REVIEW: The Nun [2018]

Mary points the way. There’s a scene in Corin Hardy‘s The Nun where a young postulant receives her vows inside an unholy abbey while the ashes of a dead sister smoke in the background and an unlikely alley loads a shotgun in the fore. It’s the type of moment that should conjure laughs via its absurd juxtaposition and yet anyone who follows The Conjuring franchise knows the inherent severity of its subject matter renders such comically ripe material unintentionally hilarious instead. That’s why so many of these movies find an…

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TIFF16 REVIEW: Free Fire [2017]

“Talk about a fucking sledgehammer to crack a nut” TIFF’s Colin Geddes was correct when introducing Ben Wheatley‘s bottle episode of a film Free Fire with the words: “This will wake you up.” The gunfire alone risks perforating your eardrums as John Denver blares from a 1978-era van’s eight-track, but I think it’s the surprising wealth of comedy that ultimately gets the blood pumping and synapses triggering. Wheatley and wife/writer Amy Jump‘s latest isn’t for everyone—fair warning to Hardcore Henry detractors, Sharlto Copley refuses to quit—but those willing to break…

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FANTASIA16 REVIEW: Tank 432 [2016]

“Suck it in, remember your training, and get on with it” Director Ben Wheatley is showing his eye for talent by putting his name behind a guy who’s worked closely with him since 2011’s Kill List. A filmmaker in his own right, camera operator Nick Gillespie has stayed by Wheatley’s side on every subsequent project up to and including the forthcoming Free Fire. This time around it’s he who’s providing the claustrophobic thriller as writer and director of Tank 432 (formerly known as Belly of the Bulldog). It’s a doozy…

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REVIEW: The Lobster [2015]

“That is none of your concern” Writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos‘ English language debut The Lobster is a dystopian sci-fi romance depicting a world where Paula Abdul doesn’t exist. If these mechanical creatures devoid of emotion heard her 1988 single “Opposites Attract” their woes of the heart might be eased. I say this because while life is hazardous to your health without someone to share it, Lanthimos’ non-descript City strictly inhabited by couples is impossible to traverse without that someone also sharing your “defining characteristic”. To be a match is to be…

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REVIEW: The World’s End [2013]

“Lets Boo-Boo” The Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy—a label jokingly coined during the press tour for its second entry—has come to a close with a mint chocolate chip wrapper flapping in the wind. Following horror comedy Shaun of the Dead and bromance actioner Hot Fuzz, The World’s End‘s sci-fi apocalypse makes good use of its title with some fire and brimstone and robots spraying blue blood. The old “Spaced” team took a hiatus when writer/director Edgar Wright delved into comic adaptation Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and writer/star Simon Pegg and…

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TIFF13 REVIEW: A Field in England [2013]

“Open up and let the devil in” A coward becomes a man. I guess this is the crux of Ben Wheatley’s newest thriller, A Field in England. We find Whitehead (Reece Shearsmith) hiding in the bushes while mortars explode around him during battle, weeping and praying to God to keep him hidden now that his mission to find an elusive old comrade seems all but futile and way too dangerous. He runs, meets a few other deserters in a mid-17th century English Civil War pitting the Parliamentarians against the Royalist…

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VIFF11 REVIEW: Kill List [2011]

“Was that twenty minutes?” Some films find a way to surprise, intrigue, and confound all at once, leading you down a rabbit hole that becomes bleaker with every step as it uncovers secrets you’re ill prepared to understand because the characters themselves are too. What starts off as though a psychological horror, burning slow to introduce a seemingly normal suburban family going through a rough patch with the British economy in recession soon turns into a bloody romp that is almost too serious in its actions. Between the over-the-top marital…

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