REVIEW: The Blind Side [2009]

“With God All Things Are Possible” Everyone enjoys a feel good story, especially if it’s based on fact. When the main character of the true life tale is a young man saved from the squalor of gang life and an inevitable bullet to be loved, educated, and sent on his merry way towards a career in the NFL, well you’ve got film adaptation written all over it. That is exactly what Warner Brothers thought when optioning Michael Oher’s past, via a book by Michael Lewis, and casting Sandra Bullock as…

Read More

REVIEW: Halloween II [2009]

“Hit the bricks Dorothy” The second Halloween II—same name, no relation at all, (or so I hear, never saw the other). Rob Zombie seems to have decided that his selling out and doing a Hollywood budgeted horror remake left a little to be desired. So, for his second go-round, he went back to the well and what got him on the shortlist to even direct that first film—creepy carnie mayhem. This film is not good, by any means, yet it does have some really great style and aesthetic. Unfortunately, it…

Read More

REVIEW: Appaloosa [2008]

“Everything eats meat likes a dead buffalo” It kind of flew under the radar, but Ed Harris’ film Appaloosa is a pretty solid western. As only his second foray behind the camera, after the good art biography Pollock, Harris has upped the stakes a bit in terms of scope and execution. Sure an old time western set around New Mexico territory isn’t all that posh and expensive, but it is impressive nonetheless. Between the costumes and the authenticity needed to make it real, something that HBO showed was possible with…

Read More

TIFF08 REVIEW: The Narrows [2008]

“He owns you now” Call me a sucker, but I highly enjoy films about the criminal underworld of a city like Brooklyn; all those seedy little details that you can imagine actually happening right before your eyes. I was a fan of the short-lived tv series “The Black Donnellys” and really like The Yards and to a lesser extent Sleepers. The new film The Narrows plays with the same types of storylines as these other works, namely centering on one young man, trying to stay good while having one foot…

Read More

REVIEW: Hitman [2007]

“That’s not a woman” Now I have never played nor really heard anything about the video game for which Hitman is based off of. Besides the whole “hitman” aspect, I guess it is a first-person shooter and pretty popular. Right now, the only reference I have is of the screenshot used in the film, (honestly was that type of nod really necessary?), but from that it seems they at least got the title character’s look down. As for the rest, I wouldn’t be surprised if it actually gets everything right.…

Read More

REVIEW: Gone Baby Gone [2007]

“Be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove” Real life is not known for its happy endings. Author Dennis Lehane seems to understand this fact and is not afraid to tell his stories with that mentality. The last novel of his to be given the film treatment was Mystic River. A great movie from Clint Eastwood was the result, showing the deep bonds between family and friends in Boston amidst horrifying tragedy. While the story and acting were top-notch there, something about the recent adaptation of Gone Baby…

Read More

REVIEW: The Illusionist [2006]

“Where the dark arts still hold sway” There is a lot of buzz going around movie circles about this being the year of magic. With Christopher Nolan’s The Prestige garnering much anticipation, the lesser-known The Illusionist, by director Neil Burger, hits screens first. Trailers show that while it appears to be the more accurate movie in terms of period and realism, it doesn’t seem to have the flash or grave consequence as Nolan’s film. While The Prestige is a movie about rivalry and mysticism, The Illusionist is a love story…

Read More

REVIEW: The Proposition [2006]

“Australia … what fresh hell is this?” Late nineteenth century Australia seems to have been quite a hellish place indeed if we are to believe what Nick Cave and John Hillcoat have given us here. From the unflinching, seeming authenticity, the weight of conflicting emotion on the part of each and every human being portrayed, and the sheer beauty of it—pain, suffering, and all—I won’t be the one to dispute it. I must admit that I have never seen a western before. None of the classics—John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Sergio…

Read More