REVIEW: Jolt [2021]

You’d think they’d learn not to piss her off. Does her extremely high cortisol level make young Lindy a rage monster ready to slam a kids face into a piece of cake after he jumps his turn for an early taste? Or did a rage-fueled adolescence under the rocky guardianship of a drug-addled mother and alcoholic father make it so her cortisol levels became extremely high? I don’t think screenwriter Scott Wascha cares which is which as long as his fast-paced prologue montage narrated by Susan Sarandon can let us…

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REVIEW: Supernova [2021]

Being sad something is gone just means it was great while it was there. No terminal disease solely affects the dying patient because any death not brought naturally by father time is a tragedy everyone surrounding them must also bear. Love is too powerful an emotion to simply allow oneself to check out and avoid the pain of another—even if the latter wishes they would. That’s the rub. One side says, “If you truly love me you will let me go” while the other explains how, “It’s precisely because I…

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REVIEW: A Private War [2018]

I think fear comes later. American journalist Marie Colvin’s family’s lawyers say they have evidence proving the Bashar al-Assad-led government of Syria ordered her death in 2012. If that doesn’t express the power of a free press, I’m not sure what could. At a time when the US President is acting like an autocratic leader deciding who is allowed to cover the White House beat while also calling the media at-large “an enemy of the people,” we would do well to look back at what Colvin did just before a…

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REVIEW: Transformers: The Last Knight [2017]

“You’re running out of tomorrows” Fact: Transformers: The Last Knight is its franchise’s most entertaining entry. While I definitely felt ready to nod off during my original trilogy refresher course this week—and actually shut my eyes a couple times during Age of Extinction—this latest installment had me wide-eyed and interested throughout its 149-minutes (the series’ shortest runtime since its 144-minute original). Sometimes that interest was in the insane retrofitted King Arthur plotline padded by manageable excess, but mostly it was attuned to an unhinged and manic Anthony Hopkins having a…

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REVIEW: Transformers: Age of Extinction [2014]

“I know you have a conscience because you’re an inventor like me” There’s a problem when the first, expository-heavy hour of a three-hour Transformers action extravaganza shines above the rest. Michael Bay has looked upon this franchise from the start as an excuse to put explosions and destruction onscreen alongside cheesy and sometimes offensive comedy to satisfy the young children of parents (uninterested in shielding their ears from the oft swear word) that grew up in the 80s. He excelled at this mix with the first installment, casting the sarcastically…

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REVIEW: Beauty and the Beast [2017]

“Now find it in your mind’s eye and feel it in your heart” This latest Disney epoch consisting of live action remakes/re-imaginings of their classic animated tales has the studio utilizing a few different creative motivations. The best has thus far has been their ability to find ways to create something wholly new and better from the blueprints of those that didn’t age well (The Jungle Book‘s basic sing-along and Pete’s Dragon‘s archaic values). Then there’s the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” school with Cinderella wherein the filmmakers…

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REVIEW: Spotlight [2015]

“What arraignment?” If Thomas McCarthy’s maligned fairy tale The Cobbler provided any help in securing money to put his script Spotlight in front of cameras, it was worth every disparaging word thrown its way. Co-written with Josh Singer, this 2013 Blacklist alum proves an informative and accurate look at the investigative journalism process as well as an engrossing exposé that refuses to let go despite our knowing the story it exposed. Much like famed predecessor All the President’s Men, audiences arrive keenly aware of the Catholic Church scandal at its…

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REVIEW: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 [2014]

“If we met up at midnight in the hanging tree” Welcome to the bait and switch. If you’ve read Suzanne Collins‘ Hunger Games Trilogy you know that Mockingjay is by far the meatiest and most resonate installment of the series despite diverting from the blueprint that brought people in. So rich in the politics, revolution, and sci-fi lying underneath the action of the previous entries, splitting it into two films was actually a good idea. They should have placed the release dates months apart a la The Matrix sequels rather…

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REVIEW: Mr. Peabody & Sherman [2014]

“But that’s not fair! All my friends are fighting the Trojan War!” It’s been a decade in the making but director Rob Minkoff has finally brought Mr. Peabody and Sherman to theaters. He tried with Sony in 2003, got the ball rolling again with Dreamworks in 2006, and saw the latter studio’s purchase of the Classic Media library in 2012 as the clincher to guarantee it’d come to fruition. With characters known from segments of the 60s television series “The Bullwinkle Show”, they’re virtually a brand new property for today’s…

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REVIEW: Muppets Most Wanted [2014]

“It’s not easy being … mean” Is it a coincidence the Muppet renaissance follows the same trajectory as its subjects’ original cinematic saga? 2011’s The Muppets was enjoyable if not a tad overrated due to its story mirroring many of the beats that made 1979’s The Muppet Movie a classic. Revamping its road movie trope perfectly suited the need to reintroduce these iconic figures to a new audience ready to realize the troupe’s potential as they reunited for the common goal of putting on the greatest show in their history.…

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REVIEW: Some Velvet Morning [2013]

“When has love ever been fair?” It’s official: Neil LaBute is back. I know that’s a horrible thing to say considering he’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever talked to in the industry and never actually went anywhere creatively where the theater scene’s concerned, but a decade of watching him direct other people’s scripts (two of which were remakes) can take its toll on a fan. It’s therefore with immense pleasure that I confidently announce Some Velvet Morning is everything I’ve missed and hoped I’d experience again. Whether the…

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