REVIEW: Loving Vincent [2017]

Life can even bring down the strong. The stats are incredible: 125 artists animating a feature-length film over seven years based on 800 personal letters with 65,000 individually-painted oil frames. You read those numbers and wonder if it was worth the trouble when a traditionally shot narrative featuring its faux “rotoscoped” actors would have been enough. But there’s something about the insanity of directors Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman‘s vision that mirrors the ambitiously chaotic style of a genius such as Vincent van Gogh. You couldn’t represent this enigmatic character…

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TIFF16 REVIEW: The Limehouse Golem [2017]

“Here we go again” It took fifteen years of perseverance—acquiring the rights, losing them, and reacquiring them at the behest of screenwriter Jane Goldman stoking the fire—but producer Stephen Woolley finally got Peter Ackroyd‘s 1994 novel on the big screen as The Limehouse Golem. There were some big names attached from Merchant Ivory originating plans to Woolley hoping for Neil Jordan years before developing it with Terry Gilliam. Don’t let this taint your opinion when peering upon Juan Carlos Medina‘s name on the director’s chair, though. Despite being only his…

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REVIEW: Jupiter Ascending [2015]

“The problem with astrology … total bullshit” Sometimes filmgoers simply want to be entertained and often don’t mind when the means of that fun skews towards the headier side of things—no matter how implausible, campy, or convenient that direction proves. Jupiter Ascending isn’t trying to sell itself as some grand magnum opus that cures cancer; it’s merely a new space opera from the blockbuster sci-fi duo Wachowski Starship (Andy and Lana). They were commissioned by the studio to write exactly that in the hopes of franchise viability. Do I see…

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TIFF14 REVIEW: The Riot Club [2014]

“People like us don’t make mistakes” I’ll bet Laura Wade’s 2010 play Posh is something special to see on stage. A fictionalized take on Oxford University’s exclusive Bullingdon Club—sons of wealthy Brits who attended the best boarding/prep schools before following in their patriarchy’s footsteps to enjoy vandalizing college rooms as an initiation ploy and restaurants as part of their yearly evening of hedonistic excess—it’s debaucherous centerpiece of a banquet has to be an invigorating experience live. I say this because its depiction in Lone Scherfig’s film The Riot Club (adapted…

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REVIEW: Noah [2014]

“Maybe we’ll learn to be kind” Religion likes to talk about mercy, forgiveness, and acceptance as though such grace was instilled in humanity before we decided to ignore it for carnal pleasure, bloodlust, and greed. This is why most films depicting Biblical stories go heavy on angels and enlightenment, giving pithy parables with “a-ha” lessons to take stock and deflect from the copious amounts of violence throughout its text. Yes there’s creation, salvation, good deeds unto others, and heroes to aspire towards, but don’t forget deception, cleansings, sin, and damnation.…

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