REVIEW: Rampage [2018]

Even assholes deserve a second chance. To watch a play-through of Bally Midway’s 1986 arcade hit Rampage is to conjure thoughts of Wreck-It Ralph and his destructive path up a populated building to smash windows and grab bystanders. Instead of controlling a Fix-It Felix to subdue the trio of beasts wreaking havoc or a military entity throwing explosives to end the assault, you were the destroyers and destruction was your goal. To clear a level meant reducing every building in that city to rubble. You ate people and other food…

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REVIEW: They Came Together [2014]

“I admire your spirit” It’s one thing to satirize the romantic comedy genre and a whole other to literally break it down into its myriad tropes to build a story around them without transforming their generic designations into fully formed characters. But that’s exactly what David Wain (co-writer/director) and Michael Showalter (co-writer) did with They Came Together. It’s so transparent in its commentary that I was surprised they gave leading male Joel’s (Paul Rudd) brother (Max Greenfield‘s Jake) a name. The two men are so invested in calling each other…

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TIFF15 REVIEW: Desierto [2016]

“Welcome to the land of the free” A tense thriller of survival set against a desolate landscape of quiet austerity until the deafening sound of our heroes’ pursuer returns after a brief respite allowing these strangers the time to emotively talk about their lives—no, it’s not Gravity. Filmmaker Jonás Cuarón certainly has a type, though, since his sophomore effort in the director’s chair Desierto has a lot of formal similarities to his and father Alfonso Cuarón‘s Oscar-winning ride. Thematically different since the whole exists in the wasteland battlegrounds of the…

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REVIEW: The Losers [2010]

“Go Petunias” The world has been inundated with comic book adaptations this past decade, so new entries need to have something special to set them apart from the rest. Vertigo’s The Losers had a premise that made it appealing for a feature film treatment—a group of five ex-military covert-ops soldiers turned fugitives after being framed for a botched job in Bolivia, killing twenty-five innocent children, attempt to reenter America and clear their names. Sounds a lot like “The A-Team” to me, but I wasn’t going to let that get me…

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REVIEW: Taking Woodstock [2009]

“Like ants making thunder” Truthfully, I believe that the thing so many detractors point to concerning Taking Woodstock is my favorite part of the whole endeavor. I thought that the trailers did a very good job of explaining that Ang Lee was telling a story about the behind the scenes construction of the festival, using Elliot Tiber’s story of saving his parents motel and putting their sleepy little town on the map. If you want to see the concert and the music and the artists, rent Woodstock the documentary. Even…

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REVIEW: Watchmen [2009]

“The end is nigh” The ultimate graphic novel—a tale many hold to be amongst the greatest stories ever written regardless of being illustrated—has finally been brought to cinematic life after twenty years and multiple failed attempts. Should an epic tale set in such a specific period of time (the Cold War of the 1980s) be updated? Should the bleak nature of humanity depicted be toned down? Will lunatics and delinquents dressed up in costumes pretending to be superheroes bring in a public more interested in reality television then something based…

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