REVIEW: Pokémon: Detective Pikachu [2019]

I can feel it in my jellies. It’s almost shocking that nobody made a live-action Pokémon movie considering the card game’s heyday was back in the 1990s while the anime and video games still ruled kids’ televisions. That’s not to say the property ever disappeared. Nintendo couldn’t have turned “Pokémon GO” into an international smartphone phenomenon without strong brand recognition spanning multiple generations. But what was there to lean on narratively? The creatures themselves can’t say anything but their names and the human characters are kids trying to catch them…

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REVIEW: Van Wilder [2002]

Write that down. Twenty-four years after Tim Matheson‘s Eric “Otter” Stratton fast-talked his way towards saving a fraternity in National Lampoon’s Animal House, the torch was passed onto former “Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place” star Ryan Reynolds. The timing isn’t surprising since American Pie and its sequel earned box office success while bringing the gross-out antics Matheson and friends originated back to the big screen. This is why I never had an interest in watching Van Wilder despite being a Reynolds fan. It simply never seemed as…

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REVIEW: Deadpool 2 [2018]

We can’t really live until we die a little. The biggest critical gripe coming out of the first Deadpool film was that its attempt to subvert the superhero genre was squandered by being a superhero film. What does that mean? It literally is a superhero film. The character is an X-Men alum who exists to fight bad guys (and good guys alike). So the plot was always going to follow a familiar arc towards finding redemption and/or revenge against those foes/friends. Where it diverted from the formula was its embracement…

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REVIEW: Life [2017]

“Its curiosity outweighs its fear” Calling Daniel Espinosa‘s Life an Alien retread is the easy thing to do. Both are tensely claustrophobic science fiction films with a violent extraterrestrial that’s loose and in search of the crew. But it’s also a very reductive comparison considering they are nothing alike beside genre conventions. The missions are different. The time period is different. And the creature’s motivation is as dissimilar as can be. Life also can’t help but stand apart on its own for one reason: it could actually happen tomorrow. We…

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REVIEW: Deadpool [2016]

“Maximum effort” The fact Deadpool is in theaters should have fans and detractors of the superhero “genre” excited because it signals a burst of creativity within an otherwise stagnant artistic avenue. But don’t think it won’t still be a superhero movie. A lot of talk in the critical sphere revolves around how Tim Miller and Ryan Reynolds’ passion project “looks to subvert convention” yet “ends up just another comic book origin story.” Guess what? Deadpool is a comic book character. Just because he’s self-aware enough to mock his world’s tropes…

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REVIEW: Mississippi Grind [2015]

“It’s Machu Picchu time” Filmmaking duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck‘s latest Mississippi Grind is an interesting creature. It has no ulterior motives whatsoever and that’s a unique attribute for a movie about gambling. You can’t watch loudmouth storyteller Curtis (Ryan Reynolds) happen upon the same poker table as down on his luck sad sack Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) without knowing he’s in the midst of a con. We don’t know what he could want from a guy who is joining sixty-dollar buy-in tournaments to pray he’ll be able to pay-off…

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REVIEW: The Voices [2015]

“I know karate” Don’t let the wide-eyed giddiness of Ryan Reynolds‘ Jerry Hickfang fool you. There’s darkness inside him that simply hasn’t yet been coaxed out into the open. It may take a little while to see it in full force so you can truly comprehend what is going on with the Edward Scissorhands-esque bright colors and smiling faces version of warped small town suburbia, but it will be an eye-opening revelation when it does. What this means too is that you need to try and not let Reynolds’ broad…

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REVIEW: The Croods [2013]

“Never not be afraid” One credit has fascinated me since The Croods opened in theaters: story by John Cleese. That John Cleese? Surprisingly, yes. It’s a somewhat convoluted journey from his failed adaptation of Roald Dahl‘s The Twits with Kirk DeMicco catching the eye of Dreamworks and earning them the pick of the litter as far as in production pitches at the studio. They chose one about a stereotypical caveman and his “modern” counterpart running from the volcanic apocalypse plate tectonics wrought. It was set up at Aardman, left for…

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REVIEW: Just Friends [2005]

“Does this hat make me look fat?” The memory of All-4-One lives on in a laugh-out-loud lip-synched rendition from Ryan Reynolds in the romantic comedy Just Friends. A film suggested to me by many, their descriptions always began with an, “it’s stupid, but really, really funny.” They were not wrong as any substantial plot involving the leading ex-BFFs ten years later is ignored in order to showcase a rising Reynolds and his self-deprecating ability to make a fool of himself. Between wearing a fat suit, myriad of pratfalls, and constant…

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REVIEW: Fletch [1985]

“Jesus H. Christ on a popsicle stick” Being someone who never quite understood the appeal of Chevy Chase until his wonderful return to show business with television’s “Community”, it’s no surprise I never caught up with his more famous role in Fletch. Always finding an off-putting smugness where I was supposed to enjoy deadpan sarcasm, the urge to punch him in the face rather than laugh has lingered over the years. Sure, I enjoyed him in smaller roles like Caddyshack and have fond childhood memories of Funny Farm despite not…

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Posterized Propaganda February 2012: The Dreadful and the Dread Inducing

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. And we’re back after ignoring a month where the most interesting poster was Liam Neeson‘s face washed out in white. I’m not saying February is any better—because it’s not—but at…

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