REVIEW: The Russian Five [2019]

Literally—we’re making it up as we go along. While everyone hates division rivals when it comes to loving the Buffalo Sabres, I don’t necessarily care. They despise Toronto, loathe Boston, and dislike Montreal. Hartford earned ire when they had a team and Ottawa too upon coming back into the league. For me, though, it was always different. Because Toronto was in the Western conference when I started watching hockey, I actually liked them. And I still kind of do despite their switch to the East in 1998. Conversely, however, the…

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REVIEW: Steve Jobs [2015]

“Computers aren’t paintings” Despite being an Apple guy from way back playing with LOGO the turtle in grade school before eventually swapping out MacBook Pros every five years or so from college on, I never really cared who Steve Jobs was beyond the kindly looking genius in a black turtleneck. To me the appeal was ease of use—I embraced the closed system Aaron Sorkin’s script readily attributes to Jobs—and the design. How can you not love the packaging, look, and logo during the Jobs 2.0 era? It’s impeccable. Whether or…

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REVIEW: The Martian [2015]

“Mars will come to fear my botany powers” Sometimes we need a good old-fashioned feel good tale that doesn’t talk down to us for smiles to unabashedly form at the movies. Ridley Scott‘s The Martian provides exactly that. You have a healthy dose of infectious humor, life and death suspense, space exploration to an uncharted planet, and Earth coming together for hope. It’s easy to find a depressing film putting utilitarian principles to work so one man can die for the many to live, so seeing a piece that throws…

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REVIEW: Dumb and Dumber To [2014]

“I don’t even know cursive” Nope. Not even the movie that started it all can save the fledgling career of the Farrelly Brothers. Despite reading an interview of them speaking about how great the sequel’s script was due to its being almost identical to the first, I entered their last film with an open mind. The same and more, they said? Come on—it’s been twenty years. They should have noticed by their diminishing box office returns this past decade that the comedy used to propel them towards A-list status in…

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REVIEW: Dumb and Dumber [1994]

“You sold my dead bird to a blind kid?” It’s the film that brought us the high concept, gross-out comedy sensibilities of Peter and Bobby Farrelly and it has some of the most memorable laughs of the 90s. The filmmaking brothers would go on to create a mixed bag of obnoxious, offensive, and hit or miss work that steadily grew tiresome while revealing they were for all intents and purposes one-trick ponies. Just because the trick wasn’t able to sustain the public’s love, however, doesn’t mean it wasn’t riotous at…

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REVIEW: Looper [2012]

“I gave you something that was yours” Like he did film noir (Brick) and the grift (The Brothers Bloom), writer/director Rian Johnson has infused his uniquely personal touch into the science fiction genre with Looper. Time travel as a concept isn’t new, but how it’s handled will provide varying degrees of success. Generally utilized by the rich or hubristic scientists stumbling upon it, the technology has become a fantasy tool for adventure, discovery, and the righting of personal wrongs. It’s this third form that Johnson tinkers with inside a 2042…

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REVIEW: Terms of Endearment [1983]

“Medium esteem” I’m not quite sure what I think about James L. Brooks’ Terms of Endearment. Here is a film that won best picture at the 1984 Oscars, beating out a favorite of mine, The Big Chill. Everyone I talk to says they love it and here I am feeling a tad lukewarm on the whole spectacle. At first glance, I can’t really comprehend what I saw exactly. Truthfully, the whole thing seems as though it was a device to get us to the end, the one sequence of time…

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REVIEW: Arachnophobia [1990]

“Wanna blow-up a bullfrog?” While never reaching any further than its aspirations to be a guilty pleasure, Arachnophobia definitely does its job well and successfully. Here we have a tale of a spider infestation in a small town, where a single bite causes almost instantaneous death. It is up to the town’s new doctor to make everyone see that there is a problem that needs fixing. Like most small towns, the people don’t necessarily embrace change and they don’t want the doctor to sanction autopsies to find out the true…

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REVIEW: The Squid and the Whale [2005]

“The filet of the neighborhood” I have yet to see Noah Baumbach’s debut film Kicking and Screaming, but I can only hope it shows the sarcastic wit and heart that his later effort The Squid and the Whale does. What is supposed to be a very personal story that mirrors his life growing up with his intellectual writer father and misfit family, really hits all its marks. While a film like Running with Scissors fails because its comedy is at the expense of flawed characters, Baumbach’s film succeeds because its…

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REVIEW: The Lookout [2007]

“Gimps night out” Writer Scott Frank can now add director to his list of accomplishments. The man behind the script for two favorites of mine, Get Shorty and Out of Sight, has gone behind the camera to direct a new original screenplay, The Lookout. Despite the talent involved—Frank, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who can do no wrong), Matthew Goode, and stalwart Jeff Daniels—I definitely had my reservations about the film from the trailer. It seemed a bit too conventional, a bank heist gone wrong with an inevitable twist waiting in the wings.…

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