REVIEW: Thor: Ragnarok [2017]

Good luck with that, new Doug! Marvel fatigue has officially hit me, but not like a ton of bricks as much as a nagging sense that the studio is merely going through the motions. Unfortunately this slow unraveling is worse than a huge misstep because it means that a shift back onto the rails is less likely, especially with everyone hailing Thor: Ragnarok as a franchise entry that “breaks the rules.” If that means “push plot to the background for bloated excess dragging pacing out to the point of realizing…

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REVIEW: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers [2002]

“Not idly do the leaves of Lorien fall” The second part of a trilogy is oftentimes the worst. It exists in a no man’s land without beginning or end, a bridge we must wait for and wait further to continue that cannot survive on its own. So it’s therefore a rarity when this chapter possesses the ability to tell its story in a way that allows for its own success while also augmenting the larger whole. J.R.R. Tolkien understood this when he wrote The Lord of the Rings. Even though…

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REVIEW: Star Trek Beyond [2016]

“The poetry of fate” After an auspicious reboot that erased every movie in the series before it (save the travels of Leonard Nimoy‘s Spock) while ensuring each one still remained in canon, J.J. Abrams stumbled a bit by recycling one of those films’ most acclaim stories for the follow-up. I’ll be the first to admit that Star Trek Into Darkness isn’t all-bad upon a second viewing three years later, but it’s neither unique nor consistently exciting enough to sustain its massive runtime. Unsurprisingly, Abrams decided to take a backseat to…

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REVIEW: Pete’s Dragon [2016]

“Just because you don’t see anything doesn’t mean it’s not there” You have to give Disney credit for accomplishing the unthinkable this year by releasing remakes of archaic properties to rapturous fanfare. The Jungle Book began this refurbishment movement with the studio’s Iron Man steward Jon Favreau taking the helm of what proved a fantastically realized world made almost entirely of pixels bolstered by a story with the type of stakes the original forgot in lieu of sing-a-long frivolity. And now the trend continues with Pete’s Dragon and director David…

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REVIEW: The Bourne Supremacy [2004]

“It’s easy. She’s standing right next to you.” The idea that a sequel can best its predecessor is one that many people believe impossible save one or two exceptions to prove the rule. We’re talking The Godfather: Part II caliber stuff—prestige pieces with weight behind them for critical acclaim and box office success. So you may find me hyperbolic to say this, but I think The Bourne Supremacy belongs on this ultra short list. Don’t demean it by exclaiming how an action film doesn’t deserve to sit alongside a Francis…

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REVIEW: RED 2 [2013]

“I was very touched that you cried at my funeral” For DC Comics imprint Homage’s RED, screenwriters Jon and Erich Hoeber turned Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner’s original work into a surprise box office hit with an inspired cast of aged, former CIA operatives presently labeled “retired: extremely dangerous”. The goal with any successful comic book adaptation is then to greenlight a sequel in the hopes lightning will strike twice in a bigger and better way. Like many before them, however, the task of expanding on a winner is never…

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REVIEW: Star Trek Into Darkness [2013]

“Bones, get that thing off my face” Director J.J. Abrams’ reboot of Star Trek four years ago was a refreshing, original take on a world possessed by countless offshoots because screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman used its science fiction genre to both retain and destroy existing mythology. A red matter black hole sending the Romulan Captain Nero back through time allowed their new universe to stand on its own as a parallel reality to the original show’s rather than forever remaining in its shadow. Orci and Kurtzman impossibly crafted…

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REVIEW: Dredd [2012]

“All we do is turn the handle” Whether Gareth Evans admitted Dredd 3D went into production while he was still filming The Raid or not, the similarities can’t be dismissed. I’m not saying this to imply theft—just that comparison is unavoidable. Liking one will probably mean the other disappoints, but the one you see first won’t necessarily be your favorite. No, I stand by the fact that this futuristic, crime-riddled world is objectively less effective than its Indonesian rival. It drags in multiple places, finds unintentional laughs through coldly stern…

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Posterized Propaganda September 2012: White Space Rules the Month

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. When not distracted by the more offbeat, artistically inclined one-sheets for the amazing line-up gracing Toronto screens at TIFF this month, I was surprised to see a few good ones…

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REVIEW: Priest [2011]

“There has always been man and there have always been vampires” The war may be over but the false sense of peace is merely a charade. All the church has needed to keep order is the lie cultivated that vampires have been neutralized. While the battle that waged for years and risked worldwide destruction may have ended, the threat remains. With the help of priests—clergymen trained in the art of vampire combat—the church found a way to win in darkness. These men and women tattooed with a cross down the…

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REVIEW: RED [2010]

“Did you vacuum?” My only knowledge of director Robert Schwentke was that he helmed the Jodie Foster vehicle Flightplan that didn’t interest me in the slightest and the sub-par adaptation yet very effective film version of The Time Traveler’s Wife. So, I wasn’t sure on whether his newest comedic actioner RED would end up being a hit or miss despite a couple of very fun trailers. Ends up Schwentke directed a couple well-received German language works to begin his career trajectory to Hollywood too, he isn’t just some hack brought…

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