REVIEW: Anastasia [1997]

In the dark of the night she’ll be gone. In a fantasy world where royalty was adored as idyllically benevolent leaders thinking only about how to protect and serve their people, the Romanovs were betrayed by the evil Rasputin (Christopher Lloyd) who subsequently consorted with the Devil to wield dark magic powerful enough to curse their entire bloodline to death. His goal was to eradicate them and seize control, but things didn’t go quite as planned. And although the princess Anastasia (Kirsten Dunst) narrowly escaped his grasp when he fell…

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REVIEW: Transformers: Age of Extinction [2014]

“I know you have a conscience because you’re an inventor like me” There’s a problem when the first, expository-heavy hour of a three-hour Transformers action extravaganza shines above the rest. Michael Bay has looked upon this franchise from the start as an excuse to put explosions and destruction onscreen alongside cheesy and sometimes offensive comedy to satisfy the young children of parents (uninterested in shielding their ears from the oft swear word) that grew up in the 80s. He excelled at this mix with the first installment, casting the sarcastically…

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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: Best of Enemies [2015]

“The way to end the Vietnam War was to put it on ABC and it’d be canceled in thirteen weeks” It was the birth of punditry and epitome of television as theater: William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal head-to-head wherein they themselves respectively became Conservatism and Liberalism for the whole country to watch. Did they talk about the National Conventions as they were ultimately hired to do? Not really. Did they feed the “unconventional” nature of ABC’s hour-and-a-half-a-day coverage as opposed to the wall-to-wall talking heads of competitors NBC and…

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REVIEW: Entourage [2015]

“I don’t worry. I win.” I was a big fan of “Entourage”—loved the first four seasons and remained entertained until the end. The fact Doug Ellin received backing for eight seasons is a success story in itself because you can only recycle the same story beats so often before the audience loses interest. Who cares if the movie Vinny Chase (Adrian Grenier) makes off-screen gets bigger or his role in its creation expands, ultimately he and his crew will laugh off the hate, find new girls, and move to the…

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REVIEW: X-Men: The Last Stand [2006]

“Same as the Professor: visiting an old friend.” I’m sad to inform you that X-Men: The Last Stand did not age well. Not that anyone called it great when it was released—it was little more than serviceable then—but boy does it falter when viewed in close proximity with the two stellar entries coming before it. I’d like to blame Bryan Singer for jumping ship to DC so he could helm Superman Returns or even Matthew Vaughn and his family issues preventing him from taking the reins. Heck, I’d love to…

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TIFF11 REVIEW: A Monster in Paris [2011]

“Our own monster. It has your eyes and my hairy legs.” After a decade in the Hollywood system directing the likes of The Road to El Dorado and Shark Tale, Bibo Bergeron decided to return home to his native France and embark on a passion project. Titled A Monster in Paris and seeing its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, this children’s tale has more in common with a Sylvain Chomet than his Dreamworks past. Not as stylized as The Triplets of Belleville, Bergeron still infuses a flavor…

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REVIEW: Toy Story 2 [1999]

“I can’t look. Can someone cover my eyes?” The stigma associated with sequels is that they always attempt to either go bigger or rehash what was already done. Both variations are usually set-ups for failure, sacrificing story for more bells and whistles or boring the audience with a slightly reworked alternate version, a watered down facsimile of the brilliant original. So, after Pixar produced just one other film post-Toy Story—the charmingly entertaining A Bug’s Life—the news that number three would be Toy Story 2 became an opportunity for everyone to…

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