REVIEW: Here and Now [2018]

First a tragedy. Then a miracle. The news ain’t good. Famed vocalist Vivienne Carala (Sarah Jessica Parker) is on the cusp of a world tour for her latest (and ninth) album only to find herself in a hospital waiting room calling her manager (Common‘s Ben) to say she’s going to be late for rehearsal. She is to celebrate her twenty-fifth anniversary of playing at Birdland with multiple concerts beginning the very next day, an auspicious occasion even her well-known French mother Jeanne (Jacqueline Bisset) has decided to attend. And yet…

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REVIEW: The Hate U Give [2018]

Know your worth. The progression of The Hate U Give‘s genesis reveals its message’s importance. Angie Thomas began its short story precursor back in college as a response to Oscar Grant’s 2009 death by police. She would push it aside soon after in hopes to revisit the subject matter once her rage subsided. Her impulse was to instead find the love necessary to put everything she wanted to say down correctly—something the film adaptation (in theaters less than two years after the novel’s publication) possesses to create an authentic balance…

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REVIEW: Smallfoot [2018]

True your aim. Would it be hyperbolic to call Smallfoot the most dangerous film of the year? Definitely … and yet it wouldn’t necessarily be wrong. Yes there’s a wholesome message at the back of what Karey Kirkpatrick (who co-directed with Jason Reisig and co-wrote with Clare Sera from a previous script that itself was based on Sergio Pablos‘ book Yeti Tracks) has put onscreen, but it’s not difficult to misconstrue its meaning if you’re motivated to do so. Ask him and he’ll say it’s a story about not lying…

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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: John Wick: Chapter 2 [2017]

“Are you here for the Pope?” The team behind John Wick achieved success with a formula that distilled the prototypical action film down to its main points of entertainment while leaving the fat on the cutting room floor. This is why we moved back and forth through time for some scenes (the result playing out while the road there is experienced in montage) and why the economy of script successfully conveyed a hyper-real state of danger and malice from all involved. We don’t need elaboration on what we just saw…

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REVIEW: Being Charlie [2016]

“Most end up chasing it to the grave” After a string of hits in the 80s and 90s, director Rob Reiner has struggled to achieve the same success. Some of his projects post-2000 have made money and some have provided laughs, but none found staying power. It’s not all his fault. The best film during this period didn’t even garner a wide release and it was a real shame because Flipped held a worthwhile kinship to the likes of Stand By Me. So it comes as no shock to discover…

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REVIEW: Entourage [2015]

“I don’t worry. I win.” I was a big fan of “Entourage”—loved the first four seasons and remained entertained until the end. The fact Doug Ellin received backing for eight seasons is a success story in itself because you can only recycle the same story beats so often before the audience loses interest. Who cares if the movie Vinny Chase (Adrian Grenier) makes off-screen gets bigger or his role in its creation expands, ultimately he and his crew will laugh off the hate, find new girls, and move to the…

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REVIEW: Run All Night [2015]

“Me and you” There’s something to be said about knowing exactly what you’re getting and Jaume Collet-Serra is proving consistent enough to deliver that promise through his films. Whereas Luc Besson spins a revolving door of directors to helm his actioners—mostly tongue-in-cheek, over-the-top fare (besides the original hit-maker Taken) he doesn’t deem worthy of his own eye behind the lens—Collet-Serra has carefully chosen a series of scripts from disparate scribes to supply him serious thrills with which to place his visual stamp. The common denominator between them being Liam Neeson…

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REVIEW: New Year’s Eve [2011]

“Did he just snap me in a maternity ward?” So many questions I never knew I had were answered last night during a packed house screening of New Year’s Eve. A spiritual sequel to last year’s Valentine’s Day, director Garry Marshall, writer Katherine Fugate, and at least three actors playing different characters return. Besides learning the general masses savor broad-stroked comedy when it’s spoon-fed to them, I also discovered trite generic love to be their fantasy dream-come-true of choice. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised since this film received…

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REVIEW: Just Wright [2010]

“You’re da bomb dot com” It truly is a pleasure to see Queen Latifah in a starring role; the woman is good. I’ll admit, I often forget her knack of acting naturally and ability to charm her way across the screen when all I see is her doing thankless parts in Valentine’s Day or Stranger Than Fiction, both of which make you wonder why they bothered casting someone of her caliber and expense to do absolutely nothing. Her talent and constant good-natured attitude force you to pull for her character…

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REVIEW: Date Night [2010]

“And you brought your androgynous friend” It is amazing what a month can do to change one’s tastes. I’m a fan of Steve Carell, have been since his days on “The Daily Show”, but recently couldn’t get past how much I hated his role in “The Office”, not to mention having wrote off the show last season. And then there’s Tina Fey, a comedienne that I respect and thought did a wonderful job with Mean Girls, but whom I really had no opinion of—I stopped watching “SNL” when Farley died.…

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