TIFF20 REVIEW: Druk [Another Round] [2020]

Have I become boring? If you find yourself needing to latch onto an obscure scientific theory to reinvigorate your energy level and live your life as more than a sleepwalking zombie, you’re probably not ready to actually confront the real problem. We know this to be true of the quartet at the center of Thomas Vinterberg‘s Druk [Another Round] since our first impression of Tommy (Thomas Bo Larsen), Peter (Lars Ranthe), Nikolaj (Magnus Millang), and, especially, Martin (Mads Mikkelsen) is that they have lost their spark. Sexually, intellectually, physically, emotionally—whatever…

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REVIEW: Arctic [2019]

You’re not alone. All we have to guess the duration of time Overgård (Mads Mikkelsen) has been stranded alone in an icy wasteland nearby his crashed plane is the beard on his face. Even then we don’t know how long it was when he escaped the fuselage to pretend to have a starting point for anything that’s happening. The hash marks on his map might indicate days he’s gone out to spin his radio in hopes of hearing the ping of a green light making contact. The number of fish…

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REVIEW: At Eternity’s Gate [2018]

I am my paintings. Vincent Van Gogh is quite the enigmatic figure in the art world as a man whose genius was ahead of its time. His greatest works were painted in the final two years of his life while combatting multiple psychotic breaks and asylum stays. People called his art ugly and dismissed his style as crude, but now he’s revered as a Post-Impressionist who helped expand the possibilities of modern painting in the decades since. He infamously cut off his ear, wrote long letters, and ultimately committed suicide…

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REVIEW: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story [2016]

“Rebellions are built on hope” George Lucas used to say years ago that the original Star Wars trilogy was but three chapters of an epic nine-part saga. It dealt with the Skywalker family, beginning in the middle to introduce a passing of the “Force” from father to son. Lucas would eventually make the first three chapters as a prequel series used to tell the tale of Anakin Skywalker’s descent towards the Dark Side for exposition into the stunning reveal his becoming Luke and Leia’s formidable foe in A New Hope…

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REVIEW: Doctor Strange [2016]

“It’s not about you” People love to complain about superhero origin story trappings and they’re correct. The need to introduce new characters in their own standalone piece forces writers and directors to focus on certain check stops as far as normal life, transformation, and the embracing of one’s power to find the courage to selflessly fight evil. But just because these things are obvious doesn’t mean they have to be boring or that they have to diminish the final product. Many Marvel Universe fans still laud Iron Man as this…

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REVIEW: Adams æbler [Adam’s Apples] [2005]

“That’s just plain rude” God works in mysterious ways—very mysterious ways. Or at least that’s what Anders Thomas Jensen‘s pitch-black fable Adams æbler [Adam’s Apples] will have us believe. It may just be plain old faith as the mere belief in good and evil sometimes gets you through the tragedies miring your life, dictating that everything happens for a reason. No matter how bad things get, having the faith that you’ll prevail is literally enough to make it true. To have God in your corner is to possess the strength…

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TIFF15 REVIEW: Mænd & høns [Men & Chicken] [2015]

“In fact, they hadn’t been dealt any cards” While I’m not familiar with Anders Thomas Jensen‘s solo work, I am with the films he has collaborated on opposite Susanne Bier. So to see images of his latest Mænd & høns [Men & Chicken] with a weirdly disfigured and hair lipped Mads Mikkelsen readying for a badminton strike was to be unprepared for the dark comedy of pratfalls a la Klovn it provides. A perverse genetic-minded fairy tale about family—warts and more warts—its lead duo consisting of one brother who must…

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Top Ten Films of 2013: A year in cinema to write home about

2013 has been a banner year for cinema with a slew of quality pictures that makes you wonder how only nine got enough first place votes to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. Most of my favorites could have filled that elusive tenth spot for some added acclaim—whether having a chance to win or not. I hadn’t even seen a good chunk of these until the calendar flipped to 2014, the sheer amount of winners was too vast. And after only awarding three films a 10/10 rating last year,…

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REVIEW: Jagten [The Hunt] [2013]

“Then you can have a kick in the butt” I used to just walk outside the house and play with the neighborhood children in the street when I was young. We’d go anywhere we liked in this idyllic environment of safe trespass amongst unknown adults and kids along the way. So, it’s still difficult to imagine how we could be living in a completely different world only two decades later where “stranger danger” is no longer reserved for strangers. Now we fear our neighbors, family, and friends in an unfathomable…

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TIFF09 RECAP: Connecting to Your World … and mine

Every year at the Toronto International Film Festival seems to get better and better. Is that due to the increase in films from six to eleven to fifteen? It very well might be. And I’ll just say now, watching fifteen films in less than four days may not be the healthiest thing in the world. Between the vendor sausage/chicken dogs/nitrates on a bun being easily accessible and a standard meal when going from one film to the next with barely enough time to catch your breath and the sheer fact…

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TIFF09 REVIEW: Valhalla Rising [2009]

“The boy said he was from hell” Sometimes a movie comes along that is almost indecipherable, but for reasons unknown, still can’t be shaken from my consciousness. Nicolas Winding Refn’s Valhalla Rising is one such example. It concerns a one-eyed, mute Norse warrior’s quest to discover his lot in life and/or death … I really don’t know which. It could have been the fatigue of being the fourteenth movie seen in less than four days at the Toronto International Film Festival, or perhaps it was intentionally vague to utilize its…

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