Top Ten Films of 2017

We pretty much knew last year’s Best Picture Oscars race was coming down to La La Land and Moonlight right after the completion of the Toronto International Film Festival in September. But while there’s something to be said about the strength of films able to ascend to frontrunner position, I can’t help loving the idea of heading into March without a clue as to who might win. Ask ten different critics what their favorite of 2017 is and I’d estimate hearing at least eight unique titles. There’s a level of excitement to this reality…

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REVIEW: Baby Driver [2017]

“They call. I go.” I’ll admit that writer/director Edgar Wright‘s departure from Ant-Man was met with mixed feelings on my part. On one hand I was disappointed that we’d never see what he could have done with the material—something I had anticipated for many years. On the other, however, was the realization that I’d rather only see work devoid of outside interference when his name was attached. If the rumors were true about Marvel wanting to rewrite the script he and Joe Cornish crafted to make changes they saw as…

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FANTASIA15 REVIEW: Ava’s Possessions [2016]

“Did anyone call in sick for me?” When the industry is inundated with supernatural horror redundancies like it has for the past two decades, work like Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg‘s Shaun of the Dead or Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead‘s Spring are necessary to kept things from going stale. A point when audiences simply stop caring does exist. It’s apparently much farther out from the fad’s onset than you’d think America’s attention-deficiency would tolerate, but it will eventually arrive. Perhaps this extended longevity can be attributed to just such…

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REVIEW: Ant-Man [2015]

“Just a tall-tale” You can tell as soon as it happens where the Marvel machine broke Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish, the two guys who had been developing Ant-Man to their singular vision since before the Cinematic Universe’s cohesive arc began. It’s a funny cameo with an Avenger, one where Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) attempts to steal a device that’s supposedly important to burgling the main prize for which Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) recruited him in the first place. Cute, entertaining, and paid off by the second of two brilliantly…

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REVIEW: Open Windows [2014]

“I’m just getting even” The first thing I think of when I hear the name Nacho Vigalondo is “high concept”. From his fantastic time traveling debut thriller Timecrimes to a romantic dramedy set against the backdrop of an alien invasion with Extraterrestrial, you know you’re in for a unique genre treat whenever the Spaniard goes behind the camera. His third film Open Windows continues the trend by wearing a gimmick on its sleeve that forces every frame to be viewed off of an electronic screen. Through a suspenseful cat and…

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REVIEW: The World’s End [2013]

“Lets Boo-Boo” The Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy—a label jokingly coined during the press tour for its second entry—has come to a close with a mint chocolate chip wrapper flapping in the wind. Following horror comedy Shaun of the Dead and bromance actioner Hot Fuzz, The World’s End‘s sci-fi apocalypse makes good use of its title with some fire and brimstone and robots spraying blue blood. The old “Spaced” team took a hiatus when writer/director Edgar Wright delved into comic adaptation Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and writer/star Simon Pegg and…

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The 85th Oscars recap through tweets …

@jaredmobarak • and the #Oscars begin … #[email protected] • SUCCESS!! Tommy Lee Jones smiles! #[email protected] • poor Don Cheadle #Oscars13 Welcome to the 85th annual Academy Awards from the newly renamed Dolby Theatre. Bankruptcy is a drag, ain’t it Kodak? Hopes were high after host Seth MacFarlane‘s surprisingly hilarious Ted made me wonder if the dude wasn’t the real deal after all. A poor man’s Ricky Gervais, the Academy was probably wise in going for the watered-down Americanized version of unbridled snark because one would think the “Family Guy” creator…

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Picking Winners at the 85th Annual Academy Awards

Supporting Actress:Amy Adams: The MasterSally Field: LincolnAnne Hathaway: Les MisérablesHelen Hunt: The SessionsJacki Weaver: Silver Linings Playbook William Altreuter: It often seems to me that the Best Supporting categories are where the most interesting things are to be found in the Academy Award nominations, and this year is proving me right. What we often get—especially with Best Actress in a Supporting Role—are performances that really carry the movie, even though we tend not to notice. We also get actresses showing us what they can do against type, and that display of craft and professionalism is frequently rewarded. The…

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REVIEW: The Adventures of Tintin [2011]

“Only a true Haddock will discover the secret of the Unicorn” Considering I started conjuring images of an Indian sidekick named Hadji when first made aware of news Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson were directing a The Adventures of Tintin trilogy, my knowledge and therefore enthusiasm in the project was somewhat lacking. Once I put my head straight, removed any “Johnny Quest” infusions, and feasted on what looked like a gorgeous animated motion capture world, my interest piqued more. It wasn’t until watching the silhouetted credit sequence—recalling Spielberg’s Catch Me…

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REVIEW: Attack the Block [2011]

“They’re four foot high, blind, n’ got kicked to def by a bunch a kids. We got nuthin’ to worry ’bout” After the extraordinary success Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg’s Shaun of the Dead’s comedy/horror mash-up found internationally, it’s no surprise their friend Joe Cornish’s feature directorial debut has achieved equally staggering results. Attack the Block is a mix of horror, comedy, and science fiction as it depicts a gang of adolescent hoodlums taking on an alien invasion in Brixton, South London. Right after the kids mug a young nurse…

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REVIEW: Paul [2011]

“And that’s Jenga!” If I hadn’t already realized this fact last year after loving Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, I knew it following my screening of Paul—Edgar Wright is the lynchpin of success for the quartet of he, Nira Park, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost. It began on British television with the hilarious homage-driven “Spaced” and continued onto the big screen in two very funny, very over-the-top, and very British films. Replacement director Greg Mottola is no slouch—he brought us Superbad and Adventureland after all—he just can’t fill Wright’s shoes…

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