REVIEW: Ocean’s 8 [2018]

Hims are noticed. Hers are ignored. The best way to reboot a franchise is via a sequel. It’s smart because of the connection whether it be setting or characters since familiarity allows us as viewers to settle in without having to relearn what the property intrinsically contains. Look at Creed—or to a lesser extent Star Wars: The Force Awakens—for the perfect example of how something like this works. Both are practically carbon copies of the original installments within their respective franchises and trade on nostalgia to place a new generation…

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REVIEW: Furious 7 [2015]

“You never could take a punch” There’s something about this series that’s transcended any intellectual discussion about cinema. How else does a lamely derivative version of Point Break substituting waves with cars spawn six sequels in fifteen years? Think about that. 2 Fast 2 Furious was so bad that star Vin Diesel turned down a twenty-five million dollar payday to be in it. Then the third entry threw everything out the window but horsepower and took things international across the Pacific. This is where the taste of its potential began,…

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TIFF13 REVIEW: The Art of the Steal [2013]

“Oh. So you’re a wizard now.” When you’re looking to create a successful heist flick it’s usually a good idea to keep things simple. Make everything as airtight as possible, don’t try for too many twists and turns, and maybe throw in a double cross to add a bit of intrigue. This is something that the underrated television show “Leverage” excelled at, allowing its stellar cast to shine above its crime of the week formula. When the theft itself is a foregone conclusion and you know it will all end…

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REVIEW: 도둑들 [The Thieves] [2012]

“Of course. We specialize in miracles.” Saying Dodookdeul [The Thieves] is the Korean Ocean’s 11—like I had been after reading the synopsis—ended up not being as hyperbolic as I originally thought. Coming from one of the country’s most successful writer/directors and starring a bunch of familiar faces in Asian cinema, it’s an easy comparison to make with or without the main heist involving a casino (it does). What Dong-Hoon Choi and co-writer Lee Gi-Cheol have done above that premise, however, is add in some stunning wire-work action sequences, more twists…

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REVIEW: Tower Heist [2011]

“It seems like there’s a gauntlet of lesbians” Josh Kovacs takes care of his own—it’s his job as the manager of a luxury apartment complex in the heart of New York City. With company policy refusing employees from accepting tips, his workers must treat every resident with the utmost care, compassion, and patience. Josh knows every bellhop, cleaning lady, bankrupt squatter, billionaire Wall Street mogul, and septuagenarian lothario within this glass palace and he treats all as family. Just a guy from Astoria, there is something kind and generous to…

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Posterized Propaganda November 2011: Too Many Characters!

“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. Hark! The holidays are upon us! While that signifies the beginning of what should be the glorious awards season flood of quality work only the lucky few of us attending…

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REVIEW: Fast Five [2011]

“Running ain’t freedom—you should know that” If your city’s government finds a request to hold the twenty-year anniversary for The Fast and the Furious reunion, ask Rio de Janeiro how the tenth turned out. A rogue’s gallery of almost every cast member to get behind a car in the series, Fast Five lays it all out on the line by destroying miles of road, a bank’s lobby, and an entire fleet of cars with policía lettered on their side, all while over-using the Statue of Christ the Redeemer for each…

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REVIEW: Takers [2010]

“There goes Channel 14 … going the wrong way” Shot at the end of 2008 with promotional materials cropping up during the following year, the only fathomable reason I can think for the film Takers being released in the second half of 2010 is actor/producer Chris Brown’s extra-curricular activities. Honestly, besides the uninspired poster residing at our theatres for a full year, I’ve been looking forward to the heist flick. Playing like Ocean’s 11, but from the streets, you can’t deny the style at work right from the start. Gordon…

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TIFF09 REVIEW: The Informant! [2009]

“Wow! What a ride; lot’s of memories” Leave it to a director like Steven Soderbergh to film an epic six-hour look into the life of Ché Guevara at war, follow that up with a low-budget indie about a prostitute, and then throw everyone for a loop with the dark, off-beat comedy The Informant! When I first started hearing about the project, I anticipated a serious investigative film about a company’s price fixing scandal. Based on a novel by Kurt Eichenwald, called by many a thriller, the tale shows us how…

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REVIEW: The Girlfriend Experience [2009]

“If they wanted you to be yourself, they wouldn’t be paying you” I like the Ocean’s movies as much as the next guy, but something about Steven Soderbergh’s indie films show how much of a paycheck job those blockbusters are. His artistic endeavors may not always work—see the disappointing Ché Parts 1 & 2—but they do consistently show an auteur trying something new, challenging himself and his viewers. I have not yet seen Bubble, but 2009 brings us his second feature under the HDMovies deal, bringing his films to theatre,…

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REVIEW: Ocean’s 13 [2007]

“Are you watching Oprah?” Many people I have heard from plain despised Ocean’s 12 when they saw it. They complained of its weak plot and unreal goofiness. However, I found it to be very entertaining despite all of that. What the first film had as far as intelligence and wit, the second had in cool and fun. Sure the story was far-fetched and convoluted, but I’d pay to see these guys having fun onscreen anytime. I don’t go to a film like this to be intellectually stimulated, I go to…

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