REVIEW: The Laundromat [2019]

Bad is such a big word … for being such a small word. The first time writer Scott Z. Burns paired up with director Steven Soderbergh proved to be a rousing success. The Informant! had real life intrigue, absurd comedy, and an inspired cast to pull everything together in a way that simultaneously educated and entertained. After teaming for two thrillers in the years since, this cinematic duo has now returned to that lighter side of dark subject matter courtesy of The Laundromat—an adaptation of Jake Bernstein‘s book Secrecy World:…

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REVIEW: Tone-Deaf [2019]

Maybe you should get out of the city for a bit. The kids just aren’t the same anymore and it’s slowly making Harvey (Robert Patrick) go insane. His son (Ronnie Gene Blevins‘ David) thinks it’s dementia and wants to put him in an assisted living institute, but that’s merely another example of America’s youth forgetting their responsibilities. In his day family took care of itself. When Harvey’s wife died, he did everything to give his son a good life. And this is his reward? Abandonment? He’s sacrificed blood, sweat, tears,…

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TIFF15 REVIEW: Hellions [2015]

“Blood for baby” There’s a lot I like about Bruce McDonald‘s latest horror Hellions. Just as much also has me scratching my head, though. While this sometimes enhances the experience by cajoling you into wanting to watch it again to catch any little details you may have missed, I’m not sure this is one of those times. Unfortunately, right when the creepy factor breaks through its gauge to push me over the edge, it suddenly devolves into silliness. I don’t think it’s of the intentional kind either because screenwriter Pascal…

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REVIEW: Terminator 2: Judgment Day [1991]

“You’re really real” Oh what seven years can accomplish through cinematic technological achievement. While The Terminator still looks good today, Terminator 2: Judgment Day looks amazing. Director James Cameron acknowledges his evolutionary leap by opening the follow-up with a near-replica 2029 Los Angeles prologue as the first to showcase exactly how far forward. These new sentient machines are carbon copies of the old moving with marginal hitching to physically belong next to their human adversaries. Besides the sequences inside cars with flat projections whooshing by (Hollywood still hasn’t perfected this…

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REVIEW: Endless Love [2014]

“Should I take off my shoes or somethin’?” If this year’s Valentine’s hopeful Endless Love does anything right it’s that it doesn’t sweat the small stuff. The crucial moment that fractures any chance of David Elliot (Alex Pettyfer) winning the approval of his girlfriend Jade Butterfield’s (Gabriella Wilde) father Hugh (Bruce Greenwood) comes as a result of petty jealousy. The kids are moonlighting after hours (read trespassing) at the local zoo when one of the group phones the cops because “boohoo” she isn’t getting any loving. Rather than waste time…

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REVIEW: Identity Thief [2013]

“Foxhole! The safe word is Foxhole!” The words “from the director of Horrible Bosses” instilled little hope for me sitting down to Seth Gordon‘s newest work Identity Thief. Screenwriter Craig Mazan‘s name—he of too many asinine spoofs—only made matters worse. No, this road comedy’s saving grace would have to be co-star Melissa McCarthy and the level of hysterics she has unfailingly brought since breaking out in Bridesmaids. The fact her role of Diana was rewritten specifically for her after original intentions called for a man shows how high her star…

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REVIEW: Gangster Squad [2013]

“Who’s the tomato?” Tragedies like last year’s Aurora, Colorado shooting on The Dark Knight Rises‘ opening night are just that—tragic. We can never image the pain, anger, and heartache of families and friends effected or ever want to think it could happen to us. So when art skews close to reenacting that suffering—albeit with no relation whatsoever to the actual event—one can understand the trepidation in not wanting to exacerbate things by belittling the horror or appearing callous and uncaring. This is why I’m not surprised Warner Brothers held their…

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REVIEW: Balls of Fury [2007]

“I’m going to Disneyland!” With the appropriately titled book Writing Movies for Fun and Profit: How We Made a Billion Dollars at the Box Office and You Can, Too! under their belts, one could easily make the case for Balls of Fury being Robert Ben Garant and Thomas Lennon‘s cornerstone in screenwriting profiteering. A sports redemption tale set inside the seedy underbelly of elite ping-pong, the premise is laughable as a comedy skit let alone a feature length film. But this is what Garant and Lennon—comedians and creators of “The…

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REVIEW: The Hire [2001-2002]

“BMW recommends that you always wear your seatbelt” After watching the Parallel Lines series, my desire to revisit BMW’s The Hire was too much to contain. This thing was a cultural phenomenon, doing what no one had ever done, with a medium still untested at the time. Back in 2001, households across America were still learning about the internet; installing their dial-up connections to surf for mostly news articles and sites without too many images for quick access. Looking to tap into a market that could target its demographic of…

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REVIEW: Firewall [2006]

“I’m going to find my dog” It’s almost comforting to know that when trailers for action thrillers are in paint by numbers structure their film counterparts are as well. The Harrison Ford actioner Firewall seemed like a redundant, rehashed plot regurgitated for the umpteenth time and that is exactly what it ended up being, minus any real action. Sure the plot tried to be high-tech, utilizing the firewall protection systems that battle against hackers and computer viruses, taking pace away from the story to show us that Ford really knows…

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