REVIEW: Pet Sematary [2019]

I just wanted to be a family again. Remakes are often thankless jobs because you’re stuck trying to live up to or best your predecessor while also creating something wholly different. Most attempts based on literary works are able to fall back on the clichéd notion of “returning to the source” as though the first adaptation was inexcusably unfaithful. But when you’re following a script written by the novel’s author, that excuse holds zero weight. So Jeff Buhler (Matt Greenberg‘s draft was apparently changed enough to downgrade his credit to…

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REVIEW: Serenity [2019]

Go catch that fish, Dill. **Spoilers** I was rooting for Steven Knight‘s Serenity long before sitting down at the theater. Why wouldn’t I? The trailer had it looking like one of my favorite types of films—namely the sort wherein what we see and experience ultimately proves to be the inner-workings of a troubled, delusional mind. I clung to this belief that there would be more than meets the eye even tighter upon hearing how stars Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway got angry at Aviron Pictures for canceling their planned press…

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TIFF18 REVIEW: First Man [2018]

It’s kinda neat The non-controversy surrounding Damien Chazelle‘s First Man shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows how political parties have appropriated art into their agendas since the dawn of time. Of course they’d glom onto the decision to ignore the lunar flag planting as some “un-American” thing rather than read the script, watch the movie, or ask for clarification—options which would have all supplied insight into the reality that Chazelle and screenwriter Josh Singer aren’t telling the story of the moon landing. That goal might be the driving force behind what’s…

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REVIEW: Winchester [2018]

I died. You wouldn’t think to use the word timely to describe a horror movie about a place known as the Winchester Mystery House wherein a black lace-veiled woman feels the presence of ghosts and locks them away in specially built rooms with thirteen nails, but here we are. The reason stems from why this woman does what she does. She is Sarah Winchester—the widow of the son of the founder of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company—and she believes her family is cursed. To hear her say it, every victim…

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REVIEW: Mudbound [2017]

They say it’s bad luck to watch somebody leave. People too often speak about America’s scars as though the damage was done, skin healed over, and remnants already mostly faded away. But this isn’t true. Ask any member of a group that has been marginalized from the moment Europeans landed on the Atlantic shore until now—namely anyone who isn’t a white Anglo-Saxon Christian—and hear about the myriad ways in which their country has still yet to treat them like they belong. Too many wax on about giving Native Americans land,…

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TIFF17 REVIEW: Chappaquiddick [2018]

“Sometimes the path you’re on isn’t always the path you choose” It was always funny to think of Ted Kennedy as “the other Kennedy.” How could you not? Despite his long tenure as Massachusetts Senator, he wasn’t “anointed” like Jack or Bobby. He tried and failed to secure a presidential nomination, but even if he won there’d always be that one incident tainting his legacy and integrity. The place was Chappaquiddick and the reality was he killed someone. He became the butt of a joke—a tasteless joke. Nothing he’d ever…

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REVIEW: The Better Angels [2014]

“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother” It only takes one look at a tree canopy from below in gorgeous black and white photography to know writer/director A.J. Edwards is a student of Terrence Malick. He’s actually been the auteur’s editor since To the Wonder after holding positions as editorial intern and key artistic consultant on The New World and The Tree of Life respectively. It’s hardly surprising Edwards’ own style would therefore mimic Malick’s poetic visuals and penchant for voiceover subtly inferring…

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REVIEW: Terminator Genisys [2015]

“If there was another way I would have taken it” Much of the success attributed to “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” stems from it using its time travel-centric mythology to erase the franchise’s failures—mainly Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. You’d think Terminator Salvation would have followed suit, but for whatever reason it held onto that sub-par entry if only through the character of Kate Brewster, otherwise known as Mr. Savior of Humanity John Connor’s wife. The real issue, however, was that it also retained a desire for big theatrics…

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REVIEW: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes [2014]

“Ape no kill ape” The hype is spot-on with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. A more focused film than Rise of the Planet of the Apes—which served as an emotive origin tale possessing little unique conflict beyond a fight scene showing off computer effects more than propelling storyline—you should still acknowledge that predecessor allows it to be so. This doesn’t mean you must view it to understand the sequel, however, as a concisely informative prologue is delivered to explain the key plot point of mankind simultaneously giving apes…

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Posterized Propaganda July 2014: ‘Magic in the Moonlight,’ ‘A Most Wanted Man,’ ‘Life Itself’ and 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. Oof. There are a couple good posters this month. That’s it. And I don’t mean “a couple” hyperbolically either. There are maybe two I’d consider looking at again at the…

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REVIEW: Swerve [2012]

“I guess honesty is one of my weak points” After a long journey dating back to 2010, director Craig Lahiff finally has his Australian crime thriller Swerve arriving in American theaters. It took a year to complete before debuting at the Melbourne International Film Festival, another until hitting multiplexes in its native country, and one more to piggyback on third lead Jason Clarke’s rising star here. Similar to many of its ilk you’ve probably seen before, the work itself isn’t too bad if you allow yourself to enjoy the ride…

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