TIFF19 REVIEW: Just Mercy [2019]

Trees swaying in the breeze. The story of Walter McMillian’s incarceration and subsequent time on death row is a powerful one with themes spanning police corruption, Southern racism, and justice itself as a means of finding truth rather than convenience. This is an innocent man with a concrete alibi sentenced to death because of coerced testimony and everyone intimately involved with the case knows. Since the victim was a white teenager and McMillian (Johnny D.) a black man caught having an affair with a white woman in the past, none…

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REVIEW: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom [2018]

They’re alive. Like me. Anyone who read/watched Jurassic Park in the 1990s should have known the product of John Hammond’s hubris: a marriage between mankind’s extinction and evolution into something more. This is what the themes of control and the lack thereof portend. To play God is to risk losing everything we have built in the past 300,000 years. Because whether we bring back that which nature destroyed (dinosaurs) or create something wholly new (through genetic manipulation and cloning), we breathe life into a being not meant for the present…

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REVIEW: The Big Short [2015]

“Trust me. This happened.” I can honestly say I learned something watching The Big Short. That’s no small feat considering it was directed and cowritten by funnyman Adam McKay. His collaborations with Will Ferrell acting like a doofus are generally the exact opposite of educational. But he couldn’t have told this story about the handful of eccentrics who bet against the American economy and won by seeing the mortgage bubble everyone else couldn’t (or fraudulently ignored) without a financial crash course. CDOs, tranches, and sub-primes were as synonymous with gibberish…

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TIFF13 REVIEW: The F Word [2014]

“Love is stupid monkeys dancing in a slapstick hurricane” I’m officially a sucker for romantic comedies where guy meets girl by engaging in sarcastically cynical conversation consisting more of glib quips than substantive information. It’s more than likely because that’s exactly what my girlfriend and I do even to this day and most definitely because I’m a hopeless romantic just like the male leads generally are. There is something absolutely relatable to the awkwardly genuine smiles of two introverts connecting with an acquired humor made funnier by the fact everyone…

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REVIEW: I Give It a Year [2013]

“I’d ruin Bieber” Clumsy and cute—that’s my concise review of regular Sacha Baron Cohen collaborator Dan Mazer’s directorial debut I Give It a Year. It’s actually a perfect embodiment of the central marriage for which the bride’s sister indifferently declares the titular sentiment. They bore each other in equal measure while providing the one thing they each thought they desired. Josh (Rafe Spall) is the type of security Nat (Rose Byrne) covets at this time in her life and she is the perfect woman he’s been bred to want through…

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REVIEW: Life of Pi [2012]

“Nice try, ‘Pissing’” **Contains spoilers** I’d love to say Ang Lee‘s Life of Pi is a masterpiece showing me the existence of God like how its titular character’s uncle explains it might to a writer seeking the subject for his new book, but I can’t. The reason, however, says more about myself than the film. Yann Martel‘s novel has been gorgeously brought to life by one of the greatest directors working today and its visual splendor cannot be ignored. Unfortunately, what makes or breaks its success isn’t its beauty, performances,…

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REVIEW: Prometheus [2012]

“How far are you willing to go?” **Potential thematic spoilers** The age-old question has always been an unanswerable, “What is the meaning of life?” It’s a query that could easily be solved on an individual basis as far as wealth, family, success, fame, etc., yet so many desire the all encompassing knowledge we were possibly never meant to have. Gods are created and worshiped to give us purpose—be they deities, idols, or even ourselves. We all strive for more and hope to accomplish whatever it takes to reach whatever form…

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REVIEW: One Day [2011]

“Whatever happens tomorrow, we’ve had today” That quote could very well be the answer to the meaning of life. The future is a construct in a constant state of flux—it’s never known and our dreams are often never fully met. But the concept of today is something we can control. What we do at the present is at the mercy of our hearts’ content. Whatever may happen with the people we’re with should never have bearing on the love, fun, or absolute happiness we are experiencing right now, with or…

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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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