we reacted (or didn’t react) to…

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REVIEW: Ralph Breaks the Internet [2018]

You said I was trenching! I knew things weren’t going to go as hoped when the lack of a short film before Ralph Breaks the Internet brought a filmed introduction by three of its middle-aged, male creators instead. They pretend as though they’re personally beaming themselves into our theater to share their gratitude with fake buffering circles freezing frames every now and then as one tells us the hardest part of making this sequel was fitting everything they love about the internet in. It’s spoken with a transparent insecurity boomers…

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TIFF REVIEW: The Front Runner [2018]

A lot can happen in three weeks. And so it began—sentiments that prove true only until the next example replaces it. We’re just two years removed from Donald Trump’s victory for president of the United States and already the art seeking answers about what went wrong and what went right have arrived. Much of it stems from finding a turning point to mark when the mainstream media started including tabloid fodder under the header of journalism, when politics shifted from the good of constituents and country to that of party…

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REVIEW: The Prophet [2015]

“And yet you rise above them unbound” After watching the animated cinematic adaptation of Kahlil Gibran‘s The Prophet and hearing his prose poetry read out loud, I can understand both the critical pause and public adoration it’s earned this past century. It consists of the kind of inspirational tales of flowery optimism that many love to read—enough so the book’s twenty-six essay-compilation has been translated into almost fifty languages and never been out-of-print since bowing in 1923. But this type of uplifting human condition rhetoric isn’t for everyone and personally…

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REVIEW: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice [2010]

“Are you familiar with the grey wolf?” Considering the story goes that Nicolas Cage was the catalyst for getting The Sorcerer’s Apprentice off the ground—he really wanted to do a movie where he had magical powers—and how well-suited his over-the-top theatrics are to family film fare, it’s surprising he hasn’t made a point of doing more this past half decade. All those direct-to-DVD entries can’t be paying him that much money. He did make a run with the two National Treasure movies, coincidentally hatched by the same team of producer…

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REVIEW: Serena [2012]

“About what? The kidnapping or the body parts?” Writer, director, and co-creator of the WIGS network Rodrigo García pretty much summed up his short film entry Serena with the following behind the scenes quote: “The best love stories are those with the greatest obstacles.” An intriguing sentiment as far as admitting the struggle necessary to find, keep, and enhance one’s love with another, the word obstacle is an understatement in the context of the relationship he’s created. Dealing with the interactions of a pastor and one of his troubled parishioners,…

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REVIEW: Rango [2011]

“Ain’t no one gonna tango with the Rango” Director Gore Verbinski knows star Johnny Depp’s penchant for fast-talk rambling only too well. After helming the original Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy, he decided to take an odd turn into animation with the PG-rated Rango, taking his lead with him for the journey. Using a quasi-motion capture technique, the actors actually performed their roles, the footage later animated in character to mimic the motion and expressions of each. So, even though we see an awkward chameleon in a Hawaiian shirt—it’s not…

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