TIFF16 REVIEW: Free Fire [2017]

“Talk about a fucking sledgehammer to crack a nut” TIFF’s Colin Geddes was correct when introducing Ben Wheatley‘s bottle episode of a film Free Fire with the words: “This will wake you up.” The gunfire alone risks perforating your eardrums as John Denver blares from a 1978-era van’s eight-track, but I think it’s the surprising wealth of comedy that ultimately gets the blood pumping and synapses triggering. Wheatley and wife/writer Amy Jump‘s latest isn’t for everyone—fair warning to Hardcore Henry detractors, Sharlto Copley refuses to quit—but those willing to break…

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REVIEW: The Hateful Eight [2015]

“Well I’ll be double-dog damned” It appears Quentin Tarantino has decided to go back to his roots by making his eighth feature film The Hateful Eight in the same vein as his debut Reservoir Dogs—namely keeping sets and actors to the bare minimum for added tension without room for escape. The maneuver couldn’t have come sooner with its predecessor Django Unchained, despite earning an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, proving to me his weakest work. Not only was it pretty much a watered-down rehash of Inglourious Basterds, it was also…

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TIFF13 REVIEW: iNumber Number [2013]

“Hurry. This place got more crooks than government.” The South African director behind cinematic adaptations of John van de Ruit’s comedic, teen-lit Spud series about life at boarding school starring John Cleese hits the Toronto International Film Festival with his latest work: a violent heist flick with a rogue undercover cop at its center. I’m not sure you could go in any more divergent of a direction, but Donovan Marsh handles the transition with aplomb as iNumber Number lives up to its many comparisons to Reservoir Dogs. It’s high style…

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REVIEW: Snatch [2000]

“What do I know about diamonds?” Hot on the heels of his debut Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Guy Ritchie‘s sophomore effort Snatch proved to be the one to cement his name into American audiences’ consciousness. A second collaboration with soon-to-be action superstar Jason Statham, the heist flick is a hilarious romp of brutally violent men propelling itself forward through quick cuts and narrative coincidence/overlapping as illegal boxing matches meet faux Jewish jewelers on the hunt for a giant diamond of which everyone wants a piece. Yes, Statham’s fight…

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BNFF10 REVIEW: A Touch of Grey [2010]

“I felt like a pedophile Suzy Homemaker” When first contacted by writer/director Sandra Feldman about her film A Touch of Grey screening at the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival, I was somewhat taken aback by her being a family physician. To me, it was an interesting career change from the medical field to filmmaker, but after seeing a few credits to her name as a stunt double and the film’s own message about crossroads and picking a direction, I fully understand the decision. She said how the film has been described…

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REVIEW: A Life Less Ordinary [1997]

“I thought we agreed there’d be no cliches” I had always heard good things about this film, but never had the chance to check it out despite being a fan of Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting and 28 Days Later. A Life Less Ordinary has a lot of aspects that Boyle later used in his child fairy-tale Millions from inventive camera tricks to a melding of fantasy sequences with reality. The main thing taken from this viewing however is the tragedy that Ewan McGregor and Boyle may never work together again. Ewan…

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REVIEW: The Rules of Attraction [2002]

“You better bring back change; Daddy wants change” After viewing The Rules of Attraction, one can definitely see how Roger Avary and Quentin Tarantino were friends. Upon leaving their jobs as video store clerks, the two went out and did Reservoir Dogs together, before collaborating on Pulp Fiction. Tarantino took all the credit for those two movies, basically striking Avary out of Dogs completely and only giving him story credit for Pulp. With Rules of Attraction, one sees that there was probably more influence on both films. While this adaptation…

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