REVIEW: The Northman [2022]

We thirst for vengeance, but we cannot escape our fates. Like the Brothers Grimm were to Disney with so many fairy tales, it appears Saxo Grammaticus was to William Shakespeare where it comes to Hamlet. The Danish historian’s lead character was Amleth—a young boy who witnesses the murder of his father and forced romance of his mother at the hands of his uncle before having to run away from the latter’s kill order so that he may return (if an ambitiously opportunistic soldier lies about watching him die). The parallels…

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REVIEW: Last Night in Soho [2021]

What’s the most? Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie) sees dead people. Or, maybe, she’s crazy. No. She definitely sees dead people. Director Edgar Wright and co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns aren’t interested in making Last Night in Soho a commentary on mental illness when they can merely use mental illness as a plot device (Eloise’s mother committed suicide a decade previously after her own journey to London proved too much to bear). That sounds snarkier than it is. Yes, they could have handled the topic better, but I say it simply because it’s true.…

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REVIEW: Emma. [2020]

I have not yet been proved wrong. There have been countless adaptations of Jane Austen‘s Emma. and yet Autumn de Wilde‘s version (from a script by Eleanor Catton) is still able to feel fresh regardless. It might help that the director admits Clueless is her favorite of them because that viewpoint allowed its modern sensibilities to shine through the period aesthetic. The wit is sharp and quick, the production design is impeccable, and the characters are given life with the sort of off-the-cuff expressions today’s youth cannot stop themselves from…

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REVIEW: Radioactive [2020]

An instinct isn’t a particularly scientific reason. You can’t tell the story of Marie Curie’s genius without also touching upon the complex ramifications of the scientific work she accomplished. As her husband and research partner Pierre says in a dream at the tale-end of Marjane Satrapi‘s cinematic adaptation of Lauren Redniss‘ graphic novel Radioactive, “You can only throw the stone in the water, not control its ripples.” Her stone was the discovery of two new elements (polonium and radium) and the concept of radioactivity that so intrinsically connects them together.…

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REVIEW: Glass [2019]

Why are we the only ones? It began nineteen years ago with a tale about emotional and physical duress—byproducts of tortured lives being led by purportedly “great” men too defeated to reach their full potential until circumstances reveal the power possessed within. M. Night Shyamalan was playing with the notion of superheroes walking the thin line between reality and fantasy. He sought to show how quick humanity is to explain away the impossible as quite ordinary, reducing those leaning upon the former into victims of delusion. Through Unbreakable‘s David Dunn…

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REVIEW: Split [2017]

“In the sun we find our purpose” It doesn’t get better than The Village where M. Night Shyamalan is concerned. That film was a perfect confluence of his screenwriting and directing capabilities, a tale of love and protection through drastic measures as metaphor for the struggles of parenthood steeped in heavy emotion and guilt without regret. A marketing campaign billing it “horror” ruined any chance for success with audiences unwilling to look past the auteur’s penchant for twists. Its target demographic is perhaps still unaware of how much they’d enjoy…

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REVIEW: The Witch [2016]

“We shall conquer this wilderness. It will not consume us.” I find it funny that the Satanic Temple has “endorsed” Robert Eggers‘ stunning debut The Witch considering its pro-Catholic message. The first thing we see is William (Ralph Ineson) standing before his 17th century Puritan plantation’s governors as his family is excommunicated and exiled into the neighboring New England woods. They believe they can survive alone once happening upon a tract of land with which to build a small farm, but without God’s protection tragedy befalls them. Suddenly the corn…

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