REVIEW: The Lion King [1994]

Remember who you are. The sun rises at the screen’s bottom as Lebo M. is heard singing in Zulu. We take a look at the wide-open expanse of an African savannah before slowly honing in on herds of animals moving towards a single spot: Pride Rock. There we find Mufasa (James Earl Jones) and Sarabi (Madge Sinclair) resting with new lion cub Simba (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) as trusted allies Zazu the hornbill (Rowan Atkinson) and Rafiki the baboon (Robert Guillaume) arrive to offer their services for what’s to be a…

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REVIEW: Their Finest [2017]

Authenticity, optimism, and a dog. As the Blitz raged and British soldiers continued to pour into Europe to try and push the Germans back, those left at home to take cover during air raids and do their part in factories still needed something to keep morale high when it all looked so futile. One such avenue was the movies currently run out of the Ministry of Information as the government sought to ensure the general public experienced only stories that provided hope. Being that you can only make so many…

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REVIEW: Justice League [2017]

I don’t have to recognize it. I just have to save it. There are a lot of haters out there—those who pile on Zack Snyder, the DC Extended Universe, and both. I’m not one of them. But that doesn’t mean I’ve loved what they’ve delivered. We’ve received one good film (Wonder Woman), one ambitiously enjoyable mess (Batman v Superman), an okay origin tale (Man of Steel), and a mildly enjoyable mess (Suicide Squad). Despite this union’s many flaws, however, it’s consistently brought something wholly unique tonally in comparison to Marvel.…

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REVIEW: Assassin’s Creed [2016]

“Not everyone deserves to live” The Knights Templar and their numerous myths about secret societies and grand political aspirations have rendered the organization primed for villainous roles in multiple forms of media. One example is Ubisoft’s videogame Assassin’s Creed wherein a violent war has waged for centuries between the Templars’ drive for world domination (peace via control) and the Assassins’ desire to stop them (peace via free will). The series sprinkles in real historical figures and does its best to make it seem as though it could all be true—besides…

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REVIEW: The Man Who Knew Infinity [2016]

“Like other great men he invented himself” A bit character in Matt Brown‘s affecting biographical drama The Man Who Knew Infinity chants “Din, Din, Din, Gunga Din” a couple times in friendly jest as a response to his employer G.H. Hardy’s (Jeremy Irons) decision to send for an uneducated South Indian man on the merits of a letter presenting the potential for mathematical genius named Srinivasa Ramanujan (Dev Patel). We laugh at the line’s delivery as well as Hardy’s humored look of contempt because we embrace levity. What’s ironic, though,…

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REVIEW: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice [2016]

“Ignorance is not the same as innocence” Director and steward of Warner Bros.’s entire DC Comic universe—for better or worse depending on your personal opinion of the man’s portfolio—Zack Snyder has spent two years telling us Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is ostensibly Man of Steel 2. It’s not. This thing is a Batman film from start to finish. It shows how Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) focuses his rage to destroy the world’s newest destroyer. It’s about a good man turning cruel as Gods threaten the sanctity of all…

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TIFF15 REVIEW: High-Rise [2016]

“I think he’s lost his focus” As soon as the voice of Tom Hiddleston‘s Dr. Robert Laing was heard speaking narration above his weathered and crazed visage manically moving from cluttered, dirty room to darkened feverish corner, my mind started racing. Terry Gilliam‘s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas popped into my consciousness and then his Brazil after a quick title card shoves us back in time to watch as Laing enters his new concrete behemoth of a housing structure oppressively standing above a vast and still parking lot. Add…

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REVIEW: Dead Ringers [1988]

“Don’t make me dream that again” The last line of David Cronenberg‘s Dead Ringers is on the nose and yet still disturbingly surreal. Jeremy Irons (playing twin gynecologists Elliot and Beverly Mantle) phones his lover Claire (Geneviève Bujold) only to hear the telling reply, “Who is this?” While we too find ourselves uncertain which is on the line, his inability to answer shows the disturbing truth that it may be both or neither. Ellie and Bev have been inseparable from birth, challenging each other and working together to gift the…

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REVIEW: Night Train to Lisbon [2013]

“When dictatorship is a fact, revolution is a duty” Sometimes a well-written story is all you truly need to make a successful film and I believe author Pascal Mercier‘s novel Night Train to Lisbon provides one. Adapted by Greg Latter and Ulrich Herrmann with Bille August as director, the cinematic version of this look back at romance in a time of revolution unfolds with its melodic Annette Focks score as though we’re sitting over a cup of tea across from each character as they tell their part in the mystery…

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REVIEW: Beautiful Creatures [2013]

“You can either run or shoot” Just like clockwork the Twilight series has found a successor. Trading vampires and werewolves for witches, authors Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl‘s Caster Chronicles‘ has hit theatres with much less fanfare but perhaps more intrigue. Gatlin, South Carolina’s secrets are a mixture of Hogwart’s affinity for the Muggle world and Bella’s supernatural-heavy Seattle backyard—the casters possessing a division of light and dark like Voldemort’s Death Eaters and Dumbledore’s students as well as rites of passage similar to those of Jacob’s pack and Edward’s ‘vegetarian’…

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REVIEW: Margin Call [2011]

“It’s a long way down” When most people think about Wall Street movies they usually conjure images of the financial center’s eponymous Oliver Stone flick or something like Boiler Room showing the fast life and high rewards achieved by twenty-somethings pushing numbers around a computer screen. We think glamorous lifestyles and the stench of arrogance as money-hungry men in suits fleece the common man to make a percentage off their nest egg’s devastating losses. It’s high stakes poker on a grand scale relying on men with ulterior motives to give…

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