REVIEW: The Devil Has a Name [2020]

We’ll always have Paris. Big Oil has been wrecking the environment for decades with spills, fires, and wastewater ponds amongst other atrocities to Mother Nature that place their bottom line above morality. They have the money to do it and the power to avoid any consequences—at least those that ultimately cost more than the price of overhauling the industry in a way that would make them compliant where Earth’s sustainability is concerned. It’s called “net present value.” As long as you make more profit doing bad than the net loss…

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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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FANTASIA14 REVIEW: Preservation [2014]

“The bear went over the mountain” When Christopher Denham‘s Preservation shows recently discharged vet Sean Neary (Pablo Schreiber) telling sister-in-law Wit (Wrenn Schmidt) about how playing war as a kid allowed him to be killed and still find his way home when the game ended, I couldn’t help think of underrated Canadian film I Declare War. In it a group of children battling in the woods is shown killing each other via imaginations projected onscreen. We watch as guns and bows replace the sticks of reality inside the players’ minds—a…

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REVIEW: Allegiance [Recalled] [2012]

“Which diagnosis do you believe?” Not all short films should be given the feature length treatment. What works on a small, concise scale often finds itself expanded beyond its capabilities, not necessarily failing because the additions don’t fit the central conceit but because they ruin the original impact through superfluity. I haven’t seen Michael Connors‘ award-winning short Recalled—although I’d very much like to now—so I can only infer it succeeded where his new variation on the story, Allegiance, falters. The universal themes brought to the table in the context of…

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REVIEW: Happythankyoumoreplease [2011]

“Who says Santa’s pants have to be red?!” It only took about halfway through Happythankyoumoreplease before I began to think about the one thing I probably should have latched onto from the start. The comparisons between this and 2004’s Garden State are unmistakable. And it’s not just the obvious—or what should be obvious if my brain had been working—that each starred and was written and directed by the star of a hit television sitcom, it’s also the sense of heart behind every single moment, the off-kilter eccentricity of certain characters…

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