TIFF19 REVIEW: How to Build a Girl [2020]

This bitch be paying rent. As a young girl with aspirations to write, journalist Caitlin Moran used her hippie homeschool upbringing to enter literary competitions with potential to open industry doors. The Observer‘s “Young Reporter of the Year” at fifteen eventually started her professional career the following year with Melody Maker and never looked back. Did she devolve into the nom de plume Dolly Wild to gleefully trash bands as DM&E‘s resident rock gatekeeper extraordinaire? No. But you have to imagine the opportunity to go that route was available. The…

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REVIEW: The Death of Stalin [2017]

I can’t remember who’s alive and who isn’t. The Russians may have taken umbrage with British director Armando Iannucci‘s The Death of Stalin—a tale of backstabbing governmental hilarity—but their successful quest to ban it domestically is a case of “doth protest too much.” The Soviet Union allied with Hitler’s Nazi regime before joining the winning side and Stalin was very much an enemy of my enemy type of compromise. So while some may have glossed over his many atrocities because he once posed for a photograph with Roosevelt and Churchill,…

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REVIEW: Pride [2014]

“Oh good. I haven’t spoken 1950s in ages.” If you’re going to make a film with a sprawling ensemble of characters equally unique and important to the point where your only true lead is a message of solidarity and comradery itself, it’s a good move to look towards the theater. Pride is the screenwriting debut of actor/playwright Stephen Beresford and only the second film from Broadway director Matthew Warchus with fifteen-years in between and yet it feels like they’ve both been working in the industry for ages. They have wrangled…

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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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REVIEW: The World’s End [2013]

“Lets Boo-Boo” The Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy—a label jokingly coined during the press tour for its second entry—has come to a close with a mint chocolate chip wrapper flapping in the wind. Following horror comedy Shaun of the Dead and bromance actioner Hot Fuzz, The World’s End‘s sci-fi apocalypse makes good use of its title with some fire and brimstone and robots spraying blue blood. The old “Spaced” team took a hiatus when writer/director Edgar Wright delved into comic adaptation Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and writer/star Simon Pegg and…

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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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REVIEW: Blitz [2011]

“Do I look like I carry a pencil?” With a name like Blitz and the surly visage of Jason Statham on its poster, one would expect this British flick to be an action-packed romp with little plausibility. Surprisingly, however, Elliott Lester’s film is a straightforward criminal thriller using its star’s penchant for brutality as merely a character trait rather than a lifestyle. Hotheaded, temperamental, and never one to follow authority too closely, Statham is on the right side of the law this time. A Detective Sergeant going by the name…

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REVIEW: The Bourne Ultimatum [2007]

“He just drove off the roof” I have never been one to shy away from saying that most action films do nothing for me. Most times they’re blatant vehicles to blow stuff up, show off sexy models, and throw any semblance of reality or intelligence out the window. With that said, however, the Bourne series has been fantastic. Doug Liman ushered in a new take on action by using a more cinema verite style, showing the fights in full force while making our super spy someone we can relate to…

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REVIEW: Hot Fuzz [2007]

“Decaffeinated?” Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright are back, with a vengeance. Their send up to all those action films—as they say containing names picked at random from two hats, one of verbs, the other of adjectives—is a fantastic melding of British humor, preposterous action sequences, gruesome horror, and a bit of romantic comedy thrown in for good measure. But then, what action flick doesn’t have a little bit of romantic chemistry between its two macho lead actors? As with Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz is not a spoof playing…

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