REVIEW: Kong: Skull Island [2017]

“Eating’s for the living” It’s amazing how a film’s success can create a tidal wave, but that’s exactly what Gareth Edwards‘ Godzilla did in 2014. We’re talking critical acclaim, half a billion dollars at the box office, and a rejuvenated plea for monster flicks. Well the first two are fact, the third merely hope on behalf of Legendary Pictures. Because their investment isn’t just sequels, it’s about a “MonsterVerse” so important to them that they got Universal Pictures to give Kong: Skull Island‘s rights to Warner Bros. so a single…

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REVIEW: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl [2015]

“Respect the research” Alfonso Gomez-Rejon‘s Me and Earl and the Dying Girl can be described as The Fault in Our Stars meets Be Kind Rewind. While the correlation to the latter is nearly identical with both comically parodying cinematic greats (albeit of differing oeuvres), the former hits as a contrast despite similar subject matter. Whereas Stars‘ has two leads afflicted by cancer in order to express how they cope with their mortality, the titular “dying girl” here is a tool used to wake its healthy lead up. Above pity, strength,…

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REVIEW: Barely Lethal [2015]

“Like, totem pole” Much like director Kyle Newman‘s first theatrical release Fanboys, his sophomore effort Barely Lethal is built for a niche audience with minimal wiggle room to capture the excitement of casual viewers just stopping by. You don’t need to travel farther than the backlash-riddled comments section of its YouTube trailers to understand this. Snide remarks about its apparent quality, jokes about Samuel L. Jackson loving money, and easy comparisons to fare like Agent Cody Banks are the norm in today’s internet culture of anonymous hate and sarcasm for…

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TIFF14 REVIEW: Welcome to Me [2015]

“And only five carbohydrants” There’s a great reference in Welcome to Me about Cindy Sherman that many may gloss over. Director Shira Piven and screenwriter Eliot Laurence made mention to Network and The Truman Show during their Q&A after my TIFF screening, but I don’t think such comparisons hold a candle to Sherman’s photography challenging audiences with staged depictions of women in society and the media. In them the artist made herself up to be the subject rather than a model or community figure aligned with her concept. The film’s…

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REVIEW: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters [2013]

“Never enter a house made of candy” The thing that’s so disappointing about Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters is the rather ingenious premise at its back. Taking the classic Grimm Brothers tale and expanding on the results of what escaping an evil witch in the woods as children by burning her alive in an oven is so simple and obvious that it’s a wonder no one had thought of it before (not counting The Brothers Grimm). Credit Norwegian writer/director Tommy Wirkola for seeing the potential in transforming these scared kids…

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REVIEW: Project X [2012]

“He’s like a little fat Rain Man tweeting away” I guess I just don’t get it. Being the kid that would rather pick up an extra shift at my hourly job than attend an epic rager the likes no one has ever seen means the insanity that ensues in Project X only cements the fact I made the decision staying away. Directed by Nima Nourizadeh and the brainchild of Michael Bacall, Matt Drake and producer Todd Phillips, the idea that what we’re seeing is real has been squashed way before…

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TIFF10 REVIEW: It’s Kind of a Funny Story [2010]

“I would just live like it meant something” I’ll admit, an adaptation of Ned Vizzini’s novel It’s Kind of a Funny Story wasn’t what I thought Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck would pursue after two well-received dramas in Half Nelson and Sugar. The trailers did express the dramedy aspect, though, despite media outlets incessantly calling it the next comedy starring Zach Galifianakis, so no one should go in thinking it will necessarily be a laugh riot. It’s very funny, in fact a lot funnier than I expected, but the setting…

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