REVIEW: The Last Full Measure [2020]

Justice delayed is justice denied. While Todd Robinson‘s The Last Full Measure does center upon the cost of war, it’s neither a pro-war or anti-war film. He instead allows the idea of battle to exist as an imperative within Airman William H. Pitsenbarger, Jr.’s story. Not only did this young man enlist to go to Vietnam, his bravery led him to voluntarily exit his helicopter above the massacre of Operation Abilene in order to help a division of total strangers who just sent their only medic up for evacuation. Pits…

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REVIEW: Three Christs [2020]

I can attest. Two decades after publishing his study The Three Christs of Ypsilanti, Milton Rokeach came to the realization that his methods were both manipulative and unethical. He included an afterword in a re-release of the book to that effect—something surely helped by the supposed fact his research assistants questioned his morality while it was still being conducted. Rokeach’s goal was to cure three patients who independently believed themselves the one-and-only reincarnation of Jesus by placing them together in a controlled environment to confront the absurdity of their claims.…

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REVIEW: Phil [2019]

I never promised you a rose garden. We meet Phil McGuire (Greg Kinnear) exiting his parked car while still in traffic to climb up a bridge railing. It’s a one hundred-plus foot drop into the water and he imagines taking the plunge before a group of teens with cellphones outstretched jolt him from the morbid sensation with excitable demands that he jump so they can enjoy the carnage. That’s a bold tonal mood on behalf of screenwriter Stephen Mazur and director Kinnear (his debut) because there’s actual dejection on their…

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REVIEW: Godzilla: King of the Monsters [2019]

This will not bring him back to us. Here’s the thing. Godzilla vs. Kong was announced way back in 2015—a year after Godzilla released and two before Kong: Skull Island. Warner Bros. wasn’t taking their time rolling out the MonsterVerse and thus guaranteed we knew the big bad reptile and big bad mammal would eventually square off. So with a writers’ room formed in 2016 to get everyone on the same page as far as how and why that titanic fight would manifest, Godzilla: King of the Monsters was always…

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REVIEW: Destroyer [2018]

Let’s see if it’s your time. It’s billed as a down and dirty revenge flick with some calling it a redundant variation on a theme “better” films already delivered. That’s not how I see it, though. No, Karyn Kusama‘s latest is about guilt. Erin Bell (Nicole Kidman) isn’t drowning herself in alcohol and pushing everyone who loves her away because she’s devoting her life to finding the leader (Toby Kebbell‘s Silas) of the criminal outfit she infiltrated as a green undercover agent over fifteen years ago. That may be her…

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REVIEW: A Happening of Monumental Proportions [2018]

Choose, commit, and move. Men have it tough don’t they? I mean they have to worry about married women they’ve engaged in inner-office affairs with ratting them out to the new boss. Some are forced to face the crushing existential crisis that comes with their failed pipe dreams of rock stardom revealing how they’re nothing but lowly private school music teachers who’ve accomplished nothing in their lives—including, apparently, educating the children in their class. And don’t get me started on the ones who must endure the untimely death of their…

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REVIEW: The Post [2017]

Quality drives profitability. Let’s be real: every Steven Spielberg film is a must-see, hype-driving machine. He’s a cinematic giant who rarely chooses a project to direct without extreme enthusiasm and artistic purpose (whether the result proves timeless or not). But no one could be blamed for letting excitement crescendo higher than usual upon hearing about his latest, The Post. Still in the midst of post-production on Ready Player One, Spielberg chose to drop everything while the visual effects artists did their thing to put Liz Hannah‘s script in front of…

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REVIEW: Get Out [2017]

“Magic isn’t real” If you ever watched “Key & Peele” you’d know the line between comedy and horror is very fine. Their sketches would often devolve into a horrific situation that you’d have to cry about if you weren’t already laughing. I think of “Aerobics Meltdown” where there’s this hilarious conceit of Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele going over-the-top, 1980s-era Richard Simmons—it’s absurd, campy, and frivolous. But then they inject a sense of fear and helplessness through a stagehand explaining how one of their wives was in a terrible accident,…

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TIFF15 REVIEW: I Saw the Light [2016]

“Remember: they can kill you, but they can’t eat you” The opening to Marc Abraham‘s I Saw the Light holds a lot of intrigue. Based on Colin Escott‘s biography about hillbilly legend Hank Williams, the start goes from a faux black and white newsreel interview with producer Fred Rose (Bradley Whitford) recounting how one-of-a-kind the singer was to a magically lit performance by Tom Hiddleston as Williams (the actor sings every note and the actors playing his band pluck every string). He’s sitting on a stool with a hazy spotlight…

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REVIEW: Agent Carter [2013]

“Learn to count” If Item 47 supplying us an expanded look at alien tech from The Avengers was the first step in making Marvel’s One-Shots a legitimate canonical extension, Agent Carter cements them as requisite viewing. There was no guarantee the short would lead to an eight-episode pick-up on ABC—heck, there wasn’t even a guarantee “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” would earn a second season—when it was created, but we all know now that it has. Not only is the titular character (played by Hayley Atwell) a bad ass excelling beyond simply…

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REVIEW: Saving Mr. Banks [2013]

“A leisurely stroll is a gift” If you thought Mary Poppins couldn’t get more uplifting in its journey towards giving two young children the love they always desired from their downtrodden dad, Saving Mr. Banks will prove you wrong. Utilizing a script by Kelly Marcel (a second credit was later added to Sue Smith) that only lasted one year on the screenplay Black List before being scooped up by the studio prominently featured within it, we’re shown a rather humorous behind-the-scenes look at the culmination of a twenty-year business courtship…

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