REVIEW: The Irishman [2019]

It’s what it is. Aging lead Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) is approached by two detectives towards the end of Martin Scorsese‘s The Irishman (the cinematic adaptation of Charles Brandt‘s I Heard You Paint Houses as scripted by Steve Zaillian) who let him know he’s the only one left. All the other big-time mafiosos from the Bufalino family and elsewhere had met their demise either from bullet, garrote, or disease (with the rare case of natural causes thrown into the mix). The tactic was to let Frank know that there…

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REVIEW: Rocketman [2019]

I’ll take care of the rest. When you have an icon like Elton John as your subject, the straightforward biopic formula simply won’t work. We know him as the flamboyantly dressed, rock star pianist with funny glasses and sequins who belts out songs that will either make you tap your feet or cry. And while that might have started as a façade to break free of Reginald Dwight’s introverted shell of shyness, he ultimately became this on-stage persona for real. The battles with drugs and alcohol alongside the constant media…

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REVIEW: Hellboy [2019]

It looked bigger in the cartoon. There’s no getting around the fact that Lionsgate did Guillermo del Toro dirty by not extending him an invitation to complete his Hellboy vision with a third film. Whether their decision was due to whatever rubric used to measure the franchise’s success (that they’d willingly reboot the property so soon shows it was viable enough) or creator Mike Mignola wanting to bring things back to where he thought they should be (as was floated around), they turned their back on a soon-to-be Oscar winning…

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TIFF15 REVIEW: A Patch of Fog [2016]

“What happened to one guy doing another guy a favor?” After Michael Lennox‘s success with the Oscar-nominated short Boogaloo and Graham, it was only a matter of time before he’d delve back into the feature game with his debut solo fiction. Scripted by John Cairns and Michael McCartney, A Patch of Fog possesses the type of intrigue and suspense that’s able to capture the attention of two grossly underused character actors in Conleth Hill and Stephen Graham. One plays a famous writer living off the royalties of the only novel…

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REVIEW: Blood [2012]

“You think you’re the only one here with a conscience?” Writer Bill Gallagher took on the daunting task of turning his six-part, 360-minute miniseries “Conviction” into a 90-minute film entitled Blood. It’s a tale about family, mankind’s capacity to do wrong, and the psychology involved in growing up with impossible expectations and the knowledge they’ll never be met. No matter how good Joe (Paul Bettany) and Chrissie Fairburn (Stephen Graham) are as detectives, their legendary father Lenny (Brian Cox) will always overshadow them. He was a man who took the…

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REVIEW: Snatch [2000]

“What do I know about diamonds?” Hot on the heels of his debut Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Guy Ritchie‘s sophomore effort Snatch proved to be the one to cement his name into American audiences’ consciousness. A second collaboration with soon-to-be action superstar Jason Statham, the heist flick is a hilarious romp of brutally violent men propelling itself forward through quick cuts and narrative coincidence/overlapping as illegal boxing matches meet faux Jewish jewelers on the hunt for a giant diamond of which everyone wants a piece. Yes, Statham’s fight…

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REVIEW: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy [2011]

“Smiley leaves with me” When I first heard about Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy I didn’t think it had a chance of living up to my expectations. It possessed an all-star cast, was director Tomas Alfredson‘s English-language follow-up to the brilliant Let the Right One In, and was adapted from an espionage thriller by John le Carré—the novelist of another personal favorite, The Constant Gardener. An unforgettable marketing campaign piqued my interest with stunning character posters composed of number and letter strands color-coded to create each face and the never-ending praise…

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REVIEW: Season of the Witch [2011]

“Ever get the feeling God has too many enemies?” Despite the random list of characters I’ve seen Nicolas Cage play—not to mention the almost infinite selection of those he could portray in the future—an armored knight fighting in the Crusades was not something I ever imagined to see him attempt. That malleable, chameleon-like hair of his doesn’t quite fit the 14th century, especially when juxtaposed with Ron Perlman’s brutish scowl for the duration. Watching the two very different actors joke before a fight about how the man with the least…

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REVIEW: Public Enemies [2009]

“Bye-bye blackbird” There’s this thing called clout that allows certain Hollywood types to be able to get people like Shawn Hatosy and Leelee Sobieski in their films for five-minute throwaway roles. It also gets them the ability to have carte blanche on a script that others may not. I think Michael Mann is one of the good ones; even subpar fare like Miami Vice still seemed to contain what could have been a good film, hidden inside, just a few more edits away. So, when trailers for Public Enemies started…

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