REVIEW: True History of the Kelly Gang [2020]

I know what it is to be raised on lies and silences. Famed bushranger and Australian folk hero Ned Kelly (George MacKay) doesn’t want anyone else to tell his story because he knows how these things can be warped by hearsay and selective truths. Because he doesn’t know whether he’s going to survive the night, now might be the last chance to ensure his unborn son will learn what really happened during his brief time on Earth (twenty-five years). So Ned writes as he and his gang of men awaits…

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REVIEW: The Gentlemen [2020]

Doubt cause chaos and one’s own demise. It begins with a murder: out-of-frame, bloody, and a punctuation mark on Mickey Pearson’s (Matthew McConaughey) monologue about kingdoms and having to be the king when history ceases to be enough. By that he means the criminal underworld and intentionally getting his hands dirty to ensure the level of respect and fear necessary to stay alive in a volatile cross-section of gangster life. Mickey worked hard to get where he is as the boss of a seemingly impossible marijuana enterprise and he’s unafraid…

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REVIEW: A Million Little Pieces [2019]

Get it right the first time, James. During the ensuing fallout once James Frey‘s memoir A Million Little Pieces was exposed as a fabrication well beyond his statement admitting to having altered “small details” of his past, it was discovered that the author had tried getting it published as fiction to no avail. Random House, the place that ultimately printed it and watched its ascent to the number one bestseller slot thanks to a coveted spot on Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club list, was supposedly one of the establishments that rejected…

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TIFF17 REVIEW: Papillon [2018]

“I have trouble seeing hope in hopelessness” It’s amazing how some tweaking can turn a decent film showing its age into a worthwhile project that earns its upgrade four decades later. To watch Franklin J. Schaffner‘s original Papillon adaptation is to see an arduous series of harrowing ordeals strung together for no reason other than the thrill of adventure. It introduces the titular tough guy safecracker Henri “Papillon” Charrière and scrawny forger Louis Dega as two men caught in a horrible place with little hope. They team-up in order to…

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REVIEW: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword [2017]

“We all look away” The magic has once again been returned to the lore of Excalibur in a way that brings it closer to World of Warcraft mysticism than Sword in the Stone trickery—for better or worse depending on your interests. I for one actually liked Antoine Fuqua‘s King Arthur from 2004, its decision to do away with the spells not wholly destructive to the very fabric of the myth like removing the Gods was to the debacle that is Troy (rather than an expertly placed hit, its ankle shot…

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REVIEW: The Lost City of Z [2017]

“We are all made from the same clay” I should have known The Lost City of Z wasn’t to be your regular old adventure picture of men on an expedition since James Gray was at the helm. He’s always been one for character studies delving deeper than the situation at hand to hit upon the emotional and psychological duress exhibited within. So even though he left New York City’s small-scale locale behind (as if The Immigrant could ever be called small-scale with its gorgeous period detail), the jungles of Brazil…

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REVIEW: Crimson Peak [2015]

“Beautiful things are fragile” If you truly want to know what to expect from Crimson Peak you should ignore the trailers—save their ability to highlight the gorgeous aesthetic—and instead read director Guillermo del Toro‘s mission statement. In it you’ll discover that this isn’t your usual horror story. Yes it has some jarringly gruesome visuals and is rife with skeletal ghosts, but his main goal was to pay homage to the “old-fashioned, grand Hollywood production in the Gothic romance genre.” This means a melodramatic tone that earns its laughs as intentional…

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REVIEW: Pacific Rim [2013]

“She’s starting to chase the rabbit” After watching two spec scripts get sold and ultimately fall through, Clash of the Titans scribe Travis Beacham finally breaks into Hollywood with an original vision in Pacific Rim. A futuristic look at our world on the cusp of annihilation by the claws of an alien species entering our realm via a wormhole over an underwater rift in our Earth’s crust, his tale is as close to a live action anime as we’re likely to get—complete with kaiju and mecha warriors fighting to rule…

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