REVIEW: The Matrix Resurrections [2021]

Desire and fear, baby. Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) are dead. There’s no denying this fact. They sacrificed themselves for the salvation of humanity, traveling to a machine city to explain to the source code that Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) had gone far enough rogue to threaten the viability of the entire experiment and thus both of their species. Trinity passed first (but not before seeing the real sun for the first time in generations). Neo went next, his deal for peace with the machines being contingent on…

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REVIEW: The Matrix Revolutions [2003]

Cookies need love like everyone does. You cannot have a film as anticlimactic and boring as The Matrix Reloaded segue into a sister project (they were produced and photographed concurrently) as propulsive (albeit very messy) as The Matrix Revolutions without realizing a mistake was made. Whether it was the filmmakers (Lana and Lilly Wachowski), the studio (Warner Bros.), or both, the decision to continue The Matrix through sequels seems to have been motivated by probable box office success rather than actual artistic merit. The idea of two new pieces set…

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REVIEW: The Matrix Reloaded [2003]

We can never see past the choices we don’t understand. Hype and nostalgia are drugs. Not only was I super psyched for The Matrix Reloaded when it came out, I remember being equally psyched upon leaving the theater. I was twenty-one, had just seen The Matrix a year or two previously (was late on that bandwagon), and had watched The Animatrix a couple times to prepare. A bunch of us got together to hit opening weekend (two of whom spoke French and confirmed that the cursing done by Lambert Wilson‘s…

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REVIEW: Girls Trip [2017]

Better recognize ya blessings. The narrator of Girls Trip has a new book called “You Can Have It All,” a title describing her ability to be both a powerful entrepreneurial woman and a loving wife simultaneously. It’s a message that Ryan Pierce (Regina Hall) has embraced as a brand alongside her former football player husband Stewart (Mike Colter), one that’s transformed her into an Oprah 2.0-type figure en route to a potentially lucrative endorsement deal from a high-end department store looking for their wholesome, successful image to speak for the…

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REVIEW: Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted [2012]

“I’m like a candy cane in a black and white movie” A round of applause for directors Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath—and Conrad Vernon who joins them to expand on his responsibilities playing Mason the monkey—because they have kind of accomplished the impossible with Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted. I was surprised at how much better Escape 2 Africa was in comparison to the original Madagascar, but never expected my level of enjoyment to rise even more with the third. Darnell—also a co-writer with Noah Baumbach—and McGrath have grown alongside…

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REVIEW: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa [2008]

“I find it pretty and slightly hypnotic” It’s amazing what happens when filmmakers craft a plot for their characters. I’m not saying I approve of sequels with lame flashback origin prologues trying to make up for the lack of story in their predecessors, but I won’t complain if such contrivances help ground the jokes into a cohesive three act structure. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa isn’t hampered by the need to remove its leads from their fabricated habitat, instead starting off the reservation and relying on everyone’s intrinsic desire to return…

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REVIEW: Madagascar [2005]

“Just smile and wave boys. Smile and wave.” Made as though in opposition to Pixar’s brand of magical storytelling, Dreamworks Animation’s Madagascar ushered in the studio’s want for broader comedy and adolescent appeal. With Shrek, they found a franchise that subverted Disney’s use of fairy tales for cinematic fodder and created a nice hybrid of laughs and story with an underdog hero inside an ugly duckling tale. But after a steady stream of Pixar work including Monsters Inc. and the previous year’s The Incredibles, you have to believe that Dreamworks…

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REVIEW: Reign Over Me [2007]

“Can we get Chinese now?” Love hurts. That, I think, is the main message Mike Binder’s newest film Reign Over Me brings across. Whether that love has caused your relationship to become stagnant, or has brought anger from the one you love cheating for years, or has broken your heart to the point of being unable to open yourself up to the world, love hurts. The great thing about this film, however, is not in its portrayal of these lost souls trying to let their past heartbreaks go, but in…

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