REVIEW: Halloween Kills [2021]

None of us are innocent. Ah, the dreaded middle chapter of a trilogy. Can I call Halloween Kills that? Yes. I’m going to regardless of it technically being the third of four since the first is more a prequel to its triptych than a legitimate opening to a quartet. This is especially true considering David Gordon Green‘s latest installment in the franchise cannot exist on its own whereas John Carpenter‘s original Halloween can. It even proves how its predecessor, 2018’s Halloween, can’t stand alone either. This last truth might be…

Read More

REVIEW: Halloween [2018]

Say goodbye to Michael and get over it. If it worked for Terminator 2: Judgment Day in 1991, why shouldn’t it work for Halloween in 2018? Give the original film’s victim of an unexplainable evil the time to prepare to take it down on her own since nobody else is willing to believe her. And since Laurie Strode’s (Jamie Lee Curtis) predator didn’t die (1978’s Halloween cliffhanger is dismissed with a couple lines of dialogue pretty much saying Michael Myers was caught and subdued shortly after), she doesn’t have to…

Read More

REVIEW: Lady of the Manor [2021]

I was a little stoned. The directorial debut of brothers Justin and Christian Long (who also co-write) hinges on a pedophilia joke. Let’s get that out in the open because you’re either the type of person who can chalk it up to “good-humor” and carry on or the type who checks the calendar, realizes it is indeed 2021, and decides to spend their time on anything else. It’s not like Lady of the Manor consciously deals with the gag beyond an ill-advised decision to make a callback like it’s no…

Read More

BIFF19 REVIEW: Buffaloed [2020]

Debt never dies. Leave it to an actual Buffalonian to write a screenplay set in the city without one mention or frame of snow. Only they know what else the Queen City has to offer above cheap jokes about blizzards and cold because they’ve grown up amongst the eccentric characters found in every corner bar or Bills game that can hate the person next to them despite still supplying a high-five if a touchdown is scored. So when Brian Sacca mocks the chicken wing feuds (Anchor Bar or Duffs?), fandom,…

Read More

REVIEW: The Wedding Planner [2001]

Dark tower demolished. I shouldn’t be surprised that my nineteen-year old self wasn’t a fan of The Wedding Planner when it came out. Romantic comedies weren’t my genre of choice and I surely didn’t pick it upon going to the theater with friends. So I probably watched with an immovable bias, honed in on its familiarity, and ignored its strength with an agenda to walk out without laughing. Watching it almost twenty years later removed from that teenage boy mentality, however, reveals how strong preconceptions can prove. That’s not to…

Read More

REVIEW: A Happening of Monumental Proportions [2018]

Choose, commit, and move. Men have it tough don’t they? I mean they have to worry about married women they’ve engaged in inner-office affairs with ratting them out to the new boss. Some are forced to face the crushing existential crisis that comes with their failed pipe dreams of rock stardom revealing how they’re nothing but lowly private school music teachers who’ve accomplished nothing in their lives—including, apparently, educating the children in their class. And don’t get me started on the ones who must endure the untimely death of their…

Read More

REVIEW: Ant-Man and the Wasp [2018]

Like Baba Yaga … While a lot of fans were instantly and irrationally mad upon learning Avengers: Infinity War wouldn’t include Hawkeye or Ant-Man, I rejoiced knowing that Ant-Man and the Wasp‘s release date fell between both it and its as yet untitled Avengers follow-up. This meant that Scott Lang’s (Paul Rudd) latest adventure to the Quantum Realm would have no bearing on the crazy cliffhanger seemingly sealing the fates of so many other superheroes. Marvel was positioning its cinematic universe’s “lighter side” as a vehicle to help distract audiences…

Read More

REVIEW: Measure of a Man [2018]

This time I had something to prove. The coming of age dramedy is a crowded genre with many seminal works established in the 70s and 80s. It’s tough to therefore see any entries without comparing them to what came first. Some can still find their niche and win audiences over before earning a place besides those former greats, but oftentimes they simply feel too familiar to necessitate a second look. The latter category is a shame because familiarity isn’t always synonymous with “bad.” Take Jim Loach‘s Measure of a Man,…

Read More

TIFF14 REVIEW: Men, Women & Children [2014]

“I guess I was just scared” We are the pale blue dot. Earth? No. The intermittently blinking light on the end of an out-of-touch parent’s device for transparently spying on a daughter’s electronic path when he/she should be proud for having a smart and compassionate teen unlike the majority populating the local high school. Our world’s different from the one Carl Sagan represented by filling the Voyager spacecraft with records of music, languages, and calls of whales. Now in a post-9/11 America we fear strangers as well as friends, peers,…

Read More

REVIEW: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes [2014]

“Ape no kill ape” The hype is spot-on with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. A more focused film than Rise of the Planet of the Apes—which served as an emotive origin tale possessing little unique conflict beyond a fight scene showing off computer effects more than propelling storyline—you should still acknowledge that predecessor allows it to be so. This doesn’t mean you must view it to understand the sequel, however, as a concisely informative prologue is delivered to explain the key plot point of mankind simultaneously giving apes…

Read More

REVIEW: Jeff, Who Lives at Home [2012]

“The Porsche is normal size. You’re a Sasquatch.” It’s good to see Mark Duplass hasn’t stopped making small-scale, heartfelt indies with his brother Jay despite success on the acting front with the likes of “The League” and Safety Not Guaranteed. While I’m not sure you could still call them mumblecore with increasingly prominent casts—although their second film of 2012, The Do-Deca Pentathlon might—they haven’t lost the quirkily authentic appeal that originally endeared the duo to audiences. Jeff, Who Lives at Home contains some questionable choices with constant zoom pulls recalling…

Read More