REVIEW: Hope Gap [2020]

Nobody looked back. One person’s optimal drama isn’t universal. Just because you might like the explosiveness of Marriage Story and its emotional outrage doesn’t mean your friend won’t find its histrionics akin to an improv theater class. And just because they might like the more nuanced Hope Gap and its stiff British upper lip doesn’t mean you won’t be bored by what you believe to be generic characters rendered milquetoast to ensure neither comes off as a bigger villain. We all live different lives and we’re all affected by triggering…

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REVIEW: Pokémon: Detective Pikachu [2019]

I can feel it in my jellies. It’s almost shocking that nobody made a live-action Pokémon movie considering the card game’s heyday was back in the 1990s while the anime and video games still ruled kids’ televisions. That’s not to say the property ever disappeared. Nintendo couldn’t have turned “Pokémon GO” into an international smartphone phenomenon without strong brand recognition spanning multiple generations. But what was there to lean on narratively? The creatures themselves can’t say anything but their names and the human characters are kids trying to catch them…

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REVIEW: The Bookshop [2017]

Where there’s life, there’s hope. Looks are deceiving with Isabel Coixet‘s The Bookshop, an adaptation of Penelope Fitzgerald‘s Booker Prize-shortlisted novel from 1978. What appears to be a run-of-the-mill drama that will surely fall into the usual clichés of perseverance and eventual victory about a woman standing up to a small town of bullies that sees her as an outsider is actually much more complex. Rather than be about an ever-increasing contingent of allies coming out of the woodwork to rally around her as she sticks it to the haughty…

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REVIEW: Their Finest [2017]

Authenticity, optimism, and a dog. As the Blitz raged and British soldiers continued to pour into Europe to try and push the Germans back, those left at home to take cover during air raids and do their part in factories still needed something to keep morale high when it all looked so futile. One such avenue was the movies currently run out of the Ministry of Information as the government sought to ensure the general public experienced only stories that provided hope. Being that you can only make so many…

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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: Pride [2014]

“Oh good. I haven’t spoken 1950s in ages.” If you’re going to make a film with a sprawling ensemble of characters equally unique and important to the point where your only true lead is a message of solidarity and comradery itself, it’s a good move to look towards the theater. Pride is the screenwriting debut of actor/playwright Stephen Beresford and only the second film from Broadway director Matthew Warchus with fifteen-years in between and yet it feels like they’ve both been working in the industry for ages. They have wrangled…

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REVIEW: About Time [2013]

“Did you have trouble parking?” It will be a shame if rumors stating About Time is Richard Curtis’ last film as director are true because he’s had fantastic success with the vocation. He’ll remain in the industry either way being that he’s equally proficient with screenplays (War House and Notting Hill) and TV (“Black Adder” and “Mr. Bean”), but one has to wonder whether Love Actually or The Boat That Rocked would have been as memorable were he not at the helm. You could easily say “yes” due to the…

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Posterized Propaganda November 2013: ‘Ender’s Game,’ ‘Nebraska,’ ‘Frozen,’ ‘Oldboy’ & 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 here! Well, at least the summer we hoped to have when the sun was still shining out my window. Yes, the requisite Oscar bait arrives with a few…

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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: Jack the Giant Slayer [2013]

“We never forget a smell” What do you get when you combine the English folktale Jack and the Beanstalk with the more violent Cornish fairy tale Jack the Giant Killer in an age where computer animation pretty much allows anything to be possible? Bryan Singer’s Jack the Giant Slayer, of course. A film that has traveled through many hands—Darren Lemke wrote the original script, David Dobkin has a credit, D.J. Caruso was once attached to direct, and screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie reworked the tone and plot to where it is today—I…

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REVIEW: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel [2012]

“Top of the mountain” It’s a rare success to see a film as great as The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel excel because of its leading cast of seniors. Since this bunch of peerless British performers so often shine in the background, we forget how good they really are. An inspired group, they portray Deborah Moggach‘s odd mix of retirees with an authenticity that brings her novel These Foolish Things to life inside the vibrant hustle and bustle of its Indian locale. Whether looking for new love, lost love, companionship, an…

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