REVIEW: True History of the Kelly Gang [2020]

I know what it is to be raised on lies and silences. Famed bushranger and Australian folk hero Ned Kelly (George MacKay) doesn’t want anyone else to tell his story because he knows how these things can be warped by hearsay and selective truths. Because he doesn’t know whether he’s going to survive the night, now might be the last chance to ensure his unborn son will learn what really happened during his brief time on Earth (twenty-five years). So Ned writes as he and his gang of men awaits…

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REVIEW: Dark Phoenix [2019]

What did you do to her? Hollywood franchise filmmaking really is a frustrating system insofar as allowing good source material room to breathe. That’s not to say it doesn’t sometimes work too, though. Look at Twentieth Century Fox’s cinematic X-Men saga for instance. After hitting a comic book high with X2, the desire for more bombast coupled by a much blunter director (Brett Ratner replaced Bryan Singer, who jumped ship from Marvel to DC) saw X-Men: The Last Stand seemingly destroy all hope of ever seeing this iteration of these…

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REVIEW: The Favourite [2018]

We’ve been laying very different games. This isn’t your parents’ period piece. If the name Yorgos Lanthimos under the header of director didn’t already give you that impression, there it is. The Favourite has everything you’d expect from one, though: real-life characters, powdered faces and wigs, wars discussed from perches miles away from the battlefield, and political jockeying for power. The difference is what Deborah Davis discovered in a corner of British royal history, namely the love and affection shared between Queen Anne, Lady Sarah Churchill (yes, a descendant of…

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TIFF17 REVIEW: The Current War [2019]

“Star in a jar” A casualty of Harvey Weinstein’s downfall, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s thought-to-be awards-contender that was rushed for a lukewarm TIFF reception in 2017 finally sees the light of day. Retitled The Current War: Director’s Cut due to the director’s extensive revisions (thanks to producer Martin Scorsese’s contractual ability to block the other version’s release), the film remains narratively identical with effective pacing tweaks that fix some of what gave me pause two years ago. The most noticeable change is the slight increase in screen-time for Nicholas Hoult’s Tesla to…

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REVIEW: Sand Castle [2017]

“A war story can’t be true unless it’s got some shame attached to it” Similar to lead character PVT. Matt Ocre (Nicholas Hoult), screenwriter Chris Roessner joined the United States Army in July of 2001 to serve in the Reserves and earn college money. Two months later 9/11 changed everything. Suddenly he was thrust into a full-scale war in the Middle East and he needed to steel himself to that fact. He wasn’t in the Special Forces, Navy SEALs or Marines—he was just a soldier walking onto the frontlines like…

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REVIEW: X-Men: Apocalypse [2016]

“And from the ashes of their world, we’ll build a better one” At a certain point Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) understands his pupils need more than just help controlling their powers in the X-Men universe. They must also learn to fight. He and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) had no choice but to battle forces of evil in X-Men: First Class and in Days of Future Past the real war was fought in the future with a team of soldiers already formed decades after a thus far unseen origin. Professor X,…

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REVIEW: Dark Places [2015]

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” If Gillian Flynn wasn’t the “It” author after the phenomenon that was Gone Girl the book, she surely was once David Fincher adapted it into a huge moneymaking win. What’s interesting, though, is that Gone Girl wasn’t the first of her novels to head into production cinematically. That honor goes to her sophomore effort Dark Places, which began shooting one month sooner in August 2013. Scripted and directed by Frenchman Gilles Paquet-Brenner, who last helmed the critically acclaimed Sarah’s Key,…

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REVIEW: Mad Max: Fury Road [2015]

“Our babies will not be warlords” It’s not often delays, financial dissolutions, and waning interest make a film better, but I don’t want to know what Mad Max: Fury Road might have been without them. In its current form the film embodies a logical escalation of what director George Miller began over three decades ago by embracing the insanity eating away at his titular road warrior’s resolve. Survival becomes a collective pursuit whether in the wastelands left behind after wars ravaged the earth of gasoline, water, humanity, and life itself…

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REVIEW: X-Men: Days of Future Past [2014]

“Mind the glass” If you have a storyline at your disposal capable of continuing two separate iterations of a single cinematic franchise simultaneously, you’d be a laughing stock not to take it. Credit Fox for seizing this opportunity to create something not even Marvel proper has dared to do quite yet. Would they have made the attempt had Star Trek not already used time travel in a way that didn’t completely alienate its summer blockbuster movie-going audience? I’d be interested to hear the producers’ thoughts on this because I’m not…

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The 86th Oscars recap through tweets …

Welcome to the 86th Annual Academy Awards everyone! If you didn’t watch the festivities that occurred Sunday night at the Dolby Theatre you are probably a lot better off than most of us because it was a very lackluster affair. We all hoped Ellen DeGeneres would bring a fun, smart, witty return to her success with the 79th installment, but the reality ended up being one of the most dull and safe presentations in quite some time. I guess it wasn’t all bad, though, considering the Academy actually got most…

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Posterized Propaganda March 2013: ‘Stoker,’ ‘Place Beyond the Pines,’ ‘Spring Breakers’ & More

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. I’m honestly not sure if it is possible to cram more movies in one 31-day period (five Fridays!). Let’s just say the dump month doldrums have ceased and we’ve moved…

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