FANTASIA15 REVIEW: Hwasangorae [Crimson Whale] [2014]

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“It is an offense to feed the apes” A product of the Korean Academy of Film Arts’ Advanced Program, writer/director Park Hye-mi‘s Hwasangorae [Crimson Whale] is a fascinating little sci-fi adventure. The hand-drawn character design is cutesy with young faces and oversized clothing dwarfing stature, but the 2070 Busan in which they reside is brutally […]

REVIEW: Ant-Man [2015]

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“Just a tall-tale” You can tell as soon as it happens where the Marvel machine broke Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish, the two guys who had been developing Ant-Man to their singular vision since before the Cinematic Universe’s cohesive arc began. It’s a funny cameo with an Avenger, one where Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) attempts […]

REVIEW: Terminator Genisys [2015]

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“If there was another way I would have taken it” Much of the success attributed to “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” stems from it using its time travel-centric mythology to erase the franchise’s failures—mainly Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. You’d think Terminator Salvation would have followed suit, but for whatever reason it held onto […]

REVIEW: Трудно быть богом [Hard to Be a God] [2014]

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“Don’t drink. I only sniff now.” There’s a plot inside Aleksey German‘s final film Трудно быть богом [Hard to Be a God]—an audacious sci-fi epic slinging mud and feces in our faces while everyone onscreen sniffs them like drugs until we’re involuntarily following suit. No really, there is. Well, maybe a lingering vestige of what […]

REVIEW: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines [2003]

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“Anger is more useful than despair” There’s one great moment in Jonathan Mostow‘s Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines: its end. I’m not being snarky in some jokey “because it was finally over” kind of way either. It is legitimately good. Half twist, half bittersweet salvation in the face of apocalyptic nightmare where a hero […]

REVIEW: Jurassic World [2015]

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“This will give parents nightmares” As all good sequels must learn, the key to success is delivering on the promise set forth by the original while also providing something fresh and improved. Just ask James Cameron, a master at the task, who injected action-packed life into both Aliens and Terminator 2: Judgment Day without negating […]

REVIEW: Terminator 2: Judgment Day [1991]

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“You’re really real” Oh what seven years can accomplish through cinematic technological achievement. While The Terminator still looks good today, Terminator 2: Judgment Day looks amazing. Director James Cameron acknowledges his evolutionary leap by opening the follow-up with a near-replica 2029 Los Angeles prologue as the first to showcase exactly how far forward. These new […]

REVIEW: The Terminator [1984]

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“It’s just him and me” Sometimes the road to success hinges on a series of happenstances and whom you know. Just ask James Cameron: on-set special effects director for Piranha II: The Spawning (former boss Roger Corman produced the first) before it became his directorial debut due to creative differences between his predecessor and producer […]

REVIEW: How to Save Us [2014]

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“Have you seen mom and dad yet since they’ve died?” A plague has decimated Tasmania to the point where everyone is either dead or evacuated. Everyone but Sam Everett (Coy Jandreau), the youngest of three siblings yet to cope with the death of his parents, present to visit his family’s old vacation home on the […]

REVIEW: Tomorrowland [2015]

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“Which wolf wins?” The only constant the future holds is how today’s will look nothing like tomorrow’s. It would have been an amazing experience to see the vision Walt Disney had for his Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow in Orlando, but he of course sadly passed away in 1966 and that land became the Magic […]

REVIEW: Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome [1985]

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“He can beat most men with his breath” It’s said that Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome is based (without credit) on Russell Hoban‘s science fiction novel Riddley Walker. This could be true, but to my eye the finished product bears a striking resemblance to the 80s fantasy aesthetic thus far utilized during the decade. More of […]