REVIEW: The Warrior Queen of Jhansi [2019]

Everything’s become red. The part Rani Lakshmibai (Devika Bhise) played during the 1857 Indian mutiny against the British East India Company is massive. A great moment of perseverance and rebellion on its own, this queen became a much-needed symbol for whom her persecuted people and dwindling allies could rally behind. Widowed five years earlier with an adopted son set to inherit the throne, England presumed a moment of weakness to seize her kingdom as its own. Believing Jhansi’s allegiance to this point gave them cause to simply take over, they…

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REVIEW: Stratton [2017]

I’m thinking that the only two people in the universe we can trust are you and me. It must have been a tough blow to see the newly minted Man of Steel bow out of a project that potentially had franchise capabilities five days before shooting was to commence, but that’s exactly what happened when Henry Cavill left Stratton over “creative differences.” I have to give him credit for doing so, though, since interviews circa late 2014 have him sounding pretty excited about the prospects of bringing to life a…

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REVIEW: Gosford Park [2001]

“I’m the perfect servant: I have no life” Watching Gosford Park again conjured thoughts about it being quintessential Robert Altman, thoughts I couldn’t conjure in 2001 considering it was my first true experience watching one of his films. It proves the perfect evolutionary end to a way of filmmaking he began over twenty years previous with A Wedding‘s sprawling cast, overlapping dialogue, and class strife. Its Agatha Christie-type whodunit conceit lends itself perfectly to his sensibilities and aesthetic, but we can thank Bob Balaban for enthusiastically asking to collaborate for…

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REVIEW: Cinderella [2015]

“Have courage and be kind” For anyone who cannot stand singing, Disney’s latest iteration of the timeless Cinderella is catered to you. I know Chris Weitz and the other screenwriters on the project before him poured through the fairy tale’s vast lineage for every detail they could cull together into what they surely believe to be the definitive version, but what I saw onscreen is the same thing I saw as a child in cartoon form. Just without the sing-songy “Bibbidi Bobbidi Boos”. There are a couple spoken ones for…

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REVIEW: Underworld: Awakening [2012]

“My heart isn’t cold, it’s broken” I like dark, sci-fi actioners and I’m unafraid to admit it. I’ve seen every Underworld and Resident Evil in the theatre and anticipate continuing that trend until their respective series die. My interest in each comes from different motivations, though. No matter how cheesy and overly stylish the vampire versus lycan war gets, it retains its intriguing mythology as a backbone to the carnage. On the flip side, Alice’s adventures against Umbrella ratchet up the aggression for non-stop fight choreography deflecting from the fact…

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REVIEW: Nanny McPhee [2005]

“I did knock” Based on the children’s stories of Nurse Matilda by Christianna Brand, the British film Nanny McPhee tries its best to grab hold of the magic ever-present in Disney’s Mary Poppins. Liberties are taken—the number of children is changed and the mother, alive in the novels, has passed on in the film—by Oscar-winning screenwriter Emma Thompson in order to make matters as dire as possible, the need for Nanny McPhee immeasurable. So, after a seventeenth nanny is sent screaming from the Brown mansion, “They ate the baby!!”, Colin…

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TIFF08 REVIEW: Adam Resurrected [2008]

“Everyone likes the circus” Paul Schrader’s film Adam Resurrected truly caught me off guard at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. I literally had no clue for what was in store, no knowledge of the plot or anything. The credits unveil Jeff Goldblum and Willem Dafoe, two character actor stalwarts, making me think that this thing could be interesting. And then came the disturbing yet stunning close-up of Goldblum’s eyes, both staring straight at the audience. With voice-over narration, his left eye goes sideways while the right stays static. I…

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