REVIEW: Missing Link [2019]

What chicken? With Laika CEO Travis Knight branching out to live-action on Bumblebee, it was only right that Chris Butler would carry the studio’s fifth feature film after the ambitious undertaking that was Kubo and the Two Strings (which the former directed and the latter co-wrote). Missing Link also becomes Butler’s follow-up to ParaNorman—my personal favorite from the stop-motion firm—and similarly stars a character that believes in what no one else does. Whereas Norman was sympathetic in his ability to speak with ghosts, Sir Lionel Frost’s (Hugh Jackman) quest to…

Read More

REVIEW: A Wrinkle in Time [2018]

Love is the frequency. While waiting outside the bathrooms after A Wrinkle in Time finished, I saw a white couple with their two young, fair-haired daughters walking out of the theater. Mom and Dad were explaining to one how movies are interpretations. They were reminding her that she had an idea of what the characters looked like while reading and now Ava DuVernay showed hers onscreen. The girl looked up and said, “Yeah. Most of them were blonde in the book.” They went out of earshot soon after, just as…

Read More

REVIEW: The Lego Batman Movie [2017]

“‘Puter, overcompensate” It was always going to be an uphill battle. The success of The LEGO Movie was so surprising and legitimate that a sequel was going to have to work five times harder to match it. So maybe pushing the follow-up off to focus on a spin-off was the way to go. Expectations would be lowered, Will Arnett‘s Batman was a fan favorite to carry the weight, and you wouldn’t necessarily be beholden to the previous installment’s plot or ingenious use of human omniscience. Screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith could focus…

Read More

REVIEW: War Dogs [2016]

“What would a bad man do?” Of course director Todd Phillips would gravitate towards a Rolling Stone article titled “The Stoner Arms Dealers.” If the man behind The Hangover trilogy was ever going to delve into more dramatic territory a la contemporary Adam McKay and last year’s The Big Short, Guy Lawson‘s piece on two twenty-somethings who landed huge military contracts with the US government before federal indictments was the perfect segue. It’s as though the characters from his Old School decided to make connections with black market arms organizations…

Read More

REVIEW: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) [2014]

“The truth is always interesting” It’s true what the film’s Times‘ theater critic (Lindsay Duncan) says: an artist should bleed for his craft. Physically, spiritually, metaphorically—blood must be spilt so the world knows he was here, selflessly (selfishly?) making us laugh, cry, and reflect on lives well lived and squandered. This is why those who touch upon life’s intrinsic emotions and universal feelings can demand salaries and compensation so large not even their over-stretched, ambitious, and insane imaginations can think of how to spend it all. They create what we…

Read More

REVIEW: The Hangover Part III [2013]

“Can you take Stu instead?” Love them or hate them, you can’t deny The Hangover and The Hangover Part II pushed the envelope to an extreme. No one anticipated Todd Phillips’ hard-R buddy romp would turn into the phenomenon it did—a hit before its release—and his idea to pretty much remake it in Bangkok for the sequel was an inspired choice for no other reason than it being so uninspired. I loved the first and thought the second’s ability to increase our discomfort level further was just as funny if…

Read More

Posterized Propaganda August 2012: A Summer Lull

“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. August isn’t fooling around with a ton of releases spanning both big budget and independent productions. I couldn’t even begin to talk about them all here—sorry Sparkle—but there sadly aren’t…

Read More

The 84th Oscars recap through tweets …

@jaredmobarak • Shut up Ryan Seacrest … Like the studio isn’t going to reimburse you. Cry about it #Oscars12 And with a little Bisquick, the 84th Annual Academy Awards show began before the camera even entered the Kodak “Chapter 11” Theatre. The is he or isn’t he banned from the show star of The Dictator, Sacha Baron Cohen, did what he does best by getting interviewed in character and causing a scene. Ryan Seacrest appeared to be enjoying the joke of it all and remained quite amiable until the comedian…

Read More

REVIEW: The Muppets [2011]

“Laughter, the third greatest gift of all!” If you saw Forgetting Sarah Marshall, it’ll be no surprise that Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller were chosen as the ones to bring The Muppets back to the big screen. Almost three decades since the last true Muppet movie besides their literary adventures after Jim Henson’s untimely death, it’s also not shocking that the two decided to base their plot around this lengthy hiatus. Years removed from the original “Muppet Show” that began in 1976, this new iteration begins by introducing us to…

Read More

REVIEW: Puss in Boots [2011]

“We don’t have any baby muffins” Before Shrek left his swamp to spawn a four-feature franchise I sadly had no real interest in continuing past the original, a Latino kitty cat roamed the lands of Far Far Away. Without a home once San Ricardo turned its back after the public bank was robbed with him left holding the moneybags, Puss in Boots must survive on the fringes of society to woo the ladies and endlessly thieve. Needing a big score for an influx of cash, Puss returns to his adopted…

Read More

REVIEW: The Hangover Part II [2011]

“I don’t get it. Is this a magic show?” It’s very weird to go into two films with completely different feelings despite them having almost identical plots and comedic upside. Two years ago, I couldn’t wait to check out The Hangover and see if the hype was real. My contact at Warner Brothers was even compelled to confirm my RSVP for the screening by saying it’s the funniest thing she had seen in years. Somehow—and this is rare—Todd Phillips’s self-proclaimed Star Wars, due to the amount of money he earned…

Read More