REVIEW: Possessor [2020]

Pull me out. We see it all the time in antihero assassin films: the killer with a conscience. How many jobs does it take for the toll to become too much? Where do they draw the line between their professional identity and the private one they share at home with family? Love, companionship, joy—they’re all used as incentives to pull these murderers for hire out of the dark mindset that has consumed them since their days in the military or since the horrible tragedy that marked them during childhood. Hope…

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TIFF20 REVIEW: Wolfwalkers [2020]

Half wolf, half witch, half people. The woodsmen are clearing out the forest to expand Kilkenny, Ireland’s farmland circa 1650 under orders of Lord Protector Cromwell (Simon McBurney)—an Englishman. He and the British crown see these Irish folk as a people in need of taming so it’s only fitting that he try his hand at ridding the countryside of wolves first. This is something these peasants can get behind because they fear what those beasts might do if left unchecked. They clamor for the soldiers to protect them. They willingly…

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REVIEW: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers [2002]

“Not idly do the leaves of Lorien fall” The second part of a trilogy is oftentimes the worst. It exists in a no man’s land without beginning or end, a bridge we must wait for and wait further to continue that cannot survive on its own. So it’s therefore a rarity when this chapter possesses the ability to tell its story in a way that allows for its own success while also augmenting the larger whole. J.R.R. Tolkien understood this when he wrote The Lord of the Rings. Even though…

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REVIEW: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring [2001]

“Keep your nose out of trouble and no trouble will come to you” Published in 1955, The Lord of the Rings would soon prove to be J.R.R. Tolkien‘s masterwork. It took him twelve years to complete, a project that began as a sequel to The Hobbit before morphing into its own adventure steeped in dark mythology as contained by The Silmarillion—a book he had hoped to publish alongside its account of the One Ring’s return from Gollum’s possession in the Misty Mountain and Bilbo Baggins’ pocket in the Shire. The…

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REVIEW: War Requiem [1989]

“I knew we stood in Hell” English composer Benjamin Britten was commissioned to mark the consecration of the rebuilt Coventry Cathedral in 1962 (after the original was destroyed during World War II). The result is his War Requiem, a work juxtaposing the traditional Latin Mass for the Dead with poetry written by World War I casualty Wilfred Owen. Killed in action in 1918, Owen has become revered as a war poet of note whose work touches upon the horrors experienced in the trenches. He delivered stories of nightmare and death,…

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REVIEW: Shopping [1994]

“Don’t get caught” I don’t know what it is about Paul W.S. Anderson, but I very rarely dislike his flicks no matter the critical consensus or fandom drubbings. He isn’t the best director out there but he has created some interesting vehicles despite it—enough to accept the fact that Hollywood studios will continue giving him money to make them. And even though it’s a far cry from the video game adaptations serving as his claim to fame, Anderson’s debut Shopping feels right at home alongside Resident Evil and Mortal Kombat.…

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REVIEW: The Martian [2015]

“Mars will come to fear my botany powers” Sometimes we need a good old-fashioned feel good tale that doesn’t talk down to us for smiles to unabashedly form at the movies. Ridley Scott‘s The Martian provides exactly that. You have a healthy dose of infectious humor, life and death suspense, space exploration to an uncharted planet, and Earth coming together for hope. It’s easy to find a depressing film putting utilitarian principles to work so one man can die for the many to live, so seeing a piece that throws…

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REVIEW: Jupiter Ascending [2015]

“The problem with astrology … total bullshit” Sometimes filmgoers simply want to be entertained and often don’t mind when the means of that fun skews towards the headier side of things—no matter how implausible, campy, or convenient that direction proves. Jupiter Ascending isn’t trying to sell itself as some grand magnum opus that cures cancer; it’s merely a new space opera from the blockbuster sci-fi duo Wachowski Starship (Andy and Lana). They were commissioned by the studio to write exactly that in the hopes of franchise viability. Do I see…

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REVIEW: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief [2010]

“It’s like High School, but without the Musical” Who else could have the catchy pop beats to lull a trio of mythologically inclined heroes into a trance, keeping them from their task at hand, than Lady Gaga? Director Chris Columbus made the right call on that one as he takes the plunge into yet another popular fantasy series, hoping to achieve the success he had in starting the Harry Potter saga. My main gripe with the first two films there was that he stayed too true to the source material,…

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REVIEW: Silent Hill [2006]

“Sinners deserve to lose their spawn” Silent Hill is a study in atmosphere and mood. While some may say it is style over substance, I’d have to agree a bit, but correct the statement to style with substance. Christophe Gans, the visionary director behind a great foreign film Brotherhood of the Wolf, has crafted a film that is visually astonishing while mind-bendingly layered. Credit writer Roger Avary, whom I have yet to be disappointed with anything I’ve seen containing his involvement, for adapting, not the story exactly, but the emotion…

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