THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY Review

by     Posted 1 year, 239 days ago

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In our cinematic age of superhero and sci-fi films, director Peter Jackson is doing his part to shoulder the fantasy genre with a return to Middle Earth in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The first in a trilogy of films adapted from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit,” An Unexpected Journey sets out to tell the tale of titular protagonist Bilbo Baggins and a company of Dwarves on a quest to reclaim their ancestral home from the grip of the fearsome dragon, Smaug. The film also serves to establish an origin point for the events leading up to and through Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a classic adventure quest in the making; packed with colorful characters, gorgeous settings and plenty of action, the only setbacks are technical ones.

Starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett and Andy Serkis, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens in 3D December 14th. Hit the jump for my review.

LINCOLN Review

by     Posted 1 year, 263 days ago

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As I write this review, we here in the States are approaching an historic Presidential election.   For many, the voting decision comes down to individual beliefs related to the economy and civil rights.  So it was with a familiar national context that I approached Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, a film as much about the man himself as it is about the fight to approve the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery and thereby put an end to the Civil War.  Much as our 16th President was equal to the task, so too was Spielberg in his effort to bring this story to the screen, complemented by the absorbing lead performance of Daniel Day-Lewis and the dynamic writing of Tony Kushner.  While the film missed on a few marks, Lincoln remains an engaging story full of heart, humor and conviction that remains culturally relevant even today.  Hit the jump for my review.

SOUND OF MY VOICE Review

by     Posted 2 years, 124 days ago

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Does the act of belief (substitute faith if you’re so inclined) outweigh the actual content of reverence?  Such is the question posed in Zal Batmanglij’s great, if somewhat intellectually dubious, Sound of My Voice.  I can’t remember liking a film this much whose ethos I find so suspect.  The sci-fi cult thriller focuses on a cynical couple’s attempt to infiltrate and expose a beautiful cult leader claiming to be a time traveler from 2059.  Of course – the longer the couple spends with the cult and its enigmatic leader, the more inclined they find themselves believing her to be true.  Is she from the future, crazy, a con artist, all-of-the-above?  Does it even matter?  For thoughts on the film, hit the jump.

THE RITE Review

by     Posted 3 years, 184 days ago

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The Rite is a prime case of a film without endurance. While the first half is often strong, intriguing, and full of humor, the movie stumbles and lurches through the finish. The exorcism genre has seen resurgence of late, but not many films in that line can boast about Anthony Hopkins playing a wily, unconventional exorcist. Unfortunately, the perfect casting of Hopkins is spoiled with the uneven tone. When director Mikael Håfström finally tries to tie up the loose ends in the film, it gives in to an unenthusiastic finale that feels rushed and diluted. The idea of possession versus dementia has been done before–with satisfying results–but here it feels mishandled. If coughing up a handful of iron spikes doesn’t convince someone, you know there isn’t much hope. Hit the jump to read my full review of The Rite.

CATFISH Movie Review

by     Posted 3 years, 333 days ago

When a film gets called “the best Alfred Hitchcock film that Alfred Hitchcock never made” in its trailer, it has a lot to live up to.  And– watching the trailer– it’s clear that Catfish definitely has the potential to be one darkly entertaining documentary: Here’s Nev, just another loveless New Yorker who’s met a girl online.  After nearly a year composed of 1500 texts, emails, letters, and phone calls, Nev decides that he’s going to make the leap: Nev will travel– unannounced– to his Facebook girlfriend’s home to meet her.  What happens next?  I won’t tell you in the review that follows, but I’ll sure as hell try and convince you to see the movie.  Keep on reading for my Catfish review, after the jump.

ALICE IN WONDERLAND Review

by     Posted 4 years, 149 days ago

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With Alice in Wonderland, it becomes clear that Tim Burton has run out of imagination sauce.  He used it all up years ago and now he’s created a film that’s just a big, hollow CGI concoction his predictable scribblings of creatures and landscapes.  Rather than find harmony with Lewis Carroll’s classic work, Burton takes the names, characters, and lingo, and thinks he can apply them to a better narrative.  He is sorely mistaken and Alice in Wonderland is 108 minutes inside the director’s creative nadir.

THE CRAZIES Review

by     Posted 4 years, 156 days ago

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Breck Eisner’s The Crazies might make you believe something this hellacious isn’t just a work of far-flung fiction, but a possible reality. For a Hollywood horror film, that is quite a feat when the weird seems to gush from the wounds of multi-million dollar projects that often strive for shock over true substance or coherency. Eisner, working off of George A. Romero’s 1973 original The Crazies, uses a believable story with the required scares and thrills without succumbing to sheer absurdity or grotesque violence. By using focused and tight camerawork, a narrative that is easy to follow, and quality acting, Eisner delivers a worthy entry in the horror genre that is a pleasure from start to finish, even for non-genre fans.

GET LOW Review – TIFF ’09

by     Posted 4 years, 319 days ago

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Sometimes patience is a virtue. While I’m not one to say “wait it out” often, I now implore you to keep you eye out for “Get Low,” see it at your earliest convenience, and be patient. This isn’t some quick-start film of immediate laughs and intrigue. Instead, it’s a wonderfully paced story that builds from the smallest morsel into an undeniably smart, funny, and heart-wrenching piece about one man’s quest to heal the pains of his past. And if big names are what will get you interested in the film, so be it: Robert Duvall. Bill Murray. Lucas Black. Sissy Spacek. Read on to learn about the magic of Aaron Schneider’s “Get Low.”

Michael Moore’s CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY Review

by     Posted 4 years, 320 days ago

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Yes, it’s time for another Michael Moore movie. In fact, this might just be his last documentary, as Moore has expressed an interest in moving to fictional films. For now, however, we get his ode to the big money men of our age, and believe it or not, “Capitalism, A Love Story” is not as incendiary as you might expect (unless you’re a big-time bank CEO). It plays out like an entertaining but infuriating look at that thing we call capitalism, and the economic crisis that has plagued us all. Read on for more capitalism…

THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS Review – TIFF ’09

by     Posted 4 years, 321 days ago

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We all thought that Ewan McGregor was done with Jedis. He’s spent his time as Obi-Wan, and has since moved on to a myriad of other cinematic pastures – or so we thought. Now he’s back in a new Jedi film, but this isn’t from the mind of George Lucas, and these warriors don’t use light sabers to fight. They use their minds. Read on to learn about “The Men Who Stare at Goats.”

THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS Review – TIFF ’09

by     Posted 4 years, 324 days ago

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“The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” gained immediate notoriety upon Heath Ledger’s untimely death. Suddenly, the film was no longer a production followed only by Terry Gilliam’s loyal fans. It became the focus of many curious eyes, all wondering if Ledger’s film could ever come to fruition when he wasn’t able to complete it. While it’s easy to wonder what the film could have been without Ledger’s passing and the re-writes and cinematic magic required to complete it, it’s just as easy to appreciate what Gilliam made of it. Click through to jump into the Imaginarium…

DAYBREAKERS Review – TIFF ’09

by     Posted 4 years, 325 days ago

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Vampires are all the rage these days, between the tween thrust of “Twilight” and the sexual abandon of “True Blood”. But “Daybreakers” is not like its current brethren – it’s a classic vamp movie that follows some beloved myths while also introducing the genre to a whole new world of deadly circumstances. One, I might add, that doesn’t have any diamond-studded bloodsuckers. Read on to see why you should see “Daybreakers”.

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