REVIEW: The Lodge [2020]

She can’t go to Heaven! It’s almost too perfect. After reading Sergio Casci‘s spec script and wondering who’d be best to steward it towards its next stage, Hammer Films saw Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala as easy marks. Their debut Goodnight Mommy dealt with the psychological strife that occurs when two young children are trapped inside a house with a woman they cannot trust and it does so with ample deflection, half truths, and narrative manipulation. Casci’s The Lodge is so similar that I’m surprised Franz and Fiala chose to…

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REVIEW: Ocean’s 8 [2018]

Hims are noticed. Hers are ignored. The best way to reboot a franchise is via a sequel. It’s smart because of the connection whether it be setting or characters since familiarity allows us as viewers to settle in without having to relearn what the property intrinsically contains. Look at Creed—or to a lesser extent Star Wars: The Force Awakens—for the perfect example of how something like this works. Both are practically carbon copies of the original installments within their respective franchises and trade on nostalgia to place a new generation…

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REVIEW: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies [2014]

“One light, alone in the darkness” No matter how entertaining The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is—definitely the best of the trilogy—I still can’t shake the feeling that J.R.R. Tolkien‘s tale would have been better served as a two-parter. A lot of the added information director Peter Jackson and his stable of co-writers injected throughout the first two installments come to a head here amongst the end-to-end carnage and it does add more emotion and higher stakes albeit between characters who shouldn’t be included in this Lord of…

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REVIEW: Into the Storm [2014]

“Me and the planet go way back. So …” We need to talk about Into the Storm‘s unsung hero: Lucas. Played by Lee Whittaker, most won’t think twice about his character standing on the sidelines with camera in-hand to document this natural disaster later edited together for our enjoyment. (Can we go meta and pretend Steven Quale is the director of the film and the film?) He used to play lacrosse, he’s in it for the money, and he doesn’t get crap from boss Pete (Matt Walsh) because he’s all…

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REVIEW: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug [2013]

“I could have anything down my trousers” There is a certain charm to the middle section of a book where characters met start to come into their own before the big climax. It’s a crucial section, one its bookends need to truly succeed. However, when a single work of fiction is stretched and divided into three acts, this portion will inevitably prove anticlimactic when isolated from the rest. Peter Jackson and company are sadly not immune to this truth while attempting to model J.R.R. Tolkien‘s The Hobbit after his Lord…

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REVIEW: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey [2012]

“Home is now behind you” It’s hard to return to Middle Earth without thinking about Randal Graves from Clerks II and his defense of Star Wars possessing as its cornerstone the fact Peter Jackson‘s film version of J.R.R. Tolkien‘s Lord of the Rings trilogy was all a bunch of people walking. He’s not wrong. What the generalization misses, however, is just how integral the gorgeous landscapes of New Zealand play in creating this fantastical world. We accept the long treks across mountains and through trees because it breathes life into…

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