REVIEW: The Song of Names [2019]

Going home to play a song for the ashes. It’s been thirty-five years since Dovidl (Jonah Hauer-King) disappeared in 1951. He was a violinist—a genius virtuoso depending on whom you asked (himself included)—primed to make his London debut in a sold out house courtesy of the man that served as his guardian the previous decade-plus (Stanley Townsend‘s Gilbert Simmonds). One second he had his prized instrument in-hand while friend/surrogate brother/Gilbert’s son Martin (Gerran Howell) told him to relax and enjoy the moment. Dovidl was finally going to show the world…

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REVIEW: Luce [2019]

I can’t be perfect. So much of who we are and what we become relies on perception. Race, gender, religion, sexuality, language, culture, education, and socio-economic standing all play a role because we’re perceived by those like us and those not. We therefore exist in a tenuous bubble of expectations wherein normalcy is a razor-thin line between sainthood and monstrousness. One side waits to anoint us while patting itself on the back for assisting our ascent upwards to meet our potential. The other patiently bides its time until we’re revealed…

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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: The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover [1989]

“The naughty bits and the dirty bits are so close together” The above quote pretty much sums up Peter Greenaway‘s The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover. High society and criminal filth: seemingly disparate sectors of civilization that wouldn’t truly wish to consort together yet constantly overlap through history to almost merge into one. The surface context of the words concerns a conversation about the close proximity between genitals and anuses during dinner as only the boorishly crude gangster Albert Spita (Michael Gambon) could describe, but it also…

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REVIEW: The Hateful Eight [2015]

“Well I’ll be double-dog damned” It appears Quentin Tarantino has decided to go back to his roots by making his eighth feature film The Hateful Eight in the same vein as his debut Reservoir Dogs—namely keeping sets and actors to the bare minimum for added tension without room for escape. The maneuver couldn’t have come sooner with its predecessor Django Unchained, despite earning an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, proving to me his weakest work. Not only was it pretty much a watered-down rehash of Inglourious Basterds, it was also…

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REVIEW: Selma [2014]

“God was the first to cry” A civil war waged on Alabaman soil in 1965 whether President Lyndon B. Johnson felt holding off on a bill negating the South’s tactics to bar African American citizens from voting would prevent one or not. It was fought under his and the country’s eyes in the streets, on TV, and in their hearts. Finally someone proves brave enough to show it by throwing convention aside to stop treating cinematic historical biographies as revelry for the deceased heroes who helped make our country great.…

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TIFF14 REVIEW: October Gale [2015]

“Sorry. I have to put my gum in your belly button for a second.” After enjoying Ruba Nadda‘s Inescapable and hearing a ton of praise for Cairo Time, I went into her latest effort October Gale with high expectations. Whether this fact tainted my experience or not, those hopes were not met. For whatever reason Nadda doesn’t seem quite certain about what she wants from her plot. Is it a Nicholas Sparks love triangle for the middle-aged between a still grieving widow (Patricia Clarkson‘s Helen), the memory of her husband…

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REVIEW: The Consultant [2011]

“I do a great patsy” The Marvel Cinematic Universe is something special—a franchise devoid of ceiling that has become Hollywood’s equivalent to a motion comic. Looking at it today, you can’t help but admire what they’re doing and how far their reach extends. There are the highly anticipated films each year, a dedicated TV show to provide a venue for more details behind the scenes, and a series of “One-Shots” released on the DVDs as gap-filling accompaniments. Suffice it to say, I was very excited to finally check out the…

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REVIEW: The Incredible Hulk [2008]

“Days since last incident” Leave it to this drama lover to think that the new film The Incredible Hulk is more boring than Ang Lee’s Hulk from 2003, despite the fact everyone in the entire world hated that version because it was “too slow”. Maybe it was the departure in genre tone that Lee brought to the movie making it a psychological tale of humanity rather than an action, comic-book romp, but I was pleasantly surprised after thinking it would just be Hulk-Smash over and over again. The funny thing is…

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REVIEW: A Life Less Ordinary [1997]

“I thought we agreed there’d be no cliches” I had always heard good things about this film, but never had the chance to check it out despite being a fan of Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting and 28 Days Later. A Life Less Ordinary has a lot of aspects that Boyle later used in his child fairy-tale Millions from inventive camera tricks to a melding of fantasy sequences with reality. The main thing taken from this viewing however is the tragedy that Ewan McGregor and Boyle may never work together again. Ewan…

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