REVIEW: Mary Poppins Returns [2018]

It’s today or never. Not all live-action/animated hybrids from Disney of yesteryear live up to the nostalgic memories of youth (I’m looking at you Pete’s Dragon), but Mary Poppins is an exception. Maybe it was revisiting it after seeing the underrated Saving Mr. Banks for added context concerning craft and motivation or maybe it’s simply that its message, adventure, and fun combine to form a film that literally stands up to the test of time. Let’s face it: you don’t retain the same reverence through multiple generations over five decades…

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REVIEW: A Quiet Place [2018]

I have always loved you. It’s always a risk going to a film on opening night—especially horror. The genre attracts a younger audience looking to giggle their way through the experience, oftentimes proving so obnoxiously overcompensating in their fear preparation during the preshow trailers and commercials that I wish I stayed home. So it was with trepidation that I went to see the first Thursday showing of John Krasinski‘s critically acclaimed A Quiet Place, hoping it’d be sparsely attended with most waiting for Friday night. Instead I found a packed…

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REVIEW: The Girl on the Train [2016]

“I’m not the girl I used to be” I like unreliable narrators because it’s fun to witness actions unfolding without knowing whether anything onscreen is real. The person could be a liar, schizophrenic, a secondary source ignorant to pertinent facts, or simply mistaken. So I got excited upon learning of Paula Hawkins‘ The Girl on the Train and its lead Rachel (Emily Blunt). Here was a character who literally knew nothing but what she was told. A raging alcoholic prone to nightly blackouts, her reality becomes the stories told in…

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REVIEW: The Huntsman: Winter’s War [2016]

“Do not love. It’s a sin and I will not forgive it.” They tricked me. Yes, the deflective, vague, and completely false marketing campaign had me believing—no matter how slim the chances were considering my lack of feeling anything for Snow White and the Huntsman—that The Huntsman: Winter’s War had something special under its sleeves. It did away with the least interesting character of the first movie (thank you Kristen Stewart/Rupert Sanders sex scandal), decided to go prequel on us with the Huntsman’s back story (Eric is his name), and…

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REVIEW: Sicario [2015]

“For now let’s just keep an eye on the time” There should be no illusions that Denis Villeneuve‘s Sicario will deliver a story we haven’t seen before. Any action thriller set at the Mexican border between El Paso and Juarez is bringing heavy artillery, copious drugs, and amoral warlords on both sides of the fence/law. First-time screenwriter Taylor Sheridan of “Sons of Anarchy” fame knows this and therefore decides to place a slightly different spin on the proceedings. Rather than watch from the vantage point of those looking to deal…

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REVIEW: Into the Woods [2014]

“… And home before dark.” The involvement of Disney on any adaptation of beloved source material can’t help being a double-edged sword. On the one hand their clout and financial backing will ensure the production looks fantastic and attracts the type of talent worthy of the property. On the other their brand brings with it a very specific morality code and target demographic. What this means is that something as dark as Into the Woods and its satirical take on all our favorite fairy tales playing up the lecherous sexuality…

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REVIEW: Edge of Tomorrow [2014]

“The only thing missing is you” When a script is placed on The Black List—an unauthorized survey of the “best” unproduced screenplays making the rounds—it’s generally a calling card for the writer. Many of these works come off to huge success and springboard the author to great heights in hopes more box office winners lay dormant inside his or her mind. With the highly entertaining Edge of Tomorrow, however, this isn’t quite the case. While based on a Japanese young adult novel by Hiroshi Sakurazaka entitled All You Need Is…

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Posterized Propaganda June 2014: ‘Snowpiercer,’ ‘The Rover,’ ‘Venus in Fur’ & More

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. It’s no surprise a month like June doesn’t possess the best posters for blockbuster releases. No one readying to visit a theater for summer popcorn carnage cares if the advertisement…

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REVIEW: Arthur Newman [2013]

“Family just crushes your heart, doesn’t it?” Sometimes you must leave in order to return and accept the responsibility of a family easier to leave behind. Life is rough and it has a nasty little mean streak intent on derailing dreams and aspirations to test one’s ability to cope and prevail. Who doesn’t want to pack up a bag and take to the road with all his problems growing smaller by the minute until they’re erased forever? Who wouldn’t want to hit that reset button to forget regrets and guilt…

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REVIEW: Looper [2012]

“I gave you something that was yours” Like he did film noir (Brick) and the grift (The Brothers Bloom), writer/director Rian Johnson has infused his uniquely personal touch into the science fiction genre with Looper. Time travel as a concept isn’t new, but how it’s handled will provide varying degrees of success. Generally utilized by the rich or hubristic scientists stumbling upon it, the technology has become a fantasy tool for adventure, discovery, and the righting of personal wrongs. It’s this third form that Johnson tinkers with inside a 2042…

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REVIEW: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen [2012]

“In that case I can fish” Much like how an absurd notion of satisfying a wealthy Sheikh’s whim to bring British salmon into the Yemen could actually occur—so Anglo-Middle East relations can attain a meaningless victory against a highly destructive war—the film adaptation of Paul Torday‘s novel Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is a feel good tale able to put a smile on your face. The entertainment industry has flooded us with Arab villainy the past decade, so watching two posh Englanders uproot their lives to help facilitate the impossible…

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