REVIEW: First Cow [2020]

I believe different things in different places. It begins with two skeletons lying side by side in the dirt, their lives an untold story lost to the annals of time that can never be found regardless of whether their remains are. Why? Because they were nobodies in history’s eyes: loners and dreamers wishing to one day become more than nameless strangers to those they walked by on the way to town. And they may have become that and more if they hadn’t tragically been prevented from reaching their potential. Maybe…

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TIFF REVIEW: Out of Blue [2019]

You can tell a lot by looking. It’s comforting to discover that the Martin Amis novel Carol Morley‘s Out of Blue adapts is considered a “comedic parody” because I couldn’t wrap my head around the blatant noir affectation she had her stellar cast provide. If Night Train was actually meant as a serious detective story, I’d almost have to agree with the hyperbolic response of one audience member upon leaving: “That was The Room level of awful.” I found the remark too harsh at the time and more so now,…

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REVIEW: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom [2018]

They’re alive. Like me. Anyone who read/watched Jurassic Park in the 1990s should have known the product of John Hammond’s hubris: a marriage between mankind’s extinction and evolution into something more. This is what the themes of control and the lack thereof portend. To play God is to risk losing everything we have built in the past 300,000 years. Because whether we bring back that which nature destroyed (dinosaurs) or create something wholly new (through genetic manipulation and cloning), we breathe life into a being not meant for the present…

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REVIEW: Atomic Blonde [2017]

“This is the game” It’s hard to believe that I was thinking the stylish, punishing action of John Wick was being dismantled upon as its stuntmen-turned-directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch deciding to go solo two years ago. Stahelski would helm John Wick 2, the result proving a worthy follow-up both in aesthetic and mythology (with more coming). Rather than join him, Leitch shuffled over to Kurt Johnstad‘s adaptation of Antony Johnston and Sam Hart‘s graphic novel “The Coldest City”—a project he and Stahelski were supposed to migrate towards after…

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REVIEW: The Man Who Knew Infinity [2016]

“Like other great men he invented himself” A bit character in Matt Brown‘s affecting biographical drama The Man Who Knew Infinity chants “Din, Din, Din, Gunga Din” a couple times in friendly jest as a response to his employer G.H. Hardy’s (Jeremy Irons) decision to send for an uneducated South Indian man on the merits of a letter presenting the potential for mathematical genius named Srinivasa Ramanujan (Dev Patel). We laugh at the line’s delivery as well as Hardy’s humored look of contempt because we embrace levity. What’s ironic, though,…

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Posterized Propaganda June 2013: The Apocalypse is Nigh With ‘Man of Steel,’ ‘World War Z,’ ‘This is the End’ & More

“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover” is a proverb whose simple existence proves the fact impressionable souls will do so without fail. This monthly column focuses on the film industry’s willingness to capitalize on this truth, releasing one-sheets to serve as not representations of what audiences are to expect, but as propaganda to fill seats. Oftentimes they fail miserably. Summer continues chugging along with the America and/or Earth threatened by destruction at every turn. Whether comic book adaptations, zombie wars, terrorist assaults or a giant pit opening up to…

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REVIEW: Snow White and the Huntsman [2012]

“Have I not given you all?” What happens when a fairy tale depicting an innocent princess saved by a litany of characters on her way to the crown turns into an epic battle with heroine in full armor storming the castle herself? Well, we discover just how flimsy a character the titular Snow White actually is. A prisoner for years while an evil queen brought darkness upon her kingdom, the young girl’s escape into the hallucinogenic Dark Forest proves nothing but a sense of survival. She has no skills at…

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REVIEW: The Hunger Games [2012]

“Thank you for your consideration” Underdogs thrive on the ability to retain hope in a world forever shoving them into a corner without the reality of upward mobility or a true chance at overall social change. When they start to believe their numbers can actually overcome that adversity, however, the ruling class must take notice and ready for a fight they may not win. Rebellion will forever be a threat whether one has been squashed in the past or not since you can only kick the underprivileged masses down so…

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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: The Adventures of Tintin [2011]

“Only a true Haddock will discover the secret of the Unicorn” Considering I started conjuring images of an Indian sidekick named Hadji when first made aware of news Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson were directing a The Adventures of Tintin trilogy, my knowledge and therefore enthusiasm in the project was somewhat lacking. Once I put my head straight, removed any “Johnny Quest” infusions, and feasted on what looked like a gorgeous animated motion capture world, my interest piqued more. It wasn’t until watching the silhouetted credit sequence—recalling Spielberg’s Catch Me…

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REVIEW: Your Highness [2011]

“I want you to be gay with me and father” I knew Your Highness was going to be bad, but I never anticipated just how much. I thought that no matter how horrible the trailers were, Danny McBride and James Franco re-teaming would make things tolerable. They helped support Seth Rogen’s stoner action flick, Pineapple Express, Franco’s complete absurdity and McBride’s acquired taste enhancing the writer’s formula we have come to love. While Rogen and partner Evan Goldberg have discovered mainstream appeal, though, McBride and co-scribe Ben Best are still…

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