TIFF16 REVIEW: Free Fire [2017]

freefire01

“Talk about a fucking sledgehammer to crack a nut” TIFF’s Colin Geddes was correct when introducing Ben Wheatley‘s bottle episode of a film Free Fire with the words: “This will wake you up.” The gunfire alone risks perforating your eardrums as John Denver blares from a 1978-era van’s eight-track, but I think it’s the surprising […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Burn Your Maps [2016]

burnyourmaps01

“The kid in the strange clothes said he gave birth to two goats” Many films deal with the aftermath of a family death by becoming about how their characters live with the pain—changing them into different people. Some distinctly show them living despite it instead. Rather than depict Connor (Marton Csokas) and Alise (Vera Farmiga) […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: The Magnificent Seven [2016]

magnificentseven01

“It won’t sweeten, it’ll only sour” I’m at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to the new The Magnificent Seven despite going in thinking it’d be the other way around. Here I was anticipating that I’d be able to watch the film with a completely blank slate because I’ve never seen the 1960 version nor […]

REVIEW: 龍門客棧 [Long men kezhan] [Dragon Inn] [1967]

dragoninn01

“You still want noodles?” When I told a friend I was going to be watching King Hu‘s 龍門客棧 [Long men kezhan] [Dragon Inn], she surprisingly told me she’d already seen it. I wondered where considering the Janus Films restoration had just released this year and her response was, “El Rey.” Yes, Robert Rodriguez‘s television channel […]

REVIEW: 부산행 [Busanhaeng] [Train to Busan] [2016]

traintobusan01

“Until we meet again” There’s an abundance of sentimentality in Sang-ho Yeon‘s 부산행 [Busanhaeng] [Train to Busan], a trait you don’t necessarily attribute to a zombie action thriller. That’s not to say “The Walking Dead” doesn’t touch upon familial relationships and catharsis too, but the level of personal and emotional growth on display in these […]

REVIEW: Kubo and the Two Strings [2016]

kubotwostrings01

“Memories are powerful things” The narrator of Travis Knight‘s Kubo and the Two Strings demands us to look closely and never blink. His story delivers fantastical wonders and poignant metaphors concerning family, love, and traditions to uphold if not an archaic remnant of a lost time meant to be broken. We’re to pay attention because […]

REVIEW: Level Up [2016]

levelup01

“See if you can get off the sofa today” You watch enough hero-backed-into-a-corner action films like Crank, Taken, or The Equalizer and you start to find your mind drifting away from the sheer monotony of their progression. Their characters are built to survive these situations no matter how dire because people want to see the […]

REVIEW: Star Trek Beyond [2016]

Left to right: Simon Pegg plays Scotty, Sofia Boutella plays Jaylah and Chris Pine plays Kirk in Star Trek Beyond from Paramount Pictures, Skydance, Bad Robot, Sneaky Shark and Perfect Storm Entertainment

“The poetry of fate” After an auspicious reboot that erased every movie in the series before it (save the travels of Leonard Nimoy‘s Spock) while ensuring each one still remained in canon, J.J. Abrams stumbled a bit by recycling one of those films’ most acclaim stories for the follow-up. I’ll be the first to admit […]

REVIEW: Finding Dory [2016]

findingdory01

“Just follow the shells” Even though Pixar’s first sequel Toy Story 2 equaled one of its best movies (many say both sequels did, although I’d argue Toy Story 3 pales in comparison to its predecessors), not even they could keep up appearances with Cars 2 and Monsters University. It’s impossible to hit as many homeruns […]

REVIEW: Pete’s Dragon [2016]

petesdragon2016a

“Just because you don’t see anything doesn’t mean it’s not there” You have to give Disney credit for accomplishing the unthinkable this year by releasing remakes of archaic properties to rapturous fanfare. The Jungle Book began this refurbishment movement with the studio’s Iron Man steward Jon Favreau taking the helm of what proved a fantastically […]

REVIEW: Pete’s Dragon [1977]

petesdragon01

“I didn’t think I’d ever be happy til I met you” If memory serves, I loved Pete’s Dragon. It was on the same VHS tape as Sword In the Stone in my family, two Disney films I don’t think anyone else enjoyed. As such I watched Robin Hood a lot to keep the peace—a superior […]