REVIEW: The Irishman [2019]

It’s what it is. Aging lead Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) is approached by two detectives towards the end of Martin Scorsese‘s The Irishman (the cinematic adaptation of Charles Brandt‘s I Heard You Paint Houses as scripted by Steve Zaillian) who let him know he’s the only one left. All the other big-time mafiosos from the Bufalino family and elsewhere had met their demise either from bullet, garrote, or disease (with the rare case of natural causes thrown into the mix). The tactic was to let Frank know that there…

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REVIEW: Motherless Brooklyn [2019]

I’m chasing his footsteps. Frank Minna (Bruce Willis) was more than a boss to Lionel Essrog (Edward Norton). This man plucked him out of an orphanage wherein the nuns beat him because they believed his Tourette syndrome was a sign of wavering faith. Frank taught Lionel that anyone using God’s name to harm a child isn’t someone worth listening to, took him under his wing, and hired him (along with three other orphans in Bobby Cannavale‘s Tony, Dallas Roberts‘ Danny, and Ethan Suplee‘s Gilbert) as a gumshoe for his private…

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REVIEW: Ant-Man and the Wasp [2018]

Like Baba Yaga … While a lot of fans were instantly and irrationally mad upon learning Avengers: Infinity War wouldn’t include Hawkeye or Ant-Man, I rejoiced knowing that Ant-Man and the Wasp‘s release date fell between both it and its as yet untitled Avengers follow-up. This meant that Scott Lang’s (Paul Rudd) latest adventure to the Quantum Realm would have no bearing on the crazy cliffhanger seemingly sealing the fates of so many other superheroes. Marvel was positioning its cinematic universe’s “lighter side” as a vehicle to help distract audiences…

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REVIEW: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle [2017]

Find the missing piece. The end of Jumanji shows Alan and Sarah chaining up the board game before throwing it over a bridge into water. Later we see it washed ashore on a beach, buried in the sand with chains removed as people walk by speaking what sounds like French. So we wonder how long after the main plot this Planet of the Apes ending is set. Did it cross the Atlantic? There’s real fun to this abstract epilogue with infinite possibilities, especially since the unlikely sequel Jumanji: Welcome to…

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REVIEW: Spy [2015]

“I’ve swallowed enough microchips and shit them back out again to make a computer” The Paul Feig/Melissa McCarthy train continues forward with James Bond spoof Spy after the box office successes of Bridesmaids and The Heat (with Ghostbusters still forthcoming). This installment sees McCarthy as the bona fide star, onscreen for practically the entire duration as CIA analyst turned field agent Susan Cooper. She’s been in the earpiece of top operative Bradley Fine (Jude Law) for so long that she’s probably saved his life more times than he’s killed people,…

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REVIEW: Ant-Man [2015]

“Just a tall-tale” You can tell as soon as it happens where the Marvel machine broke Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish, the two guys who had been developing Ant-Man to their singular vision since before the Cinematic Universe’s cohesive arc began. It’s a funny cameo with an Avenger, one where Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) attempts to steal a device that’s supposedly important to burgling the main prize for which Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) recruited him in the first place. Cute, entertaining, and paid off by the second of two brilliantly…

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Adult Beginners [2015]

“What? Never seen a kid in a suitcase before?” No one is ever going to say Ross Katz‘s Adult Beginners is original. The opening implosion for Jake’s (Nick Kroll) multi-million dollar investment project was done in Elizabethtown, his frightened guilt in not being there when his mother died of cancer is Garden State, and the estranged sibling relationship between he and sister Justine (Rose Byrne) is a trope used countless times each year. It’s a comedy about familial struggle with a bunch of adult “children” trying to find a balance…

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REVIEW: Blue Jasmine [2013]

“When I did what I did I regretted it” A film dealing with issues of causality, Woody Allen‘s Blue Jasmine provides much more than surface appearances. Rather than simply be a character study of an emotionally and psychologically broken woman whose rarified airs of elitist wealth came crashing down after her husband’s villainous financial skeletons are found, this story is also a tragic tale about perception. Does one woman’s dumb luck success really make her into some kind of expert on life possessed by a trustworthy opinion because she can…

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REVIEW: Win Win [2011]

“We have kids, Mike. I’m not taking chances with Eminem down there.” Just when I finally catch Thomas McCarthy’s debut film, The Station Agent, and deem it the touchtone all his other work will be compared towards, he one-ups himself with Sundance fave Win Win. Delving into the human psyche and second chances once more, his newest may be his most palatable. The cast is a bit more recognizable at its present, while still holding to indie stars, and even though the subject matter may be a fringe topic like…

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REVIEW: The Station Agent [2003]

“Would you mind not looking at me right now?” Actor Thomas McCarthy is quite the paradox. The man has a face full of smugness and unchecked attitude, making him ideal for intelligent, arrogant jerks. Maybe jerk is too strong a word since he also has the capacity for remorse, but I do find it apt after just recently seeing him become one of the most amoral characters on the HBO series “The Wire”. What makes him a paradox, however, is his foray into writing and directing. For some reason—perhaps because…

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