REVIEW: Blood Relatives [2022]

What does that make me? As a vampire without American identification, you could say Francis (Noah Segan) is an illegal immigrant regardless of the fact he’s lived in the country longer than anyone else currently alive with a legitimate birth certificate. Why he chooses to drive through red states in his vintage Barracuda while confusing Alex Jones-loving, conspiracy-theorizing yokels with Yiddish is therefore a mystery. This is the solitary bachelor life he’s chosen, though. And perhaps that part of the country is simply better suited for a nomadic lifestyle demanding…

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REVIEW: Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery [2022]

I gave you the truth. Even world-renowned private detectives like Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) get restless during lockdown. Just as Rian Johnson‘s Knives Out put some tongue-in-cheek gags a la Trumpism and the rise of fascism under the façade of politics, his sequel Glass Onion injects a bit of COVID pandemic fatigue in much the same way. Whereas that window dressing continued throughout the former via juxtaposing a Latina lead against her affluently entitled white employers, it ends here quite early so that the mystery itself can take center stage.…

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TIFF19 REVIEW: Knives Out [2019]

The cow and the shotgun. No stranger to a good mystery—noir (Brick) or comedy (The Brothers Bloom)—Knives Out sees Rian Johnson getting back to a wholly original property before returning to the world of Star Wars. From the stellar cast to its Clue-esque estate (even he couldn’t resist that joke), this whodunit has looked impeccably positioned to deliver exactly what the genre demands while also dissecting and subverting it for good measure. That the final result might go even further than that only makes it more intriguing. Why? Well the…

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REVIEW: Mohawk [2018]

In my experience it’s the white man who does the scalping. War is an interesting concept wherein life is both priceless and worthless depending upon which side you call yours. When it’s a matter of taking something that you want but do not possess, those who currently hold it are expendable. And when they fight back to retain it we call them enemies, savages. Here they are defending themselves from an invading force and yet they are in the wrong. It’s a fine line between justice and greed, survival and…

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REVIEW: Looper [2012]

“I gave you something that was yours” Like he did film noir (Brick) and the grift (The Brothers Bloom), writer/director Rian Johnson has infused his uniquely personal touch into the science fiction genre with Looper. Time travel as a concept isn’t new, but how it’s handled will provide varying degrees of success. Generally utilized by the rich or hubristic scientists stumbling upon it, the technology has become a fantasy tool for adventure, discovery, and the righting of personal wrongs. It’s this third form that Johnson tinkers with inside a 2042…

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TIFF08 REVIEW: The Brothers Bloom [2008]

“An unwritten life” After seeing the masterpiece that is Rian Johnson’s debut film Brick, I could not wait to see what he had up his sleeve. When I heard his follow-up would be a con artist film featuring Adrien Brody, Mark Ruffalo, and Rachel Weisz, I couldn’t hold in my excitement. Yet upon viewing the trailer, my expectations fizzled ever so slightly, the short clip showing me what looked to be a generic ho-hum story that lacked the originality his first film held in abundance. But let me tell you,…

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