REVIEW: Top Gun: Maverick [2022]

It’s time to let go. Director Joseph Kosinski pays homage to the late Tony Scott by opening his thirty-plus-years-in-the-making sequel Top Gun: Maverick with the exact same music cues, similarly propulsive aircraft carrier b-roll, and text-based intro (adding “and women” to “the handful of men”) as Top Gun. Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone” kicks in to whisk us back to the 1980s if only for a couple minutes before entering an aging Navy garage with Captain Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell (Tom Cruise). His dogfighting days over the Indian Ocean are over. After…

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REVIEW: Top Gun [1986]

Your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash. There’s no arguing that Top Gun isn’t a pro-military piece of glossy propaganda. Between Matthew Modine declining the lead role because it would go against his politics to Tom Cruise admitting four years later that a sequel would be in poor taste considering its sanitized view on war to the Navy literally having script approval to change plot points to better suit their recruitment needs, everything about it screams jingoistic idealism. That it would eventually be preserved in the National Film…

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REVIEW: Planes [2013]

“I fly for truth” What should be an auspicious occasion for DisneyToons Studios earning its first theatrical release since 2005’s Pooh’s Heffalump Movie, the Cars spin-off Planes sadly does little to affirm the decision. Actually, the fact Disney supposedly decided to upgrade its status because of how impressive early scenes looked only makes things appear more like a cash grab to milk the universe for extra box office dollars. A second read-through of Jeffrey M. Howard‘s script—he of home video Tinker Bell fame—shouldn’t have been necessary as it’s pun-heavy dialogue…

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TIFF11 REVIEW: Twixt [2012]

“Keeping track of time around here is pointless” After a stellar career directing some of cinema’s greats—The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, The Conversation—you can’t blame Francis Ford Coppola for deciding to film smaller passion projects in his twilight. After the self-financed Tetro and Youth Without Youth, he returns with a story from an unusual origin. With an alcohol-induced dream in Istanbul, a vivid conversation with Edgar Allen Poe while a murder mystery happens as a backdrop, the impetus behind Twixt was born. Awoken before its end, Coppola scribbled down what he…

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REVIEW: Déjà Vu [2006]

“U can save her” It’s a real shame that everything I had read about Déjà Vu concerned the high-powered explosions and loud clatter of guru/producer Jerry Bruckheimer. No mention, except maybe as a footnote, was given to A-list director Tony Scott and the magic he has woven in his past three films. The man who brought us Top Gun has seen a sort of revival in style lately with the entertaining Spy Game, the amazing Man on Fire, and the kinetic Domino. Scott has taken the quick cuts of music…

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