REVIEW: Solo: A Star Wars Story [2018]

You said never improvise. Nine movies into the cinematic world of George Lucas‘ Star Wars—three of which extend past his control over the franchise—and we remain tethered to the Skywalkers. It makes sense. In order for Disney to commoditize the property, they must first reconnect with old fans and familiarize the new. So they stuck with Luke, Leia, and Anakin’s continuing legacy (even if they threw out extended universe material once considered canon). They began with a rousing remake, continued with a spin-off expanding upon a moment we knew occurred…

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REVIEW: Avengers: Infinity War [2018]

He’s never fought me twice. It’s been ten years since we met Tony Stark on the big screen. Ten years of serial storytelling with massive budgets, character crossovers, television offshoots, and Stan Lee cameos that took Hollywood and the box office by storm. Not even steward Kevin Feige could have predicted that type of longevity with twenty films by 2018’s completion, but here he and we are at the culmination of all those carefully laid plans. It’s been an enjoyable journey with origin tales, rights swapping, tonal shifts, and more…

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REVIEW: Captain America: Civil War [2016]

“Victory at the expense of the innocent is no victory at all” We’ve officially approached the apex of the Marvel Cinematic Universe wherein films cannot be about one single character anymore. The Infinity Wars being just around the corner means that time has been regulated. There’s an endgame as there always has been and the pieces must be put into position now. What made The Avengers so great was that its endgame was merely to put Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and…

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REVIEW: Shelter [2015]

“The objective is forgiveness” It’s quite comforting to see actors-turned-directors not shying away from tough subject matter. You’d almost assume they would amidst stereotypes of celebrity vanity driving them to worry about losing audience appeal. Looking at a guy like Ben Affleck leveraging a fledging acting career destroyed by bad mainstream choices into a critically acclaimed metamorphosis as an A-list director, however, shows the transition is real regardless of content or perception. I’d rather a guy like Ryan Gosling get derided for taking a chance on Lost River than see…

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Toronto International Film Festival 2014 Preview

We may have two consistent film festivals here in town showcasing small releases and restored classics, but you might not realize how close we are to one of the biggest in the world. Most “in the know” will center on five events when thinking about the best of the best film festivals and while Venice, Cannes, and Berlin are an ocean away and Sundance is across the country, The Toronto International Film Festival is less than a two-hour drive via the QEW into Canada. Even better than proximity, though, is…

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REVIEW: A Knight’s Tale [2001]

“We walk in the garden of his turbulence” There was always one reason I didn’t watch A Knight’s Tale: Heath Ledger. I eventually turned around on him as an actor after The Brothers Grimm and of course his Oscar nominated role in Brokeback Mountain, but in 2001 he was just that heartthrob all the girls loved who probably couldn’t act. Yes, I say probably because I’ll admit to never really giving the man a chance despite my enjoying him in Monster’s Ball, The Patriot, and guilty pleasure 10 Things I…

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REVIEW: Transcendence [2014]

“They say there’s power in Boston” With a trailer digitizing Johnny Depp and electronic machinery created out of thin air, it’s an understatement to say I was surprised the beginning of Transcendence introduced a world without power. I thought the film was about new technology and the advancement of artificial intelligence harboring a potential for hubristic power grabs and the genocide of organic thinking/emotional response. Instead I saw broken screens on the street and a shop owner wedging a chewed-up keyboard into the gap between his door and the ground…

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REVIEW: Blood [2012]

“You think you’re the only one here with a conscience?” Writer Bill Gallagher took on the daunting task of turning his six-part, 360-minute miniseries “Conviction” into a 90-minute film entitled Blood. It’s a tale about family, mankind’s capacity to do wrong, and the psychology involved in growing up with impossible expectations and the knowledge they’ll never be met. No matter how good Joe (Paul Bettany) and Chrissie Fairburn (Stephen Graham) are as detectives, their legendary father Lenny (Brian Cox) will always overshadow them. He was a man who took the…

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REVIEW: Iron Man 3 [2013]

“How did you get out of the wormhole?” Phase Two of Marvel’s cinematic universe begins with the character that started their astronomically successful multi-narrative platform—Iron Man. And while a line of text following the always-assured post-credits sequence states that “Tony Stark will be back”, the question remains whether or not actor Robert Downey Jr. will be under the helmet. It’s therefore no surprise to see the studio looking to end this trilogy with a bit of arc closure just in case as the progression from a once billionaire playboy to…

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REVIEW: Margin Call [2011]

“It’s a long way down” When most people think about Wall Street movies they usually conjure images of the financial center’s eponymous Oliver Stone flick or something like Boiler Room showing the fast life and high rewards achieved by twenty-somethings pushing numbers around a computer screen. We think glamorous lifestyles and the stench of arrogance as money-hungry men in suits fleece the common man to make a percentage off their nest egg’s devastating losses. It’s high stakes poker on a grand scale relying on men with ulterior motives to give…

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REVIEW: Priest [2011]

“There has always been man and there have always been vampires” The war may be over but the false sense of peace is merely a charade. All the church has needed to keep order is the lie cultivated that vampires have been neutralized. While the battle that waged for years and risked worldwide destruction may have ended, the threat remains. With the help of priests—clergymen trained in the art of vampire combat—the church found a way to win in darkness. These men and women tattooed with a cross down the…

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