Posted in: Review

Elephants

All romance movies sink or swim based on whether or not the audience is invested in the central relationship. That’s where Elephants directs most of its effort and screen time: getting us to understand and sympathize with its two leads. The result is an uncluttered film that shines with subtle charm. Elephants follows two twentysomething […]

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The Neon Demon

If Nicolas Winding Refn’s films were as emotionally engaging as they are visually lavish, they could be profound pieces of work. Unfortunately, as enthralling as The Neon Demon is as a piece of audiovisual entertainment, it just feels too empty to fall in love with. Its manufactured momentum ultimately pays off in a striking third […]

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Knight of Cups

Terrence Malick has earned the enviable reputation of an unadulterated, undeniable genius. His films attract the industry’s top talent based on his name alone. Knight of Cups boasts a great lineup including Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Wes Bentley, Brian Dennehy, Antonio Banderas, and a long list of notable actors who make brief appearances. It […]

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Aimy in a Cage

From the very beginning of Aimy in a Cage, you know you’re in for something proudly offbeat. While we try to make sense of the abstract title cards and playful music coming at us a pretty good clip, the film is introduced as “a Hooroo Jackson trip.” These opening moments set an accurate tone for […]

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Slow West

Slow West takes aim at the Western genre with a totally fresh scope while simultaneously capturing a nostalgic majesty that recalls the grand Cinemascope Westerns of the ’50s and ’60s. But its incredible depth of field, stunning composition, and richly saturated color palette take the vistas even further, building a classically picturesque atmosphere that brilliantly […]

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Welcome To Me

Welcome To Me is an exercise in vicarious discomfort and an exploration of the social responsibilities surrounding mental illness. It’s also a perfect vehicle for Kristin Wiig’s painfully quirky on-screen persona, which gets pushed to its limits here. Not unlike its main character, though, the film suffers from an identity crisis. Unable to capture a […]

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Kill Me Three Times

Kill Me Three Times is a darkly comic backstabbing caper flick that cruises right down the middle of the road. It’s pretty slick, but not really going anywhere new. The story relies too heavily on coincidences and clichés while tossing in a bit of extra flash to make them fun enough to stomach. And despite frequent plot twists, it probably […]

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Mommy (2014)

Mommy takes place in Canada in a fictional 2015. The only difference between real Canada and this Canada is a new law that has been passed which allows a parent to hand her child over to the care of the government with fewer restrictions. Based on the events of Mommy, the filmmakers would stand in […]

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Drive Hard

Drive Hard tries hard to be tongue-in-cheek B-movie pulp that entertains you for 89 minutes with slick action and funny dialogue. It tries to build a fun rapport between two competent leads while a fast-paced, cross-country car chase taps your adrenaline. It tries to make you feel sympathy for Thomas Jane’s down-on-his-luck Peter Roberts and […]

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God’s Pocket

In God’s Pocket, the neighborhood is the main character. It’s a lower-middle-class working-man’s neighborhood as seen in 1983. In this antiquated area, everybody knows everybody, everybody grew up together, and everybody owes somebody money. It’s a brutal, familiar, tight-knit corner of the world that’s forcibly romanticized by the narrations of heavy-handed reporter Richard Shellburn (Richard […]

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were ridiculous back in the ’80s, but somehow they worked. This 2014 edition acknowledges the tackiness of the concept with a combination of nostalgia and self-deprecating humor – but the fact is that it’s still ridiculous, only now it lacks the freshness, originality, and pop culture value that spurred its decades-old […]

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Hercules (2014)

Imagine a myth with all the magic stripped from it. Imagine a script with all its inspiration absent. Imagine a movie star seeking a paycheck, and a director who specializes in dumbing down his audience. Does it sound familiar? Sadly, this banal reincarnation of the Hercules legend spreads the pandemic of pandering to simple audiences […]

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Wish I Was Here

Zach Braff’s second feature film from the director’s chair is as ambitious as his first. Wish I Was Here attempts to extract meaning and cull wisdom from one of the more traumatic and significant events in the lifecycle: the death of a parent. The story is loaded with emotion and significant moments — maybe too […]

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The Future of Cinema Is Digital, Whether Filmmakers Like It or Not

Digital video is displacing 35mm film as the primary means of producing, distributing, and exhibiting movies. Digital cameras are smaller, cheaper, and easier to operate. So are digital prints and projectors. In North America, 85% of cinema screens are now digital. Economically, it’s tough to deny that digital is the preferable medium for movies. Still, […]

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Gone are the days where you meet your enemy on the battlefield. That was Captain America’s heyday: the glory years of Greatest-Generation-America. Unfortunately for Cap, today’s wars are fought by satellites and algorithms and the bad guys hide in the shadows. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we have a hero who is struggling to […]

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Beach Pillows

Beach Pillows is writer/producer/director Sean Hartofilis’ first feature film. It’s an intimate and relatable character study of a depressed, late-20-something guy stuck in a small-town suburb as his uninspired life crumbles before his apathetic eyes. His friends use him, his girlfriend cheats on him, and his writing career never materializes, leaving him to work full […]