Archive | April, 2016

Sing Street Review

24 Apr

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 11.59.11 PM

“This is your life / you can go anywhere / you gotta grab the wheel and own it, you gotta put the pedal down / and drive it like you stole it” goes the chorus of Sing Street‘s main tune, its infectiously catchy beat providing doses of pure energy to a Back to the Future-inspired prom fantasy sequence. It’s a fitting anthem for the film overall, one that looks to music as a way to escape, as a way to look forward and take control of your life. Everyone in the film is dealing with his or her own personal issues, struggling in some way or another but still finding time to unite through music. “It’s about being happy being sad,” Lucy Boynton’s Raphina says midway through, summing up life and love and the film as a whole.

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Banshee “Innocent Might Be a Bit of a Stretch” Review (4×04)

22 Apr


“What a fun group!”

My thoughts exactly. We’re halfway through the final season of Banshee, and I’m without a doubt going to miss all of these characters that I know and love. What the series also has to do at this point, though, is effectively delve into new characters as it fleshes out its final storylines, and its execution in this regard is a mixed bag. The positive aspects of that bag? 1) Eliza Dushku pretty seamlessly entering the picture as Special Agent Veronica Dawson, and 2) Randall Cody Watts revealed to be Maggie’s father. In the case of the latter, I’m liking how the show is handling Calvin Bunker, making him a three-dimensional character and another worthy antagonist to watch.

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Green Room Review

15 Apr


This was probably the most intense theater experience I have ever had. Green Room is bloody, gruesome, and legitimately shocking, and I do not use those words merely as casual adjectives that help move my review along. They fit 100% and then some, inspiring visceral reactions in the audience that very few films do. When characters walk into the frame with blood-stained machetes or other sharp objects of various length, there’s a thrill that arises that’s anything but empty. Saulnier understands the power of violence and the impact that it can have, and you get the sense that he respects it and the people who are subject to it. Even though the characters aren’t the most fully formed characters in the world, they are most certainly not one note. Everyone, whether canine or human, operates with some notion of flexibility, their reactions to certain situations varying in ways that feel natural. Every act of violence in front of you feels very, very real.

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Orphan Black “The Collapse of Nature” Review (4×01)

15 Apr


“Is this my life now?”

What a fascinating way to open a new season of Orphan Black. When the new year starts, you expect to get advancement of the present-day narrative and answers to lingering questions, but “The Collapse of Nature” defies expectations, instead choosing to delve into the backstory of Beth Childs. We already know her story–to an extent–through pieces of information that we’ve gleaned throughout the first three seasons, but that story has always been filtered through the eyes of Sarah Manning…and by extent, through the eyes of the other clones. Here, though, we get the backstory front and center, and it’s a great way to reintroduce us to the perfection that is Tatiana Maslany.

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Hardcore Henry Review

7 Apr


This is pretty much a 90 minute video game, the only difference being that at least some video games have competent storytelling capabilities. Hardcore Henry wants you to believe that it has some depth, its nonstop barrage of action occasionally broken up by Flashback Tim Roth saying “pussy” and references to a half-baked storyline about bioengineering soldiers. Story and characters obviously aren’t the focuses in a movie like this, but without anything compelling to keep me watching, then what’s the point?

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Demolition Review

6 Apr


Demolition is good enough for most of its runtime, its somewhat flimsy narrative bolstered by yet another great Jake Gyllenhaal performance. As an investment banker whose wife dies in a car crash, Gyllenhaal convincingly navigates the character’s post-accident life, his face a blank slate at one point and a cathartic frenzy at another, his dynamic with Judah Lewis’s Chris enjoyable enough to keep things watchable. Watts is solid, but she plays such a strangely conceived character that I’m not sure why Karen Moreno exists or what to think about her. Nevertheless, there are some interesting ideas in this movie about ennui, adulthood, and grief, and the movie builds up the illusion at first that it wants to explore those ideas in a slightly unconventional manner.

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Banshee “Something Out of the Bible” Review (4×01)

1 Apr


“Remember, Hood, you’re not the sheriff anymore.”

“I never was.”

And thus returns the most badass show on television. The image above is a perfect encapsulation of this show in all its glory, and the fight scene that follows features the show’s typical impeccable camera work and choreography. It’s just all such a thrill to watch unfold, and although I’ll certainly miss these types of scenes after the series concludes, I’m simultaneously glad that Tropper and co. know when they want to end. Like Spartacus–the show that evoked the most similar response in me as this one does–Banshee is intent on going out with a bang, and I look forward to seeing Clay Burton lay waste to the entire world.

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