REVIEW: Skyscraper [2018]

Got any duct tape? In an age of remakes, reboots, and rehashes, it’s suddenly become refreshing to see homage—especially the self-aware kind. If you’ve seen the alternate posters for Rawson Marshall Thurber‘s Skyscraper that crib off the designs of Die Hard and The Towering Inferno, you understand how the filmmakers have embraced comparison due to their love for those genre classics. It’s this love that allows them to take a step back and create their own story in those images, at once honoring the past, updating for the present, and…

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REVIEW: Paddington 2 [2017]

Where all your dreams come true. In true children’s book fashion, Paddington’s (Ben Whishaw) continuing adventures in London alongside the Brown family (Hugh Bonneville‘s Henry, Sally Hawkins‘ Mary, Madeleine Harris‘ Judy, Samuel Joslin‘s Jonathan, and Julie Walters‘ Mrs. Bird) would of course stem from something as seemingly innocuous as procuring a birthday present for his Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton). The activity will prove more difficult than anticipated, a villain will be introduced, and a mystery uncovered through an enjoyable series of pratfalls and error. This is exactly the stuff that…

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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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INTERVIEW: Richard Ayoade, cowriter/director of The Double

I didn’t know who Richard Ayoade was until 2010 and boy was it the perfect time to find out. My introduction was courtesy of the brilliant British television show “The IT Crowd” and his fantastically drawn Maurice Moss. I had tried watching the show a couple years previously only to forget about it after the pilot. This time, however, I mainlined the first three series and eagerly awaited the fourth only to see co-star Chris O’Dowd journey to mainstream acclaim with Bridesmaids less than a year later. When would Ayoade’s…

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TIFF13 REVIEW: The Double [2014]

“It’s terrible to be alone too much” Comically dry like director Richard Ayoade‘s debut Submarine, his sophomore effort takes more than a few steps towards an even more arid realm of complete existentialist surrealism. Adapted by he and Avi Korine, The Double brings Fyodor Dostoyevsky‘s novella to the big screen with a surefire confidence in its visual form and an eccentric comedy that should go a long way towards securing “The IT Crowd” starrer as a permanent, unique voice in contemporary cinema. There is a definite stylistic kinship to his…

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REVIEW: Lawless [2012]

“You still have the price tag on your coat” After The Proposition‘s grit and The Road‘s nightmarish post-apocalyptic vision, watching the trailer for John Hillcoat‘s newest film Lawless left a little something to be desired. Looking like an action flick about bootleggers standing against the law in a blaze of glory, all nuance from its showcase of familial strength and honor was missing. Based on an historical novel written by its subject’s grandson Matt Bondurant—The Wettest County in the World—this is the heroic legend of three indestructible brothers refusing to…

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REVIEW: Submarine [2011]

“Cancer trumps potential infidelity” Only having seen one episode of “The IT Crowd” doesn’t make me a professional on the subject, but I do recall thinking it quirky, funny, and a bit awkward. It’s no surprise then that the directorial debut of one of its actors would be all those things—possibly even farther down the spectrum towards their extremes. Based on a novel by Joe Dunthorne, Richard Ayoade brings 1986 Swansea, Wales to life with a coming of age tale much more intelligent than the standard teen sex comedy. It’s…

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