REVIEW: Dolemite Is My Name [2019]

I want the world to know I exist. Much like The Room, Dolemite isn’t a good movie. Unlike The Room, however, Dolemite wants you to laugh. Maybe you laugh at what the actors are doing or maybe you laugh at the sheer audacity of Rudy Ray Moore scraping together a cast and crew who clearly had no idea what to do, but you’re laughing just the same. There’s a distinction to be made here because even those of us (myself included) who are having a good time at the film’s…

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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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TIFF REVIEW: The Predator [2018]

Did I say that out loud? Writer Shane Black had a good year in 1987. He burst onto the action screenwriting scene with Lethal Weapon. Co-wrote the cult classic children versus Universal monsters fantasy The Monster Squad with Fred Dekker. And landed a supporting role in the Arnold Schwarzenegger-starring Predator as an exfil team member unwittingly embroiled in a fight against an alien hunter of unfathomable power. It’s therefore only fitting that he’d reunite with Dekker three decades later to direct a new installment in the latter’s oft-returned to franchise.…

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REVIEW: Get Out [2017]

“Magic isn’t real” If you ever watched “Key & Peele” you’d know the line between comedy and horror is very fine. Their sketches would often devolve into a horrific situation that you’d have to cry about if you weren’t already laughing. I think of “Aerobics Meltdown” where there’s this hilarious conceit of Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele going over-the-top, 1980s-era Richard Simmons—it’s absurd, campy, and frivolous. But then they inject a sense of fear and helplessness through a stagehand explaining how one of their wives was in a terrible accident,…

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REVIEW: Storks [2016]

“We never stop” While a bunch of adults were definitely having a good time during Nicholas Stoller‘s Storks, I’m not sure about their children. It wasn’t restlessness, though. If anything they were catatonic, a similar state as myself. Now I did chuckle at a few of the higher concept stuff because the absurdity of a stork and penguin stabbing each other with a fork in silence so as not to wake a sleeping baby is funny. And the children chuckled at least twice in response to displays of destruction because…

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REVIEW: Don’t Think Twice [2016]

“Your favorite bunch of weirdoes” The type of films that sting the most are the ones that are universal in emotion despite being niche in subject. So what if this tight-knit group of contemporaries championing each other’s work as they strive to improve their own are improv comedians selling out a fifty-seat theater in New York City and you’re a mechanic or barista or garbage collector or Fortune 500 CEO. It doesn’t matter what they or you do as long as we’re all human: fallible, petty, vulnerable, delusional, and somehow…

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REVIEW: Welcome to Happiness [2016]

“But then …” When you think of short stories like W.W. Jacobs‘ “The Monkey’s Paw” or Richard Matheson‘s “Button, Button” (adapted to the small screen for “The Twilight Zone” and big for Richard Kelly‘s underrated The Box), dark images of death are conjured. The consequences of earning personal reward come at great cost to those you may or may not know. They concern selfish acts that will incite chaos and a purveyor of their too-good-to-be-true opportunities who relishes in watching the destructive path cut by fate’s unyielding need to balance…

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REVIEW: Keanu [2016]

“It’s like smoking crack with God” After the massive success of former “MADtv” comics Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key’s eponymous sketch comedy show “Key & Peele” it was only a matter of time before the duo would grace the silver screen together. It’s actually surprising that it’s taken this long (the Comedy Central property went for five seasons before being put on indefinite hold by the creators) considering Key is everywhere you look these days on TV and film. Peele is the one you don’t notice very much (and only…

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REVIEW: Pitch Perfect 2 [2015]

“And there are the props” A surprise hit from 2012, Pitch Perfect was more than hype. It was good. Good enough for a sequel? Sure. I was excited to see what might happen until the trailer dropped. Boy did that thing look like a train wreck attempt at capturing lightning in a bottle by mimicking the original with supposedly higher stakes (but really just bigger scale/budget). Why deal with a capella at a collegiate level again when you can expand internationally? Because small was a proven success, that’s why. It…

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REVIEW: Afternoon Delight [2013]

“I’m gonna go put Bonnet out” For a woman like Rachel (Kathryn Hahn) who after a few too many drinks will candidly admit to a wild college life in her twenties, a sexual awakening wasn’t supposed to be something she had yet to experience. She’d done it all already; that’s what that decade of her life was for. Now is the time to be a wife, a mother, and an adult with responsibilities who understands the consequences of her actions. But what if that isn’t working? What if living the…

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