REVIEW: Now You See Me 2 [2016]

“You may not be having fun, but I am” The problem with giving a film steeped in misdirection a sequel is that the mysteries have already been uncovered. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle to achieve the same success. Now You See Me had a great magic premise wherein the theatrical audience was as in the dark as the fictional audience attending The Four Horsemen’s performances. We knew something big was happening, but weren’t privy to the plan. We watched the intrigue, received truth from an illusion-debunker,…

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REVIEW: A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas [2011]

“They serve pancakes in hell” When your leads are a pair of co-eds who love pot and desire the delicious goodness of White Castle burgers to satisfy the inevitable munchies, throwing a litany of oddball situations and raunchy characters their way makes complete sense. It’s an asinine world populated by one-note figures somehow working within their contextual limitations to induce laughter from an audience’s need of immaturity’s release. As a result, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle was a brilliant stoner comedy with longevity, its surprising success birthing the…

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REVIEW: The Killer Inside Me [2010]

“It’s always lightest just before the dark” Nobody is more across the board genre-wise than director Michael Winterbottom. Who else could traverse the broad canvases of Steve Coogan shenanigans, Guantanamo Bay documentation, the human condition of emotion in the face of terrorism, and an unsimulated meld of sex and rock n’ roll? Shake those sensibilities up with screenwriter John Curran’s penchant for thought-provoking material, (this year’s Stone is much more than the cookie cutter its trailer advertises), and the pulp crime styling of novelist Jim Thompson and you’ll need to…

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FILM MARATHON: Terrence Malick #3 – The Thin Red Line [1998]

“The only things that are permanent is dying and the Lord” Pure, unfiltered, raw emotion. That is what’s front and center in Terrence Malick’s adaptation of James Jones’s autobiographical novel The Thin Red Line. The term itself may describe a thinly spread line of defense holding position in war, but I think the metaphor towards a man’s tenuous grasp on humanity is also apt. It’s a battle for Guadalcanal during World War II, an island being used as an airstrip by the Japanese and a crucial piece of property for…

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REVIEW: Shutter Island [2010]

“Retreat isn’t something you consider an option” Very rarely does a film meet, let alone exceed, the expectations of the piece of literature it is based upon. With a director like Martin Scorsese, however, you do hold out hope that it will at least come close. But with postponements from the Oscar wheelhouse of a fall release and the move to a dump month such as February, concern weighed very heavy. Maybe the departure in subject matter caused the venerable auteur to falter a bit, unsure of how to handle…

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REVIEW: The Fourth Kind [2009]

“Even with hypnosis, it’s black” I don’t care if The Fourth Kind utilizes real footage or not, it’s a very powerful film. All the marketing materials allude to the fact that filmmaker Olatunde Osunsanmi interviewed psychologist Abigail Tyler and, by using actual footage of her hypnotizing patients and herself, recreated scenes to give the audience the full story of what is happening in Nome, Alaska. The technique is very effective—excising names, showing the actors’ names and who they are playing, (mostly changed to withhold identities anyways), showing the “real” Tyler…

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REVIEW: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button [2008]

“It was nice to have met you” It’s an unlikely source, but an effective one—David Fincher giving us a heartbreaking tale of love discovered, lost, found, and forever enduring. The man responsible for bringing to screen the ultra-sick mind of a serial killer in Seven, the warped sensibilities of Chuck Palahniuk with Fight Club, and the dark streets of a city in fear with Zodiac has crafted a beautifully lyrical film of love and its always-difficult journey. Based on a short story from F. Scott Fitzgerald, screenwriter Eric Roth has…

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REVIEW: Shooter [2007]

“I’m gonna see it through” Director Antoine Fuqua has a style and filmography that I have enjoyed in the past. With Training Day and King Arthur, he delivered some action packed movies that had both story and popcorn pyrotechnics. I will say that after seeing the trailer for his new film Shooter, I was a bit underwhelmed, but until I went to one of his works and was not entertained, I would at least give it a shot. I’m glad I did as Shooter ended up being a well told,…

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REVIEW: Zodiac [2007]

“I am not Avery” Two David Fincher films in two years? Is that even possible? With The Curious Case of Benjamin Button finishing filming this year for a 2008 release, we get the director’s sixth film, Zodiac. While we do get some vintage Fincher style throughout the proceedings, this is very different from his other movies. As much a real life story film as one can be, Zodiac goes through the years chronicling the hunt for the serial killer that got away. There isn’t the graphic gore quality we’ve become…

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