REVIEW: The Batman [2022]

No more lies. It’s been twenty years since the murder of his parents. Two since he put on the cowl. Gotham still doesn’t know what to think of the costume, but the fear it has placed inside the hearts of criminals cannot be overstated. Violence only seems to increase, though, and Bruce Wayne (Robert Pattinson) wonders if his presence as a vigilante seeking vengeance has done anything beyond giving offenders another figure of “justice” to run from. Saving a helpless man from a gang on Halloween, only for the victim…

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REVIEW: The Lost Daughter [2021]

Children are a crushing responsibility. Leda (Olivia Colman) has obviously been looking forward to her working vacation on a Greek island. She cannot stop smiling upon arrival. It’s not long after, however, that the prospect of a quiet few weeks taking notes for the next year’s course load or current research takes a turn for the worse. Enter a loud, entitled extended family every local knows by name and reputation. The noise distracts Leda from her work. The disruptive attitudes born from the privilege of being feared ruins her ability…

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REVIEW: Mr. Jones [2019]

I’ve woken up screaming in Barry myself. It’s not a bad thing to be insane in an insane world. In fact, it’s comfortable. So it’s unsurprising that a room full of old white British men would simply laugh when Gareth Jones (James Norton) tells them a truth their privileged naiveté refuses to let be taken seriously at the start of Agnieszka Holland‘s Mr. Jones. He’s a Foreign Service employee under Lloyd George (Kenneth Cranham) who found himself on a plane with Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels, interviewing the two to…

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TIFF REVIEW: The Lie [2019]

We’re not turning around. All kids grow up. Some parents grow apart. And the ramifications of this combination can have drastic effects. Jealousies might crop up to cause rifts while nostalgia for times long since past try replacing a present of anger and regret. So what is there to do but deal with the pain? When the parents’ relationship devolves into acrimony, the child sees it. He/she will feel it in every fiber of his/her being. Maybe they act out in response to escape the position of diplomatic go-between keeping…

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REVIEW: Loving Pablo [2018]

You tell me your secrets and I’ll tell you mine. The latest cinematic look at Pablo Escobar is titled Loving Pablo for a reason: it’s based on Colombian journalist Virginia Vallejo‘s book Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar. Fernando León de Aranoa makes a concerted effort to show as much in his opening by following Vallejo (Penélope Cruz) to an American hotel room over a decade after first meeting her long-time, not-so-secret boyfriend. We hear her voiceover explain how this journey’s circumstances are much different than earlier ones, laughing with her when…

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REVIEW: Jackie [2016]

“When something’s written down—does that make it true?” It’s rather intriguing how we feel we know our presidents. They represent us as a leader of the free world and we in turn love them enough to mourn their passing even when it’s decades after their run in the Oval Office ceased. But what is it that we really know? We only see what they allow. We see the aftermath of important moments—good and bad—but not the decisions themselves. Everything that we know without reading a book comes from what they’ve…

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TIFF16 REVIEW: The Magnificent Seven [2016]

“It won’t sweeten, it’ll only sour” I’m at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to the new The Magnificent Seven despite going in thinking it’d be the other way around. Here I was anticipating that I’d be able to watch the film with a completely blank slate because I’ve never seen the 1960 version nor have I yet been able to sit down for what is surely one of cinema’s greats: Akira Kurosawa‘s Seven Samurai. So, pretending to be a true millennial that doesn’t realize movies were made before those…

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REVIEW: Experimenter [2015]

“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards” As Peter Sarsgaard‘s Stanley Milgram posthumously states at the conclusion of Michael Almereyda‘s Experimenter, his work compiled in Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View continues to come up in conversation whenever a new atrocity occurs in the news. Milgram’s impetus, as explained in one of many fourth wall-breaking instances throughout the film, stemmed from World War II and how seemingly ordinary people became complicit in the murder of millions. What made them ignore their humanity and morality to…

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REVIEW: Pawn Sacrifice [2015]

“I’m searching for the truth” I’ve always been fascinated by Bobby Fischer due to his vanishing rather than anything he accomplished at a chessboard. I’ve never been good at the game, yet I respect its complexity. The greats literally memorize past matches and maneuvers, so in-tune with the playing field that they can play out loud with nothing more than words. Fischer was a great—the youngest Grandmaster in history and the first American-born World Champion. Like most geniuses, however, the strain of intellect, pressure, and success brought with it a…

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REVIEW: Black Mass [2015]

“If nobody sees it, it didn’t happen” The story of Southie crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp) is perfectly suited for a sprawling, character-driven cinematic adaptation because of the corruption level involved. Based on the book by Boston Globe reporters Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill, Black Mass screenwriters Mark Mallouk and Jez Butterworth take us through an in-depth look at a local gangster making good on his promise to watch out for South Boston just as he helps ruin it with drugs and murder before ultimately transforming into an…

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REVIEW: Garden State [2004]

“I’ll take a hug” Sometimes a movie comes along at the perfect time. Maybe it’s a story you can relate to, a work firing on all cylinders aesthetically, or something that pulls you into its emotionality and refuses to let go. Garden State was that film for twenty-two year old, college graduate me embracing my first job in the field I hoped to one day call my career. As a working graphic designer my palette for the arts was exponentially expanding through cinema and music in ways it never had…

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