REVIEW: Amulet [2020]

Forward isn’t the only way. There are other roads. Trust is earned, not given. Just because you believe you’re a just person who’d do everything in your power to protect the less fortunate doesn’t mean they should blindly provide their allegiance. They need to know for sure that what you say and do is true. They need to know that you aren’t acting one way via deception in order to act another way later out of some warped notion of entitlement. There are too many people in this world who…

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REVIEW: Paddington 2 [2017]

Where all your dreams come true. In true children’s book fashion, Paddington’s (Ben Whishaw) continuing adventures in London alongside the Brown family (Hugh Bonneville‘s Henry, Sally Hawkins‘ Mary, Madeleine Harris‘ Judy, Samuel Joslin‘s Jonathan, and Julie Walters‘ Mrs. Bird) would of course stem from something as seemingly innocuous as procuring a birthday present for his Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton). The activity will prove more difficult than anticipated, a villain will be introduced, and a mystery uncovered through an enjoyable series of pratfalls and error. This is exactly the stuff that…

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REVIEW: Paddington [2014]

Does anyone know where I can find a home? I remember reading Michael Bond‘s Paddington Bear books when I was a kid and might have even had a duffle coat-wearing stuffed animal too. But I couldn’t tell you a thing about those stories if you put a gun to my head and asked. I recall a little more about The Berenstain Bears and a bit more than that about Teddy Ruxpin—apparently bears just didn’t leave a huge impression upon me. Even so, however, I worried about a live action film…

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REVIEW: Pride [2014]

“Oh good. I haven’t spoken 1950s in ages.” If you’re going to make a film with a sprawling ensemble of characters equally unique and important to the point where your only true lead is a message of solidarity and comradery itself, it’s a good move to look towards the theater. Pride is the screenwriting debut of actor/playwright Stephen Beresford and only the second film from Broadway director Matthew Warchus with fifteen-years in between and yet it feels like they’ve both been working in the industry for ages. They have wrangled…

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REVIEW: Maleficent [2014]

“Goodbye, Beastie” Let’s be honest, Disney’s Sleeping Beauty is a bit of a bore. I remember my sister often wanting to watch when we were kids and me having none of it until the end’s fire and brimstone and menacing dragon spawned from the tale’s creepy, wide-smiling villain. Did I understand the fairy’s reason for cursing the princess? No. I’m not quite sure I realized the political ramifications of her baby shower invite getting lost in the mail until it was explained to me last night after watching Maleficent—the Mouse…

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REVIEW: Arthur Christmas [2011]

“In Santa We Believe” After the box office failure of Flushed Away, I was worried Aardman Animations may have been dead. With the fire that consumed thirty years of their history and the realization mainstream Americans simply don’t ‘get’ thew British-tinged dry humor, the Academy Award for Wallace & Gromit didn’t seem to prove enough. But Dreamworks’ loss became Sony’s gain as the studios worked out a three-year deal to keep on creating. And although the stop-motion has taken a backseat for computer graphics—don’t worry, their next one is good…

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REVIEW: Another Year [2010]

“The bonding of the jilted” Four seasons of love, laughs, and family for the Hepples is a year of angst, tragedy, and depression for those surrounding them. As such, Mike Leigh’s new film is aptly titled Another Year, showing us a day or two from each quarter spanning Spring to Winter. Tom and Gerri—yes, they see the joke in the pairing—are the exception to prove the rule, a happily married couple who do everything together, have a wonderful relationship with their son Joe, and truly enjoy their jobs as a…

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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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REVIEW: Taking Woodstock [2009]

“Like ants making thunder” Truthfully, I believe that the thing so many detractors point to concerning Taking Woodstock is my favorite part of the whole endeavor. I thought that the trailers did a very good job of explaining that Ang Lee was telling a story about the behind the scenes construction of the festival, using Elliot Tiber’s story of saving his parents motel and putting their sleepy little town on the map. If you want to see the concert and the music and the artists, rent Woodstock the documentary. Even…

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REVIEW: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix [2007]

“Naughty children deserve to be punished” **Spoilers Included** For starters: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was by far my least favorite book in the series. Not much happens until the end—which is actually pretty good. There is a lot of repetition through the beginning of the story and Harry’s adolescent anger and temper just get plain annoying. After enjoying how the fourth book was adapted into film, I was hoping we’d get more of the same here with a distilled version where main plot is paramount and…

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