REVIEW: Goodbye Christopher Robin [2017]

I’ve had enough of making people laugh. I want to make them see. It begins with a letter—the kind that rips heart from chest. World War II is in full swing and the Milnes (Domhnall Gleeson‘s Alan and Margot Robbie‘s Daphne) are biding their time awaiting word from their son Christopher (Alex Lawther). They know what news arrives as soon as they see the mailwoman riding up their driveway, though. They know their son is gone. War claimed another innocent soul, an inevitability Alan experienced first-hand fighting the fight prematurely…

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REVIEW: T2 Trainspotting [2017]

“Friends is just another class of victim” Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) “chose life” twenty years ago—or what he believed was the best chance at having one at the time. This on-again/off-again heroin junkie had just stolen the sixteen thousand pounds he and three friends (Jonny Lee Miller‘s Simon, Ewen Bremner‘s Spud, and Robert Carlyle‘s Begbie) made in a drug deal somehow gone right. His justification: one of the others would do the same he if didn’t first. Unfortunately for Mark, however, that money only got him a reprieve from the…

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REVIEW: Trainspotting [1996]

“Choose rotting away at the end of it all” There’s an undeniable energy to Danny Boyle‘s Trainspotting, a rush of excitement set to a pulse-pounding rock soundtrack that almost seems the antithesis of what it’s like to fall down into a heroin-fueled dreamy stupor. Even as the characters from Irvine Welsh‘s infamous novel stick themselves with a needle and sink into the floor, Boyle keeps the pedal depressed beyond capacity with inventive visuals and breakneck speed narration. But as you get into the film and move forward with the sometimes…

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REVIEW: Gosford Park [2001]

“I’m the perfect servant: I have no life” Watching Gosford Park again conjured thoughts about it being quintessential Robert Altman, thoughts I couldn’t conjure in 2001 considering it was my first true experience watching one of his films. It proves the perfect evolutionary end to a way of filmmaking he began over twenty years previous with A Wedding‘s sprawling cast, overlapping dialogue, and class strife. Its Agatha Christie-type whodunit conceit lends itself perfectly to his sensibilities and aesthetic, but we can thank Bob Balaban for enthusiastically asking to collaborate for…

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REVIEW: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy [2005]

“So long and thanks for all the fish” It took a quarter century for Douglas Adams‘ seminal work The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to hit the big screen, but it was worth the wait. Well, I’m probably not the authoritative word on such a statement considering the book series has rested unread on my shelf for the better part of ten years. As someone with no frame of reference to either it or the original radio play, though, I can say it’s a ton of British satirical fun showcasing…

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TIFF12 REVIEW: Anna Karenina [2012]

“If you’re a good man you’ll forget everything” When TIFF director and CEO Piers Handling introduced the newest adaptation of Leo Tolstoy‘s Anna Karenina by saying director Joe Wright appropriately played up the theatricality of the novel, I wasn’t quite prepared for the blatant transparency where his stylistic approach’s artifice was concerned. As the camera lingers on a darkened stage covered by a place card to set the scene, I was blown away by the rising curtain uncovering a brilliantly conceived introduction to this TARDIS-like world much bigger on the…

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REVIEW: Brave [2012]

“Mend the bond torn by pride” Following two of Pixar Animation Studios’ most successfully original films, WALL-E and Up, came a pair of sequels that honestly left me a bit wanting. While most would agree with me on Cars 2—although I still liked it for what it was—I’m sure many think I’m crazy for being a bit disappointed in Toy Story 3. By far the funniest of the series, you cannot deny that the emotional resonance so intrinsically connected to the studio was lacking until a tacked on finale that…

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REVIEW: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 [2011]

“His name is Voldemort, Filius. You might as well use it. He’s going to try and kill you either way.” Every story must come to an end and the saga of Harry Potter and He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is no exception. Splitting the final novel of J.K. Rowling’s epic tale of wizardry into two films makes it so the words are given justice and very little is left out, but just as Part 1 lacked a complete arc, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 is even less its own entity. To…

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REVIEW: Nanny McPhee [2005]

“I did knock” Based on the children’s stories of Nurse Matilda by Christianna Brand, the British film Nanny McPhee tries its best to grab hold of the magic ever-present in Disney’s Mary Poppins. Liberties are taken—the number of children is changed and the mother, alive in the novels, has passed on in the film—by Oscar-winning screenwriter Emma Thompson in order to make matters as dire as possible, the need for Nanny McPhee immeasurable. So, after a seventeenth nanny is sent screaming from the Brown mansion, “They ate the baby!!”, Colin…

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REVIEW: Choke [2008]

“Think Gilligan meets Groundhogs Day–in hell” It took almost a decade for a second movie to come out from the literary source that is Chuck Palahniuk. David Fincher owned Fight Club, making it a cinematic wonder, enhancing the novel and becoming a wonderful companion to it. Rumors swirled afterwards about all his other stories being optioned for film translation, but after 9-11 halted Survivor’s chances and Invisible Monsters’ progress ended, it didn’t seem good. But here comes 2008, with an unlikely savior in Clark Gregg, and all of a sudden…

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REVIEW: No Country for Old Men [2007]

“Got some hard bark on that one” The Coen Brothers are most definitely back in form. While No Country for Old Men is not a perfect film, it is masterfully crafted and orchestrated to brilliant effect. Miller’s Crossing remains the one and only masterpiece from them, in my opinion, but this new one ranks right below it with Barton Fink and Fargo. The Coens always did better when there was a little darkness lurking behind the dry wit and deadpan deliveries. I have not seen Intolerable Cruelty, but, along with…

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