REVIEW: Midsommar [2019]

No higher and no hotter. It must have been one helluva break-up since no run-of-the-mill, mutual uncoupling could inspire someone to pull a complete reversal like writer/director Ari Aster did. He initially turned down an idea that some Swedish producers brought him to bring to life. He didn’t see the purpose in creating some random slasher set in their Scandinavian nation simply because they were offering the money to do so. Aster only circled back when the messiness of his relationship’s demise provided a reason to get some characters there…

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REVIEW: Detroit [2017]

“Burn it down” The title may be presumptuous enough to broadly call itself Detroit, but make no mistake that Kathryn Bigelow‘s latest film is very much about the Algiers Motel incident on the night of July 25th, 1967. Screenwriter Mark Boal allows for some prologue exposition before reaching that fateful evening—setting up the events that sparked the city’s five-day long 12th Street Riot—but nothing more. We witness the raid conducted on a club operating without a liquor license, watch the streets erupt with fury in response, and move between archival…

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REVIEW: Transformers: Age of Extinction [2014]

“I know you have a conscience because you’re an inventor like me” There’s a problem when the first, expository-heavy hour of a three-hour Transformers action extravaganza shines above the rest. Michael Bay has looked upon this franchise from the start as an excuse to put explosions and destruction onscreen alongside cheesy and sometimes offensive comedy to satisfy the young children of parents (uninterested in shielding their ears from the oft swear word) that grew up in the 80s. He excelled at this mix with the first installment, casting the sarcastically…

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TIFF16 REVIEW: Free Fire [2017]

“Talk about a fucking sledgehammer to crack a nut” TIFF’s Colin Geddes was correct when introducing Ben Wheatley‘s bottle episode of a film Free Fire with the words: “This will wake you up.” The gunfire alone risks perforating your eardrums as John Denver blares from a 1978-era van’s eight-track, but I think it’s the surprising wealth of comedy that ultimately gets the blood pumping and synapses triggering. Wheatley and wife/writer Amy Jump‘s latest isn’t for everyone—fair warning to Hardcore Henry detractors, Sharlto Copley refuses to quit—but those willing to break…

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REVIEW: Sing Street [2016]

“Happy sad” Writer/director John Carney emotionally stripped ex-The Frames bandmate Glen Hansard bare in his 2007 feature film Once and now he does it to himself. The hiccup that was an attempt to recreate lightning in a bottle despite the conscious addition of polish and star appeal with Begin Again is thankfully a distant memory because the musical dramatist has again struck gold by sticking to his roots, his home, and his heart. A semi-autobiographical tale about a young boy’s life being upturned in a way that pushes him towards…

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TIFF12 REVIEW: What Richard Did [2012]

“Failure’s not an option” Jealousy could be the most destructive force in youth culture. With hormones raging to drive a need for companionship to help prevail through high school and ready for the next step in life, the power lust, love, convenience, or whatever it is that takes the wheel possesses is never easily overcome. The darkness of anger boiling over when someone incapable of understanding the intricacies of life will take over and cause actions completely out of character from the role model, compassionate soul you have begun to…

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