REVIEW: Allied [2016]

“Look for the hummingbird” Sometimes that story you’ve had bouncing around your head needs time to gestate and your career the opportunity to blossom before it can be released upon the world. For Steven Knight it was a bit of both. Already nominated for an Oscar back in 2004 for the brilliant Dirty Pretty Things, the screenwriter soon wrote Eastern Promises before directing the intriguing one-man show Locke. A couple underrated gems (Pawn Sacrifice), some duds (Seventh Son), and a critically acclaimed television series later (“Peaky Blinders”), he finally put…

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REVIEW: Certain Women [2016]

“She’s my lawyer. I’ve got reason to kill her.” I didn’t love Wendy and Lucy, the only Kelly Reichardt film I had thus far seen. The slow pacing and stripped-bare plot allowed for Michelle Williams to deliver a magnificent performance, but I found myself undeniably bored by the steady stream of troubles chipping away at her resolve. This reaction dissuaded me from Reichardt’s other features, but the almost universal critical praise—yet again—for her latest Certain Women dragged me back into her orbit to see if it would strike a louder…

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REVIEW: The Man from U.N.C.L.E. [2015]

“Inside every Kraut is an American trying to get out” Writer/director Guy Ritchie is like that band all my friends dismiss because they think every song in their discography sounds the same to which I reply, “But I like that song.” With the exception of Swept Away—because I’ve never seen any reason to actually watch it—I’ve enjoyed all of the high-octane, visually kinetic action comedies he’s brought forth into this world. Whether an original Cockney tale like his earlier work or a Hollywood property adapted to his sensibilities of late,…

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REVIEW: The Boxtrolls [2014]

“We’re exterminating justice!” If it didn’t take Laika so long to produce a feature film due to the meticulous process inherent with their stop-motion aesthetic, I have to believe they’d be as prolifically successful as Pixar. I might say I even like their sensibilities more because while they too deal with morality lessons every child should have an outlet to deal with, they do it without fear of the darker bits of humanity coming through. It’s not that fare like Coraline and ParaNorman are inappropriate for young children—on the contrary,…

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REVIEW: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones [2013]

“What does that symbol mean?” Another Young Adult fantasy fiction trilogy to throw into the Hollywood machine, Cassandra Clare‘s The Mortal Instruments gives Sony a property looking for broad appeal via its similarities to the darker Harry Potters, the overwrought love triangle in Twilight, and a PG-13 filtered “True Blood” collection of every supernatural species you can imagine (besides zombies of course, duh, stupid). It’s a world of Shadow Hunters—angel descendants who battle demons to protect the Mundanes (Muggles) unaware of the fight like you and me. Using ancient runes…

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REVIEW: Lincoln [2012]

“This isn’t usual, Mr. Pendleton. This is history.” Images of brother fighting brother, President Lincoln orating the Emancipation Proclamation, and his tragic demise at the end of John Wilkes Booth’s gun are conjured when most think about the Civil War. For many the abolition of slavery was merely one of the resulting terms of surrender on behalf of the Confederates, the goal of the Union and the Republican Party from the start finally becoming reality. But the details of this historic event are never really explained save a couple dates,…

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REVIEW: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows [2011]

“Careful what you fish for” I am and probably always will be a Guy Ritchie apologist. I blamed Madonna for Swept Away and even bought a Region 2 DVD of Revolver in case it never made its way across the Atlantic. So when the director signed on to do a blockbuster studio version of Sherlock Holmes, I wasn’t sure what to think. On one hand it’s success would mean the hoped for sequel to RocknRolla had a better chance of seeing the light of day, but on the other it…

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REVIEW: The Ward [2010]

“Why am I here?” Considering Michael and Shawn Rasmussen wrote The Ward, I think it is a little misleading to preempt the title with its director’s name. To say it is John Carpenter’s The Ward makes audiences believe they’ve been transported to the heyday of his B-movie magnificence of the 70s and 80s. Back then this auteur was a maestro of genre-fare, reinventing the horror with Halloween and adding his own personal flair to actioners such as Escape from New York. Recently, however, one can’t say he’s been as iconic…

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REVIEW: Extraordinary Measures [2010]

“I guess we dodged that blessing” It is interesting to see a company such as CBS throw their hat in the ring of motion pictures, especially with the financial climate of the industry so muggy. I guess all that money from “CSI” and its spin-offs have landed enough cash in the coffers to lay the groundwork for what is promising to be a few movies a year with high-end talent. Add to that the marketing dream of having your parent company as a television station ripe for advertising during lucrative…

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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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