TIFF20 REVIEW: Nomadland [2020]

Don’t worry about me. I’m okay. The film opens with words too many Americans will understand: “On January 31, 2011, US Gypsum shut down its plant in Empire, Nevada after 88 years.” One night there’s hope in tomorrow because you have a well-paying job and a community to rally around. The next day it’s gone. Literally. Just six months later the town’s zip code was discontinued, its houses abandoned. In a post-capitalist society where the rich get richer and the poor get even poorer, the latter can’t simply stick around…

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REVIEW: Fast Color [2019]

I want us to try again. It’s a gift that has been carried down through generations, always from mother to daughter. It can break apart any object they can physically see into its core molecules, swirling them around in the air until ready to reform as whatever it was beforehand. A bowl, cigarette, and even a door if need be can get dematerialized through sheer will of spirit—a parlor trick on its surface with the potential for more. But what if “more” means corruption? What if “more” means harming outsiders…

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TIFF16 REVIEW: American Pastoral [2016]

“You told her to bring the war home” If my limited experience with Philip Roth adaptations is any indication, his novels deal in emotion. There are existential crises concerning identity involved, each a character study about life’s impact beyond the surface experiences propelling them forward. This isn’t something easily translated from page to screen when so much consists of internalized motivation. You must really look into the text, ignoring plot to find the core reactionary cause for everything occurring. If a daughter’s disappearance indelibly changes every second of her parents’…

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REVIEW: Godzilla [2014]

“Let them fight” The reason Gareth Edwards‘ rebooted Godzilla proves so effective is that it retains the thematic essence of its 1954 ancestor, Gojira. Still an over-arching metaphor for mankind’s hubris and wont to destroy everything it doesn’t understand out of fear, Dave Callaham, Max Borenstein, and multiple script doctors simply found ways to alter the DNA so it could be relevant for an American demographic rather than Japanese. I’ll be honest: we aren’t a country that enjoys watching foreign lands painted as the victim while we look on with…

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REVIEW: Lincoln [2012]

“This isn’t usual, Mr. Pendleton. This is history.” Images of brother fighting brother, President Lincoln orating the Emancipation Proclamation, and his tragic demise at the end of John Wilkes Booth’s gun are conjured when most think about the Civil War. For many the abolition of slavery was merely one of the resulting terms of surrender on behalf of the Confederates, the goal of the Union and the Republican Party from the start finally becoming reality. But the details of this historic event are never really explained save a couple dates,…

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REVIEW: The Bourne Legacy [2012]

“We are morally indefensible and absolutely necessary” There was bound to be fallout after Jason Bourne ran amok avenging his girlfriend’s death and shutting down the government agencies that turned him into a cold-blooded killer. With his amnesia-induced morality’s push towards righteousness and its ability to turn executives like Pam Landy (Joan Allen) sympathetic to his plight, fixers behind the scenes of this CIA blunder realized public knowledge of Operations Treadstone and Blackbriar could risk exposing the myriad other similar programs being performed by high-level security officials doing their best…

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REVIEW: Fracture [2007]

“Helpless actually” “Think of yourself,” says David Strathairn’s DA Joe Lobruto. To which Willie Beachum replies, “I’ve done enough of that.” It is a great exchange towards the end of the film that expresses beautifully the mind set of this young hotshot attorney, thinking he could sleepwalk through his last case in the public sector before jumping ship to the lucrative private one. Ryan Gosling is the kind of actor that can pull off the confidence of a man on top of the world, while also the haunted one that…

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REVIEW: My Blueberry Nights [2007]

“I decided to take the longest way to cross the street” I really need to start watching more films by Wong Kar Wai. I adore In the Mood for Love, yet I still have not found the time to view its sequel 2046. Instead, I chose to take a gander at his English-language debut, My Blueberry Nights. This is a fantastic film; I don’t care what people say. It is a road trip journey through the landscape of the soul, overcoming that which did not work in life in order…

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REVIEW: The Bourne Ultimatum [2007]

“He just drove off the roof” I have never been one to shy away from saying that most action films do nothing for me. Most times they’re blatant vehicles to blow stuff up, show off sexy models, and throw any semblance of reality or intelligence out the window. With that said, however, the Bourne series has been fantastic. Doug Liman ushered in a new take on action by using a more cinema verite style, showing the fights in full force while making our super spy someone we can relate to…

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