REVIEW: Frozen II [2019]

Do the next right thing. I have to give directors Jennifer Lee (who also wrote the script) and Chris Buck credit for not simply jumping at the chance to follow up a cultural phenomenon for the paycheck. People wondered on opening weekend when a sequel to Frozen would arrive and these two held fast to their mutual decision of waiting until the story drew them back. They even began work on a completely separate project before heeding the call of unfinished business where Anna (Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel)…

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REVIEW: Olaf’s Frozen Adventure [2017]

Tell us yours and we’ll tell you if it’s special enough. A short film like Olaf’s Frozen Adventure epitomizes the law of diminishing returns: for audiences, not Disney. The studio is surely making a ton of merchandise money with little work involved considering the characters are already at their disposal. We’re talking a couple directors, a writer, and some songs proving a small price to pay in order to ensure another year goes by where children remember who Elsa (Idina Menzel), Anna (Kristen Bell), and especially Olaf (Josh Gad) are.…

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BIFF17 REVIEW: Marshall [2017]

No one will even remember you were here. It’s hard to believe America’s first black Supreme Court Justice hadn’t yet earned the big screen cinematic treatment until now. Besides Thurgood Marshall appearing as a character in a few TV productions (including HBO’s Emmy-nominated one-man play Thurgood starring Lawrence Fishburne) and two movies (The People vs. Larry Flynt possessing the highest profile), this iconic hero who successfully argued Brown v. Board of Education in front of that same Supreme Court was all but invisible. And that ubiquitous 1954 moment interestingly isn’t…

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REVIEW: Beauty and the Beast [2017]

“Now find it in your mind’s eye and feel it in your heart” This latest Disney epoch consisting of live action remakes/re-imaginings of their classic animated tales has the studio utilizing a few different creative motivations. The best has thus far has been their ability to find ways to create something wholly new and better from the blueprints of those that didn’t age well (The Jungle Book‘s basic sing-along and Pete’s Dragon‘s archaic values). Then there’s the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” school with Cinderella wherein the filmmakers…

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REVIEW: Frozen Fever [2015]

“Dry Banana Hippy Hat” I liked Frozen as much as the next person for telling a familiar story in a new way with emotion, surprises, and a cute little snowman named Olaf (Josh Gad). However, I can’t imagine even the staunchest supporter of its legacy doesn’t possess some fatigue. Elsa and Anna are everywhere, “Let It Go” is seared into my eardrums, and the whole fight for title of platonic true love originator against Maleficent proved just how rabid fandom can become—and how annoying. Despite the overkill, kids across the…

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REVIEW: The Wedding Ringer [2014]

“Sock on put” The writing team behind The Break-Up is back nine years later with their latest comedy The Wedding Ringer. While not a slog like their first feature—I found it painful at times—Jeremy Garelick (who also directs) and Jay Lavender‘s increased entertainment value unfortunately comes at the price of the whole being a complete mess. Jamming in as many comedy tropes as possible to create this genre Frankenstein’s monster, you’ll find yourself laughing at Wedding Crashers-level raunch one moment, wading through a flipped The Wedding Planner-esque plot full of…

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REVIEW: Wish I Was Here [2014]

“You’re going to have sex with the swear jar?” It’s impossible to talk about Zach Braff‘s Wish I Was Here without first addressing the elephant in the room: Kickstarter. Whether you’re against his method of crowdsourcing because you believe a celebrity of his stature shouldn’t need extra funding to finance a film or steadfast in the true notion that his fandom actually brought new members to the website who subsequently spent money on other projects, the backstory will play a role in your perception of the finished work. As a…

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REVIEW: Frozen [2013]

“Conceal it. Don’t feel it.” Over half a century in the making, Disney’s adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen has finally made it to the big screen. It was 1943 when Walt Disney and Samuel Goldwyn decided to co-create a live-action/animation hybridized biography of the Danish author—an idea that stalled due to their inability to bring the aforementioned fairy tale and The Little Mermaid to life. While Disney of course figured out the latter in 1989, the former continuously proved troublesome as it failed to come together in…

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REVIEW: Love & Other Drugs [2010]

“Were you molested by a Care Bear?” What do you do when you read something about a movie that appears to ruin a key ingredient the trailer doesn’t show? You get pissed. I know I did when I read—yes, I’m going to tell you—that Anne Hathaway’s character Maggie in Love & Other Drugs has Parkinson’s. Here I thought the film looked like an above average rom/com and I get blindsided by this disease that has to end up playing a huge role in what goes on. And it does, the…

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REVIEW: 21 [2008]

“Did that dazzle you?” Not long after reading Ben Mezrich’s novel Busting Vegas did I see my first preview for 21, a film based on his previous novel about card counters. The idea of MIT students getting recruited by their professor to take down Vegas is an intriguing yet not so unique concept. Busting Vegas had more interest with its elaborate scheme to win big without needing to count cards in the traditional sense. However, the book was well put together and so I wasn’t averse to checking out this…

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