REVIEW: The Matrix Resurrections [2021]

Desire and fear, baby. Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) are dead. There’s no denying this fact. They sacrificed themselves for the salvation of humanity, traveling to a machine city to explain to the source code that Agent Smith (Hugo Weaving) had gone far enough rogue to threaten the viability of the entire experiment and thus both of their species. Trinity passed first (but not before seeing the real sun for the first time in generations). Neo went next, his deal for peace with the machines being contingent on…

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REVIEW: The Matrix Revolutions [2003]

Cookies need love like everyone does. You cannot have a film as anticlimactic and boring as The Matrix Reloaded segue into a sister project (they were produced and photographed concurrently) as propulsive (albeit very messy) as The Matrix Revolutions without realizing a mistake was made. Whether it was the filmmakers (Lana and Lilly Wachowski), the studio (Warner Bros.), or both, the decision to continue The Matrix through sequels seems to have been motivated by probable box office success rather than actual artistic merit. The idea of two new pieces set…

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REVIEW: The Matrix Reloaded [2003]

We can never see past the choices we don’t understand. Hype and nostalgia are drugs. Not only was I super psyched for The Matrix Reloaded when it came out, I remember being equally psyched upon leaving the theater. I was twenty-one, had just seen The Matrix a year or two previously (was late on that bandwagon), and had watched The Animatrix a couple times to prepare. A bunch of us got together to hit opening weekend (two of whom spoke French and confirmed that the cursing done by Lambert Wilson‘s…

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REVIEW: The Animatrix [2003]

And for a time, it was good. One of the best traits about The Matrix was that it provided only what was necessary to understand its specific narrative. Exposition was often truncated or spoken matter-of-factly without detail or explanation to move us from point A to point B without much excess. This was crucial considering the film was already over two hours and none of those minutes could be wasted. Subsequently creating a two-film continuation of Neo’s (Keanu Reeves) rise as a Christ-like figure to save humanity from the machines…

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REVIEW: The Matrix [1999]

There is no spoon. Who better to realize humanity is living inside a simulation than hackers? They’re the ones with knowledge of computer systems and the glitches and backdoors within. And when one gets too close to the truth, who better than government agents to be the hunters trying to eradicate them? It isn’t national security that they’re worried about, though. It’s the viability of a world that has been constructed to keep them alive. That’s the secret being threatened. Not bank accounts or confidential files. Reality itself. So, when…

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REVIEW: Toy Story 4 [2019]

She’ll be okay. It was said upon the release of Toy Story 3 that the franchise was done as far as Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear’s (Tim Allen) adventures were concerned. These sentiments made sense because it ended nicely on a logical breaking point wherein the boy whose name adorned their feet grew-up and gifted them to a new owner (Bonnie) who promised a warm future of happiness and play. Because simply retiring the characters would be dumb, Pixar decided to branch out into a trio of short comedic…

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REVIEW: Always Be My Maybe [2019]

Kale can’t hold on forever. The premise is familiar. Two childhood best friends of the opposite sex lose touch after growing up only to find themselves in close proximity again almost two decades later. One became a huge success elsewhere while the other remained home and thus without much opportunity for escaping that neighborhood’s limited resources—the former falling prey to a materialistic superiority complex while the latter stayed “down to earth” on a depressive trajectory steeped in a fear of failure. Will celebrity chef Sasha Tran (Ali Wong) remember her…

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REVIEW: John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum [2019]

Rules and consequences. Like the Purge series before it, John Wick is proving to be a money-making franchise that loves to let its mythology gradually unfold in a way that familiarizes via a personal experience prior to zooming out so the systemic issues beyond one man’s home can be revealed. While we still stay with the titular character as played by Keanu Reeves (an assassin that assassins simultaneously fear and revere who did the impossible to get out of the life only to see tragedy—his wife’s untimely death—start a chain…

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REVIEW: Siberia [2018]

So sorry for the bird. The question is asked with a wry grin, but Katya (Ana Ularu) isn’t wrong to joke that the mysterious, handsome American who walked into her small Siberian town’s café is a spy. Any other film besides Matthew Ross‘ Siberia would have made Lucas Hill (Keanu Reeves) exactly that—especially now with the actor so successfully donning a suit to portray the dog-loving assassin John Wick. But that’s not who Hill is no matter how much the methodically measured beats of Scott B. Smith‘s script would have…

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REVIEW: John Wick: Chapter 2 [2017]

“Are you here for the Pope?” The team behind John Wick achieved success with a formula that distilled the prototypical action film down to its main points of entertainment while leaving the fat on the cutting room floor. This is why we moved back and forth through time for some scenes (the result playing out while the road there is experienced in montage) and why the economy of script successfully conveyed a hyper-real state of danger and malice from all involved. We don’t need elaboration on what we just saw…

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REVIEW: The Neon Demon [2016]

“Are you food or are you sex” Fame: all that’s glittered and gold, the intrinsic “it” quality we’d kill for but never do. That aura with an expiration date; beauty, confidence, radiance, and whatever other label outsiders use to transform you into a commodity to be bought, sold, and exploited within the tiny window before someone younger takes your place. This is Nicolas Winding Refn‘s The Neon Demon, an unexplainable concept jumping person to person without definition or discernment. It consumes the souls of unwitting vessels, makes them and breaks…

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