REVIEW: Love, Antosha [2019]

I never eat the boogers. In an attempt to comfort after the death of their son, Viktor Yelchin suggested to his wife Irina Korina that they should just pretend he’s off on a very long movie shoot. That’s what Anton Yelchin often did anyway with sixty-plus film and television credits to his name by the age of twenty-seven, but things aren’t so simple when it comes to someone as caring as their child. Because even when he was thousands of miles away, Anton would inevitably call, email, or write his…

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REVIEW: Porto [2017]

You never know if what you’ve lost is better than what you’ve gained. An American ex-pat reminisces about lost love, his walk through the Portuguese town of Porto leading to the café window of an old late-night conversation conducted with absolute honesty, vulnerability, and empathy. His hair is grayed, the time between widescreen past and boxed present (the latter shot on Super 8 rather than the former) ten to twenty years. He’s distraught, complacent, and lecherously pathetic when the emotions of memory take hold of a body long since changed.…

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REVIEW: Star Trek Beyond [2016]

“The poetry of fate” After an auspicious reboot that erased every movie in the series before it (save the travels of Leonard Nimoy‘s Spock) while ensuring each one still remained in canon, J.J. Abrams stumbled a bit by recycling one of those films’ most acclaim stories for the follow-up. I’ll be the first to admit that Star Trek Into Darkness isn’t all-bad upon a second viewing three years later, but it’s neither unique nor consistently exciting enough to sustain its massive runtime. Unsurprisingly, Abrams decided to take a backseat to…

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REVIEW: Green Room [2016]

“The energy doesn’t last” It’s official: Jeremy Saulnier‘s Blue Ruin was no fluke. That pulse-pounding thriller wowed audiences a couple years ago with good reason and his follow-up Green Room only advances that success further. It’s as though he looked upon the climax of his 2014 gem and wondered what it’d be like to mold that powder keg of suspense into a full-length feature. His latest puts his players in their predicament very early and watches as the victims try to escape and predators enter. The numbers are about even…

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REVIEW: Experimenter [2015]

“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards” As Peter Sarsgaard‘s Stanley Milgram posthumously states at the conclusion of Michael Almereyda‘s Experimenter, his work compiled in Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View continues to come up in conversation whenever a new atrocity occurs in the news. Milgram’s impetus, as explained in one of many fourth wall-breaking instances throughout the film, stemmed from World War II and how seemingly ordinary people became complicit in the murder of millions. What made them ignore their humanity and morality to…

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REVIEW: Only Lovers Left Alive [2014]

“A diamond emitting the music of a giant gong” In the age of Twilight its good to know an auteur like Jim Jarmusch can render contemporary vampires as the romantic ideals of immortality, wisdom, and survival any thought-provoking interpretation should. Gone is the CW brood from “The Vampire Diaries”, ostentatious displays of supernatural power courtesy of “True Blood”, and the heightened sexuality of all their bloodsucking quasi-porn sizzle. Replacing them is a dying breed of intellectual artists held over from centuries gone, men and women without interest in the current…

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REVIEW: Odd Thomas [2014]

“I may see dead people, but by God I do something about it” It’s August 14th in Pico Mundo, CA and the world is about to end. Well, not the world per se, but the community young Odd Thomas (Anton Yelchin) resides. Sort of. He sees ghosts of dead people with unfinished business, a gift passed down by his crazy mother wielded in secret from everyone besides Police Chief Porter (Willem Dafoe) and girlfriend Stormy (Addison Timlin). But while it allows him to help the tragic, helpless souls wandering around…

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REVIEW: Star Trek Into Darkness [2013]

“Bones, get that thing off my face” Director J.J. Abrams’ reboot of Star Trek four years ago was a refreshing, original take on a world possessed by countless offshoots because screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman used its science fiction genre to both retain and destroy existing mythology. A red matter black hole sending the Romulan Captain Nero back through time allowed their new universe to stand on its own as a parallel reality to the original show’s rather than forever remaining in its shadow. Orci and Kurtzman impossibly crafted…

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VIFF11 REVIEW: Like Crazy [2011]

“To you who make me see things I could never see alone” How much is one summer of euphoric love worth? To Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and Anna (Felicity Jones)—the world. Courted through a shy, sweet process of stolen looks and a mix of intellectual and sexual longing, these two college students begin a whirlwind affair without regard for the legalities of her eventual return to England once her student visa expires. Bureaucratic nonsense like that couldn’t be farther from their minds as a relationship builds, improves, and cements itself as…

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REVIEW: The Beaver [2011]

“Look at you—stone-drunk and flattened by a television” We hear it all the time and we know it’s a lie: Everything will be okay. No it won’t; it’s impossible and anyone who thinks different is deluded. There will always be missteps, depression, tragedy, guilt, remorse—they are unavoidable. But those instances of darkness should never become who we are. And just because we are all misunderstood doesn’t mean we are invisible. Yes, we all go through the same rotten system of life’s lesser gifts, but we are still unique creatures. What…

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REVIEW: The Smurfs [2011]

“Is my thinking interrupting your vile hacking?” I think Grouchy says it best during goodbyes with his human counterparts in The Smurfs. “I hated it so much … less than expected.” He then caps it off with, “but I did hate it”, sentiments I assumed I’d share before sitting down at my screening and was surprised to find absent. It actually isn’t that bad—but I didn’t love it. Director Raja Gosnell is no stranger to live action/animation hybrids having helmed two Scooby Doos and a Beverly Hills Chihuahua. His decision…

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