Month: March 2015

Focus Review

Will Smith tries on a new cinematic persona in Focus, a puzzle box romance set in the illicit world of professional con men (and women). The movie seeks to combine the heist elements and effortless cool of Ocean’s Eleven with the smoky romance and rat-a-tat dialogue of Elmore Leonard adaptations like Out of Sight with varying results. (more…)

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’71 Review

There are many different types of war movies. They run the gamut from traditional (Saving Private Ryan, which defined the modern template), larger-than-life biopics (Patton), exploitation takes (Inglourious Basterds) and deadly serious ones (Schindler’s List). And as we’ve moved further away from the most filmed conflicts (WW2 and Vietnam), there’s been a slew of war-on-terror films ushering in a new era of kinetic and brutal war pics (like Black Hawk Down, The Hurt Locker and Lone Survivor). (more…)

What We Do in the Shadows Review

The vampire genre has become a significant cross to bear. Tainted in recent years by the likes of the widely reviled Twilight saga, the requisite Friedberg/Seltzer parodies (like Vampires Suck), and general overexposure on TV and film (Vampire Diaries, True Blood, etc.), it’s become a crowded field that’s difficult to pump fresh blood into. Mockumentaries seem nearly as omnipresent and disposable, making What We Do in the Shadows (which melds the two genres) an unlikely success. (more…)

Chappie Review

An unholy love child of Robocop, Short Circuit and Cuba Gooding Jr.’s unintentional cringe-masterpiece Radio, the sci-fi comedy Chappie cribs from multiple sources but lacks heart, humour, satirical bite, or any discernible human emotions whatsoever. It’s a weird, uncomfortable genre mashup that feels disjointed and awkward throughout, which is exacerbated by the stunt casting of Die Antwoord rappers Ninja and Yo-landa Yisser as criminal versions of themselves. (more…)

The Overnighters Review

The bootstrapping American Dream of Horatio Alger’s myths seem further away than ever. An eroding middle class, widespread globalization, ongoing conflicts, and the new normal of near-constant economic turmoil have made it abundantly clear that true “rags to riches” stories are few and far between. Yet there’s still opportunities to be had if you look hard enough, and one such boomtown is Williston, North Dakota. (more…)