REVIEW: Alita: Battle Angel [2019]

No one’s greater than the game. This is a film twenty years in the making despite James Cameron being attached from the start. The story goes that Guillermo del Toro introduced the King of Hollywood to Yukito Kishiro‘s manga Gunnm and he fell in love with the book enough to give it permanent placement on his docket. Alita: Battle Angel was first thought to begin production after the demise of Cameron’s television show “Dark Angel” only to have him decide something else was more pressing. Then came the secretive technological…

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REVIEW: Downsizing [2017]

Lots of people are in pain, Ma. In all sorts of ways. It’s an ingenious comedic premise. With Earth’s population untenable, a couple of Norwegian scientists discover a way to combat our impending doom: genetic shrinkage. With a syringe of blue formula and a microwave oven (the logistics are never explained beyond surface visuals), any biologic entity can be miniaturized to a fraction of its size and mass. Since over-population is a main component of global warming, food shortages, and poverty, this solution is a timely miracle. Add the fact…

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REVIEW: The Legend of Tarzan [2016]

“Look at his hands” The film wasn’t even over before an older woman sitting a row away loudly exclaimed, “I’m exhausted.” I chuckled to myself at the exasperation shown for what wasn’t even a two-hour movie, but quickly realized she wasn’t wrong. I felt a bit drained myself trying to figure out what part of The Legend of Tarzan director David Yates wanted me to care about. Was it the relationship between Tarzan aka John Clayton III (Alexander Skarsgård) and his wife Jane (Margot Robbie) and their bond’s strength when…

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REVIEW: Spectre [2015]

“You’re a kite dancing in a hurricane, Mr. Bond” Remember that badass organization known as Quantum the deliciously vile Mr. White (Jesper Christensen) ran to terrorize James Bond (Daniel Craig) for two films? How about rogue former 00-program pledge Silva (Javier Bardem) wreaking havoc throughout London due a personal vendetta against MI6? They both made for entertaining villains in this rebooted saga with a grittier Bond—each helping bridge the cheese of its predecessors and the new-look superhero darkness Hollywood had embraced at the start of this century. What reason would…

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REVIEW: Big Eyes [2014]

“I’m just a Sunday painter” It’s a paint-off. Literally. Will the winner be the charismatic salesman peddling his wife’s art as his own or the soft-spoken woman slaving away in a turpentine-filled room that’s been dominated and belittled into allowing him to do so? Who will earn the right to say they were the creators of an oeuvre simultaneously thought to be worth thousands of dollars and infinite fame by the general populace and conversely less than the canvas they were painted on by New York Times critic John Canaday…

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REVIEW: The Zero Theorem [2014]

“Making sense of the good things in life” If the end were empty—as was the beginning—wouldn’t life be meaning in itself? Why do we constantly ask the question and seek its answer if so many believe our present existence is merely a stepping-stone towards eternity? If that’s truly the case one could label life as a vicious joke—a test in futility God has set forth to ensure we endure the pain and suffering he promises to extinguish at the opening of his pearly gates. This is why suicide is unforgivable…

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Posterized Propaganda September 2014: ‘The Zero Theorem,’ ‘The Boxtrolls’, ‘Eleanor Rigby,’ and 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. It’s festival season time—a time when I scour the internet for posters of films I’ll be seeing at TIFF only to come up empty-handed for a lot. That’s okay, though,…

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REVIEW: Epic [2013]

“Moist is what we do” Children’s author—and Academy Award winning animated short film director—William Joyce continues to make his rounds throughout the industry’s ever-expanding studio ranks with an adaptation of his book The Leaf Men and The Brave Good Bugs with Blue Sky. Having already seen his work turned into feature length films with Pixar (Meet the Robinsons) and DreamWorks (Rise of the Guardians), it’s no surprise he would reteam with Ice Age director Chris Wedge in a larger creative capacity than was had as production designer on Robots. While…

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The 85th Oscars recap through tweets …

@jaredmobarak • and the #Oscars begin … #[email protected]edmobarak • SUCCESS!! Tommy Lee Jones smiles! #[email protected] • poor Don Cheadle #Oscars13 Welcome to the 85th annual Academy Awards from the newly renamed Dolby Theatre. Bankruptcy is a drag, ain’t it Kodak? Hopes were high after host Seth MacFarlane‘s surprisingly hilarious Ted made me wonder if the dude wasn’t the real deal after all. A poor man’s Ricky Gervais, the Academy was probably wise in going for the watered-down Americanized version of unbridled snark because one would think the “Family Guy” creator…

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Picking Winners at the 85th Annual Academy Awards

Supporting Actress:Amy Adams: The MasterSally Field: LincolnAnne Hathaway: Les MisérablesHelen Hunt: The SessionsJacki Weaver: Silver Linings Playbook William Altreuter: It often seems to me that the Best Supporting categories are where the most interesting things are to be found in the Academy Award nominations, and this year is proving me right. What we often get—especially with Best Actress in a Supporting Role—are performances that really carry the movie, even though we tend not to notice. We also get actresses showing us what they can do against type, and that display of craft and professionalism is frequently rewarded. The…

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REVIEW: Django Unchained [2012]

“Are the bags on or off?” I’m not sure Quentin Tarantino could ever be mistaken for someone subtle, but even he may have gone too far with his latest, Django Unchained. A revenge flick drenched in blood, America’s tarnished history, and a surprising wealth of humor, what starts as a film I would have been hard-pressed to deny as being one of his best quickly buckles under its own weight towards an overblown, farcical finale that completely derails any momentum its climax builds. The auteur is a master of the…

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