REVIEW: Thor: Ragnarok [2017]

Good luck with that, new Doug! Marvel fatigue has officially hit me, but not like a ton of bricks as much as a nagging sense that the studio is merely going through the motions. Unfortunately this slow unraveling is worse than a huge misstep because it means that a shift back onto the rails is less likely, especially with everyone hailing Thor: Ragnarok as a franchise entry that “breaks the rules.” If that means “push plot to the background for bloated excess dragging pacing out to the point of realizing…

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TIFF17 REVIEW: Chappaquiddick [2018]

“Sometimes the path you’re on isn’t always the path you choose” It was always funny to think of Ted Kennedy as “the other Kennedy.” How could you not? Despite his long tenure as Massachusetts Senator, he wasn’t “anointed” like Jack or Bobby. He tried and failed to secure a presidential nomination, but even if he won there’d always be that one incident tainting his legacy and integrity. The place was Chappaquiddick and the reality was he killed someone. He became the butt of a joke—a tasteless joke. Nothing he’d ever…

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TIFF17 REVIEW: Stronger [2017]

“I’m a hero for standing there and getting my legs blown off?” Peter Berg‘s take on unsung heroes Patriots Day is barely a year old and here we are with another Boston Marathon bombing film in David Gordon Green‘s Stronger. Rather than focus on the event itself, however, John Pollono‘s script turns focus squarely onto the shoulders of Jeff Bauman—the terrorist attack’s most recognizable victim. But while he could have easily minimized this man’s struggle into a generic fluff piece of Hollywood inspirational perseverance, he admirably highlights the darkness those…

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REVIEW: Cowboys & Aliens [2011]

“God don’t care who you were, son. Only who you are.” Talk about a crowded writers’ room. With its fair share of ‘ands’ and ‘&s’ denoting who teamed with who and who came after who—Steve Oedekerk? Really? Did they originally adapt this as a potty humor comedy?—I’m going to put the onus of success on creator Scott Mitchell Rosenberg. One could argue we’ve had enough comic book adaptations, the medium being pilfered and yet seemingly endless, but sometimes a unique vision exists amongst the derivatives. Cowboys & Aliens is one…

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REVIEW: Green Lantern [2011]

“This is the worst eleventh birthday party I’ve ever been to” And here I thought green was the color of envy. Leave it to the DC Universe to set the record straight on how wrong that is in what could be the most implausibly convoluted mythology of any comic book entity ever—especially for a superhero who lives in the same world as Batman and Superman, two guys heavily steeped in reality, with some artistic flourishes of course. Green Lantern is hindered from an easy transition to the big screen at…

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REVIEW: A Nightmare on Elm Street [2010]

“I haven’t even cut you yet” So this is what it has come to. Hollywood should really stop making ‘revisionings’ and just tack on another number to the end of the once sacred horror franchise they decide to desecrate. I’ll admit, the new A Nightmare on Elm Street isn’t that bad, at least as far as formulaic genre flicks reveling in blood and gore while leaving any sense of ambiguity out the window go. What truly made the original scary and still fresh when watched today—especially for newcomers unfamiliar with…

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