REVIEW: Gringo [2018]

Why’s everyone talking about gorillas all of a sudden? You wouldn’t be wrong to view the trailer for Gringo and think, “I’ve seen this before.” You wouldn’t be wrong to assume it gave away the entire plot either—mild-mannered American is used by his ruthless bosses to perform a dangerous job they refuse to attempt and is kidnapped by a Mexican cartel for his trouble. Will he survive the chaos? Will his bosses save him or extricate themselves from blame? Or will the hapless victim of an increasingly escalating ordeal somehow…

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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: Hardcore Henry [2016]

“Don’t touch that. Emma-Jean is mine.” It’s not that it hasn’t been done before—it’s just never been done like this. Writer/director Ilya Naishuller rigged GoPro cameras to his cameraman/lead stuntman’s face and let the action fly because who needs trickery when you can literally jump into the fight? Hardcore Henry is a pedal-to-the-metal adrenaline rush adventure taken on by a half-man, half-robot mute resurrected from the dead to move hell and high water so his past life’s wife (Haley Bennett‘s Estelle) is kept safe from the financial benefactor of her…

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REVIEW: Chappie [2015]

“I want to go home” I understand the general public not wanting to go as far into sci-fi as Neill Blomkamp goes with Chappie—although they loved the similar lengths of District 9—but it’s hard to believe the critical sphere has taken such a hard stance against it. Actually, maybe it’s not too difficult to believe after they’ve railed against it for months, anticipating a bomb due to the writer/director’s admittedly failed sophomore effort Elysium. In direct contrast to their relish at taking it down, I found it to be very…

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REVIEW: Maleficent [2014]

“Goodbye, Beastie” Let’s be honest, Disney’s Sleeping Beauty is a bit of a bore. I remember my sister often wanting to watch when we were kids and me having none of it until the end’s fire and brimstone and menacing dragon spawned from the tale’s creepy, wide-smiling villain. Did I understand the fairy’s reason for cursing the princess? No. I’m not quite sure I realized the political ramifications of her baby shower invite getting lost in the mail until it was explained to me last night after watching Maleficent—the Mouse…

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REVIEW: Elysium [2013]

“The hippo wanted a friend” It shouldn’t surprise anyone that a guy like writer/director Neill Blomkamp would find his sophomore effort lacking in intelligently original storytelling despite an infusion of studio money to help elevate what was already a stellar visual aesthetic. His Academy Award nominated District 9 shocked the world via its biting political message in recreating his home country’s darkest days of Apartheid with amazing alien effects by Image Engine. If anything he was too good his first time out and as a result found his new high…

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The Most Anticipated Films of 2010

2010 looks to be a very intriguing year for the film world. A lot of big name directors are coming in with new work, hopefully continuing on their winning ways, while others are returning to perhaps erase some recent blunders and get back on track. There are two true sequels on the list, four depending on your definition, (and Harry Potter isn’t one since I’m not quite sure what to think, being only a Part I of a final chapter), a couple television shows getting big screen love, and a…

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REVIEW: District 9 [2009]

“There’s many secrets in District 9” Can we all agree that the demise of Halo the movie could possibly be one of Hollywood’s greatest moves in the past two years? Sure, Peter Jackson was behind the scenes and his handpicked, first-time director Neill Blomkamp was crafting some pretty nifty test footage, but would the studio machine have left their vision intact? I’m hard-pressed to say yes. Instead, however, that failure led to Jackson’s funding of an original screenplay for his new buddy Neil, titled District 9, that would eventually take…

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