REVIEW: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King [2003]

“Some things are certain” It’s crazy how perception can be shifted over the years if your mind focuses on one specific attribute of something. I thought The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was the weakest of the trilogy after seeing it in theaters (and still do), but not by a lot. A big part of this was the fatigue of watching so many endings after a three-hour epic culmination of two previous films and two years of my life since finishing Fellowship of the Ring. And…

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REVIEW: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers [2002]

“Not idly do the leaves of Lorien fall” The second part of a trilogy is oftentimes the worst. It exists in a no man’s land without beginning or end, a bridge we must wait for and wait further to continue that cannot survive on its own. So it’s therefore a rarity when this chapter possesses the ability to tell its story in a way that allows for its own success while also augmenting the larger whole. J.R.R. Tolkien understood this when he wrote The Lord of the Rings. Even though…

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REVIEW: Lion [2016]

“Did you really look for my mum?” The Weinstein Company is lucky Google hasn’t moved into the film production game yet like tech giant Amazon (unless you count YouTube Red) or else they may not have secured the rights to one of 2016’s most upliftingly heart-wrenching movies of the year in Lion. We’re probably lucky too because had Google found a way to produce the true story of Saroo Brierley‘s improbable search themselves, a lot more time may have been spent on Google Earth’s role rather than the more pressing…

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TIFF16 REVIEW: Goldstone [2016]

“This land ain’t no place for a young girl” Another missing girl has Detective Jay Swan (Aaron Pedersen) on the move while the world continues to turn a blind eye. This time it isn’t an aboriginal, though, the aftermath of his work in Mystery Road culminating in a shootout with everyone dead but he a distant memory. The case that has him traveling to Goldstone concerns a young Chinese girl, her place in the desert a curiosity Jay cannot ignore. Haunted by demons that go much farther back than anything…

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REVIEW: 300: Rise of an Empire [2014]

“Fear his freedom!” This is what a copy of a copy looks like. It pretends to be equal to the original—and in some aspects proves to be exactly the same—yet arrives seven years after everything its groundbreaking ancestor provided was expanded and evolved upon. I loved 300 and gave it a perfect score despite some issues because it was so fresh and exhilarating. It showed how the capabilities of cinema could be pushed even further than Frank Miller‘s other adaptation Sin City, breathing life into a dark and gruesome graphic…

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REVIEW: Top of the Lake, Parts 1-3 [2013]

“You know, you were my first kiss. Was I yours?” A young boy on a bus—this is the indelible mark left by the first three episodes of Jane Campion and Gerard Lee‘s miniseries Top of the Lake and it sticks less than five minutes in. Anonymous throughout these three hours of crime drama, this boy is the only one who seems to care about twelve-year old Tui (Jacqueline Joe) after she walks into their small New Zealand town’s cursed lake. His text “R U OK” goes answered as she is…

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REVIEW: Australia [2008]

“Make the land sing” It’s been seven years since Baz Luhrmann’s astonishing Moulin Rouge! Years that included the dissolution of his planned Alexander the Great film, after Oliver Stone beat him to the punch, and casting changes that plagued the long preproduction of Australia, his new sprawling epic in the country’s frontier during WWII. Known for his visual imagery and artistic bent, the trailers and poster materials for his fourth film seemed a bit uninspired. Much like Peter Jackson with King Kong, it appeared that Luhrmann decided to build his…

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REVIEW: 300 [2007]

“Sparta!” This is what film was destined to evolve to. After decades of directors making storyboards as reference before filming and the slow building trend to adapt comic book work, we finally have the ultimate fusion of both. Sure Sin City did amazing things with the medium and created frame-by-frame transfers from drawing to celluloid, however, it was still shot as a movie first and foremost. Zack Snyder has done something different with 300; he has created a true work of art. Frank Miller’s story was one steeped in truth…

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