REVIEW: The Zero Theorem [2014]

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“Making sense of the good things in life” If the end were empty—as was the beginning—wouldn’t life be meaning in itself? Why do we constantly ask the question and seek its answer if so many believe our present existence is merely a stepping-stone towards eternity? If that’s truly the case one could label life as […]

TIFF14 REVIEW: Bang Bang Baby [2015]

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“I am that. I am the service station.” Harkening back to the era of its setting, Bang Bang Baby embraces the over-the-top aesthetic of 1963 entertainment with small town girl Stepphy (Jane Levy) dreaming big for a chance at stardom in New York City. Overproduced, old-timey vocals emanate from her mouth as faux backdrops provide […]

TIFF14 REVIEW: The Cobbler [??]

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“I’m not gonna eat you!” Adults need fairy tales too and Thomas McCarthy—with cowriter Paul Sado—deliver one in The Cobbler. They don’t try to pretend it’s something more either as its opening prologue can attest thanks to older tradesmen on the Lower East Side speaking Yiddish around a table to think up a way to […]

TIFF14 REVIEW: The Duke of Burgundy [??]

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“The colder the better” Sometimes you just need to cleanse your palette or expand your mind by checking out a film even the director says is all about the experience. So when Peter Strickland explains how he tried hard not to make us want to find metaphor or meaning beyond what’s onscreen, I’m going to […]

REVIEW: Big Trouble in Little China [1986]

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“What does that mean: ‘China is here’?” Box office returns aside, John Carpenter made the correct choice deciding to helm supernatural comedy adventure Big Trouble in Little China rather than supernatural comedy adventure The Golden Child back in the mid-80s. While both had similar twenty-five million dollar budgets, it’s hard to believe watching today that […]

REVIEW: The Golden Child [1986]

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“Hey Bird – Did you just see a little Hare-Krishna midget in the tree, floatin’?… Or is it me?” Only in the 80s could a film like The Golden Child be born. And that goes for the comedy it became and the supernatural drama screenwriter Dennis Feldman originally wrote it as with Mel Gibson in […]

NYAFF14 REVIEW: 失魂 [Shi hun] [Soul] [2013]

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“I watch the wind and, dreamlike, vanish” Described in equal measure as a slasher horror and psychological meditation on the soul—whether from demonic possession, reincarnation, or both—Taiwan’s entry for the 86th Academy Awards ultimately proves difficult to categorize at all. Mong-Hong Chung‘s 失魂[Shi hun] [Soul] may in fact be better labeled as a drama about […]

REVIEW: How to Train Your Dragon 2 [2014]

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“What you’re searching for is in here” With ten children’s books already published—and two more planned—Cressida Cowell has given Dreamworks animation a ton of material to adapt whether adhered to religiously or not. Their success on How to Train Your Dragon caught many off guard while earning a place in the hearts of children and […]

REVIEW: Maleficent [2014]

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“Goodbye, Beastie” Let’s be honest, Disney’s Sleeping Beauty is a bit of a bore. I remember my sister often wanting to watch when we were kids and me having none of it until the end’s fire and brimstone and menacing dragon spawned from the tale’s creepy, wide-smiling villain. Did I understand the fairy’s reason for […]

REVIEW: X-Men: Days of Future Past [2014]

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“Mind the glass” If you have a storyline at your disposal capable of continuing two separate iterations of a single cinematic franchise simultaneously, you’d be a laughing stock not to take it. Credit Fox for seizing this opportunity to create something not even Marvel proper has dared to do quite yet. Would they have made […]

REVIEW: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 [2014]

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“You still blow dry your hair every morning?” It’s time to embrace the comic aspect of comic book films. I’m sorry, but it is. Christopher Nolan‘s time on the Dark Knight Trilogy is over and while we’d like the comic genre’s big brother graphic novel to imbue the dark conflicted nature of an Oscar worthy […]