REVIEW: John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum [2019]

Rules and consequences. Like the Purge series before it, John Wick is proving to be a money-making franchise that loves to let its mythology gradually unfold in a way that familiarizes via a personal experience prior to zooming out so the systemic issues beyond one man’s home can be revealed. While we still stay with the titular character as played by Keanu Reeves (an assassin that assassins simultaneously fear and revere who did the impossible to get out of the life only to see tragedy—his wife’s untimely death—start a chain…

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REVIEW: The Player [1992]

“… with a heart” When thinking about a satire on Hollywood, the idea to glorify its luck, ego, and excess rather than vilify probably wouldn’t be the direction your mind gravitates towards. To some extent this may ensure the exercise will prove pointless because the message shifts from showing everything wrong that needs fixing into everything wrong that you can also enjoy if the opportunity to join the hedonistic fun ever presented itself. You wouldn’t necessarily take the time to lambast if you weren’t angry at the status quo and…

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REVIEW: The Grifters [1990]

“He was so crooked he could eat soup with a corkscrew” My first Stephen Frears film was High Fidelity and I loved it. A couple years later came Dirty Pretty Things and my reaction was the same. Here was a director I must keep tabs on as well as peer back towards everything pre-2000 to make sure I knew which titles to search out. The one that popped out most—despite still taking me twelve years to finally watch it—was The Grifters. Its pedigree was impeccable with a pulpy noir style…

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REVIEW: Buffalo ’66 [1998]

“Just look like we are a married couple … spanning time” In 2004 Christina Ricci was quoted in Time Out magazine as saying, “Buffalo ’66 was the most beautiful example of self-absorption I’ve ever seen in my life.” She’s not wrong. Even if she had a good experience on set and didn’t loathe writer/director/star Vincent Gallo like most involved on the film, she’d still not be wrong. Gallo’s character Billy Brown is the epitome of self-centered aggression mixed with an absolute lack of self-esteem—a description that describes Buffalo, NY in…

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REVIEW: The Royal Tenenbaums [2001]

“How interesting. How bizarre!” Nothing Wes Anderson does will ever match the brilliance of his third film, The Royal Tenenbaums. A lot of this has to do with when I first saw it back in the winter of 2002, but I say it objectively too. I was still in college, still in the midst of my cinematic education after an adolescence full of mainstream Hollywood, and just starting to realize the potential of my local independent theaters’ reach. I don’t remember why I even went to see it considering I…

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REVIEW: 50/50 [2011]

“That’s your Make-A-Wish? To drive?” Cancer can be funny. How people with life threatening diseases can deal with the constant drone of, “You’re going to be fine” or “You’ll get through this” or “What you’re feeling is normal” has always been something that fascinated me. Personally—I can only guess having luckily never been put through such a situation—I’d probably clock the third person or at the very least blow up in their face with a profanity-laced diatribe about how pity only makes the nightmare worse. Why can’t we brighten things…

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REVIEW: When in Rome [2010]

“This marriage has a shelf life of a banana” Here is my call to arms people … go visit the Guggenheim Museum and donate money. After The International last year shooting up Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural wonder, New York City decided to get some more cash influx by allowing it to be showcased in this year’s rom-com crazy flick When in Rome. This film is by no means good—at all. However, that said, I laughed a whole lot. Once you leave the plot behind and start to just let the…

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REVIEW: Choke [2008]

“Think Gilligan meets Groundhogs Day–in hell” It took almost a decade for a second movie to come out from the literary source that is Chuck Palahniuk. David Fincher owned Fight Club, making it a cinematic wonder, enhancing the novel and becoming a wonderful companion to it. Rumors swirled afterwards about all his other stories being optioned for film translation, but after 9-11 halted Survivor’s chances and Invisible Monsters’ progress ended, it didn’t seem good. But here comes 2008, with an unlikely savior in Clark Gregg, and all of a sudden…

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