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Entries in Reviews (384)

Tuesday
Jun282016

Review: The Neon Demon

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

What are we looking at? 

The Neon Demon‘s first tableau features Elle Fanning, throat slit and reclining on a chaise lounge floating over a pool of photogenic crimson blood. It’s so perfectly lit and shaped it begs to be honored as a metaphoric pedestal exalting her death. Is the obviously smitten man photographing all of this her serial killer who missed his calling as an art director?

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Sunday
Jun192016

Review: Finding Dory

This review was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

One of the best things about breakout supporting characters is that the fandom surrounding them comes honestly. Scene-stealers aren't handed their movies, but earn them. So it went with Dory, Ellen DeGeneres's forgetful blue tang who swam circles around every other character in Finding Nemo (2003), figuratively speaking, though she did sometimes swim in actual circles since she couldn't remember where she was going.

Thirteen years later, though Finding Dory takes place just after Finding Nemo ends, we're swimming in circles again with Dory, via a suspiciously similar movie. Let us count the ways...

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Wednesday
Jun152016

Warcraft. What were they thinking? 

Six questions that trouble me still from the Warcraft screening last week...

What on earth does Glenn Close need the money for?"

For some reason they only hired sexy men to play these monsters

That's just one of many questions I screamed into the abyss whilst watching this expensive, silly, over-stuffed but under-nourished video game adaptation. What's more this was only one of about 7 questions I screamed to which no answers came in a single scene of the movie. I couldn't even begin to tell you what was going on other than it was important enough to precede the climax of the movie. But I'll try. A young sorcerer (Ben Schnetzer) enters some sort of black gooey CGI cube and meets some sort of anthropomorphized supernatural force with sounds just like Glenn Close and finally looks just like Glenn Close as it solidifies and turns to camera upon which she/it/they bestow(s) on the young sorcerer some sort of magic that they've been withholding from some sort of bureaucrat mystics association so that he can return to battle another sorcerer to become "The Guardian" of the world of Azeroth where this all takes place...and that's not even the A plot!

The A plot is slightly less confusing...

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Friday
Jun102016

Sydney Film Festival: Tickled

Josh reporting on a hot find at the Sydney Film Festival.

When the credits rolled at the screening of Tickled at the Sydney Film Festival, the frantic dumbstruck reaction from the audience was palpable. You could see everyone turning to each other, wide eyed and picking their jaws up from the floor. The proceeding Q&A with the filmmakers had hands flying into the air with exasperated questions. And all this from a documentary about tickling!

Directed by Dylan Reeve and David Farrier, the latter who is also front and centre in the film, the film unravels the bizarre and gripping story surrounding Jane O’Brien Media and its non-monetised website generating videos of young athletic men tickling each other.

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Tuesday
Jun072016

Pop Star: Never Stop Never Stopping

Eric here, with a quick review of the new movie from The Lonely Island comedy trio of Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone, Pop Star: Never Stop Never Stopping.  

Pop Star is one of those films, like Anchorman or Zoolander, that gives you two choices:  surrender or resist.  You can either dive headfirst into this mockumentary of pop music sensation Conner4Real, and enjoy a hodgepodge of hit-or-miss jokes…or you can yawn at the filmmakers calling in a favor to every famous person they know (Carrie Underwood, Adam Levine, Usher, etc.) to lend some authenticity to the piece. 

If you resist, Pop Star is probably a pretty unbearable sit, because it’s another movie from producer Judd Apatow that features a bunch of male comedy guys conning a studio out of about $30 million just so they can show the world (and themselves) how adorably imbecilic but ultimately likable they are.  While the film itself is about an egomaniac, there’s a lingering ickiness about the ego behind and in front of the camera too.  The film purports to skewer rap star narcissism, but the behavior is celebrated as often as it’s parodied. 

But if you surrender, the laughs deliver...

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Saturday
Jun042016

Review: The Fits

The Fits has been on the festival circuit since last year, including a trip to the Nashville Film Festival that has Nathaniel singing its praises. Well, add me to the fan club, because I found myself even more taken by this ferocious and emotionally intelligent debut.

Set in and around a recreation center for Cincinnati youths, the film follows Toni (captivating newcomer Royalty Hightower) as she transitions from her brother's boxing studio into the militaristic, successful all-girl dance crew down the hall, without any dance ability to her credit. As Toni begins to improve her skill, her sense of otherness is further enervated by the growing outbreak of unexplained seizures on the team. Blending themes of gender performance, isolation, and feminity, The Fits packs a huge punch in a brisk 72 minutes unlike anything you've experienced this year.

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Thursday
Jun022016

Review: Me Before You

If you were hoping for a weepy respite to the superhero stockpile, don't expect Me Before You to be your antidote. Consider this British would-be tearjerker the date movie equivalent of Batman v Superman: both ghastly and flat, and inert when it should be its most heart-stopping moments.

Based on the popular novel by Jojo Moyes (who adapted her own work), Me Before You stars Game of Thrones ingenue Emilia Clarke as Lou, a floundering and chatty young woman who takes a job caring for a local moneybags (and recently quadriplegic) Will Trainor (Sam Clafin of The Hunger Games saga). Will's mother (a shockingly underused Janet McTeer) has more on her mind than caregiving in hiring the girl, and Lou's effervescent warmth begins to thaw the man's dejected anger. The ensuing romance is rife for hot button discussion points and earnest emoting, but its clunky beigeness fails to stir much audience response...

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