REVIEW: Alita: Battle Angel [2019]

No one’s greater than the game. This is a film twenty years in the making despite James Cameron being attached from the start. The story goes that Guillermo del Toro introduced the King of Hollywood to Yukito Kishiro‘s manga Gunnm and he fell in love with the book enough to give it permanent placement on his docket. Alita: Battle Angel was first thought to begin production after the demise of Cameron’s television show “Dark Angel” only to have him decide something else was more pressing. Then came the secretive technological…

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REVIEW: Only the Brave [2017]

Decide what you live for and what you can live without. Interagency Hotshot Crews are twenty person teams of Type 1 firefighters that exceed all experience, training, and fitness requirements of that designation. Originated in the 1940s to combat wildfires on a national level, these groups move all over the country to suppress flames and save cities in need. They’re to firefighters what Navy SEALs are to the military. You call them to get the big jobs done and as such are formed for that specific purpose on a federal…

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TIFF16 REVIEW: American Pastoral [2016]

“You told her to bring the war home” If my limited experience with Philip Roth adaptations is any indication, his novels deal in emotion. There are existential crises concerning identity involved, each a character study about life’s impact beyond the surface experiences propelling them forward. This isn’t something easily translated from page to screen when so much consists of internalized motivation. You must really look into the text, ignoring plot to find the core reactionary cause for everything occurring. If a daughter’s disappearance indelibly changes every second of her parents’…

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REVIEW: Shelter [2015]

“The objective is forgiveness” It’s quite comforting to see actors-turned-directors not shying away from tough subject matter. You’d almost assume they would amidst stereotypes of celebrity vanity driving them to worry about losing audience appeal. Looking at a guy like Ben Affleck leveraging a fledging acting career destroyed by bad mainstream choices into a critically acclaimed metamorphosis as an A-list director, however, shows the transition is real regardless of content or perception. I’d rather a guy like Ryan Gosling get derided for taking a chance on Lost River than see…

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REVIEW: Noah [2014]

“Maybe we’ll learn to be kind” Religion likes to talk about mercy, forgiveness, and acceptance as though such grace was instilled in humanity before we decided to ignore it for carnal pleasure, bloodlust, and greed. This is why most films depicting Biblical stories go heavy on angels and enlightenment, giving pithy parables with “a-ha” lessons to take stock and deflect from the copious amounts of violence throughout its text. Yes there’s creation, salvation, good deeds unto others, and heroes to aspire towards, but don’t forget deception, cleansings, sin, and damnation.…

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REVIEW: Winter’s Tale [2014]

“For even time and distance are not what they appear to be” Can you buy a world where angels and demons walk alongside humans, gently coaxing us onto a path of righteousness or evil in order to tip the scales of eternity their way throughout time infinite? What about the idea that we each have a miracle to give to the one person we are meant to love unequivocally if only we’re destined to meet him/her? How about two Russian immigrants being deported back home who’d lower a model ship…

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REVIEW: The Dilemma [2011]

“… took more virgins than Francis Albert Sinatra” Sometimes all you need is a little Vince Vaughn. Don’t even ask how much I dreaded checking out The Dilemma despite him, due to the directed by Ron Howard label. I like the guy, don’t get me wrong, but his by-the-books Dan Brown adaptations were sorely lacking in cinematic ingenuity, (I cringe at the fact he’s handling The Dark Tower Series as a result), and thus a seemingly straight forward comedy wasn’t looking too palatable. But sometimes a director can excel by…

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REVIEW: 9 [2009]

“You forget to remember to be scared” Is it wrong that Coheed & Cambria was playing in my head the entire length of my screening of Shane Acker’s 9? I guess that just goes to show how memorable the trailer is or how large my affinity for the band. I say that as an anecdote, though, not to cryptically express how I thought the film was boring—it’s far from it. I have not seen the 2005 Oscar nominated short for which Acker has expanded this from, but he has definitely…

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REVIEW: He’s Just Not That Into You [2009]

“You’re my exception” Longtime television director, and top dog of some movies I’m sure he’d like to forget about, Ken Kwapis’ new film He’s Just Not That Into You seemed to be that rare romantic comedy that offered enough plot and insight to interest both sexes. All about a group of guys and girls in their late twenties to late thirties—who are, in the most convenient way, connected to each other by someone in the group—it shows their successes and failures at love. Based on a popular novel, I’d be…

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REVIEW: The Day the Earth Stood Still [2008]

“Only on the precipice do we evolve” Ah, remakes. Why does Hollywood insist on updating/copying/being inspired by past works, especially when the original was good? The past few years have even seen re-imaginings of John Carpenter films; the guy is still alive and making movies, so why are we redoing his past work from only two decades ago? When it comes to the sci-fi classic The Day the Earth Stood Still, I guess one can at least comprehend the want to infuse some 21st century graphics and effects; it was…

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REVIEW: The Incredible Hulk [2008]

“Days since last incident” Leave it to this drama lover to think that the new film The Incredible Hulk is more boring than Ang Lee’s Hulk from 2003, despite the fact everyone in the entire world hated that version because it was “too slow”. Maybe it was the departure in genre tone that Lee brought to the movie making it a psychological tale of humanity rather than an action, comic-book romp, but I was pleasantly surprised after thinking it would just be Hulk-Smash over and over again. The funny thing is…

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