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Hereditary Review

12 Jun

So close. So, so, so close. Most of this film is fantastic. The scares feel organic, the tension is relentless, and the performances are impeccable. It certainly works as a horror film on a purely technical level, but where it draws its strength is from its humanity. After all, the horror is inextricably linked to sorrow, regret, pain, and the helpless feeling of being trapped within your own lineage. Just one sentence from mother to son can have the same effect as a creature jumping out at you from the shadows. The above are all fascinating ideas, and for most of the runtime, Aster brings them out to play without necessarily needing to subvert the genre.

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Game Night Review

24 Feb

A decently fun time at the movies, but in no way some kind of unsung comedy gem. Everyone in the initial game night group not played by Bateman or McAdams is fine but ultimately unnecessary, with exhibit A being a running joke about sleeping with a celebrity. Additionally, the film is a bit too haphazard with its twists and tones, but not in the “controlled madness” way I love. Michael C. Hall probably should’ve had more to do.

When it’s funny, though, it’s funny. Bateman and McAdams share a fantastic scene revolving around a bullet removal, and Plemons delivers some great deadpan. I have at least four other Kyle Chandler performances I’d choose over this one, but I think people are finally realizing that he can be a hell of a lot of fun. That sly grin worked wonders in The Wolf of Wall Street.

GRADE: B-

The Top 20 Television Shows of 2017

13 Jan

20. Dear White People

19. Master of None

18. Black Mirror

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The Top 15 Television Episodes of 2017

3 Jan

15. Mr. Robot, “eps3.5_kill-pr0cess.inc”

14. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, “I Never Want to See Josh Again”

13. Veep, “Blurb”

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The Top 15 Television Performances of 2017

1 Jan

I cheated with some of these.

15. TIE: Timothy Olyphant, “Santa Clarita Diet” and Andy Daly, “Review” – Daly would be much higher if he didn’t have only an hour of screen time this year, but I figured I’d still sneak him on here somehow. It may not seem like it at first, but he actually gives one of the most psychologically complex performances on television. As for Olyphant…I just love Olyphant, and he’s a ton of fun in “Santa Clarita Diet”.

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Stronger Review

27 Sep

Finally. Finally a biopic that doesn’t treat its story beats like attention grabbing headlines. Finally a camera willing to linger in the right moments without reveling in or dismissing pain. Finally a “true story” film that recognizes that themes like strength, perseverance, and even patriotism can absolutely be expressed through personal, intimate human moments. I’m not saying Stronger is a pioneer in those areas, but I’ve been conditioned to expect a certain type of film with these biopics, i.e. a sanitized, rushed, and ultimately dismissive Greatest Hits reel that does a disservice to real life struggles. Thankfully, that’s not what we get here.

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle Review

22 Sep

Bloated and a bit draining, but still lots of fun due to Vaughn’s stylized, over the top gore fests. There’s nothing here quite as memorable as what we saw in the first film, but there’s a slapstick swagger to it all that can be infectious at times. A great villain can also go a long way in any film, and Julianne Moore’s Poppy certainly fits that bill. She plays her character like a drunk, slightly unhinged evil genius, and it’s very fun to watch even if the writing fails her at times. Other standout performances include that of Pedro Pascal, Elton John (in a ridiculously hammy role that would only work in something like this), and the always dependable Mark Strong. Unsurprisingly, all of the cast members deliver the charm even amid the screenplay’s myriad questionable choices. Continue reading

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