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Hunt for the Wilderpeople – Movie Review

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a pleasant comedy propelled almost exclusively by dry, character-driven humor. That’s a refreshing characteristic in a summer landscape bloated with contrived, action-heavy blockbusters and gross-out comedies led by men and women alike. Writer-director Taika Waititi is a creative force that will be increasingly nitpicked, considering his next film is Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok; independent filmmaking… Read more »

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The Witch – Movie Review

After seeing The Witch for a second time, I’m certain it’ll be talked about for decades to come as a horror classic. It had been 13 months since I initially saw the film at its widely hyped premiere at the Sundance Film Festival (my initial thoughts can be found here), where I was left with an indelible… Read more »

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Halloween-A-Thon Day 19, Bear Reviews Edition: Ringu

Note: The following contains spoilers. Imagine the scene. You’ve just returned home after vandalizing a woman’s resting place and climbing wells and thinking about ghosts and curses for many-a-nights and you sit down and the television turns out. Standing there is a bear on a unicycle and it slowly, menacingly unicycles towards the camera. You… Read more »

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Halloween-A-Thon Day 18: Friday the 13th Part 7: The New Blood

Note: The following contains spoilers. In some ways I appreciate The New Blood more than most Friday the 13th movies. It at times manages to hit the “fun” tone that Jason Lives wanted to hit with better results, but the decision to have Jason face a telepath is probably an interesting one that was just… Read more »

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Halloween-A-Thon Day 17: The Cabin in the Woods

Note: The following contains spoilers. Early on in The Cabin in the Woods, our group of college kids visits an old gas station and gets warned about their doom from the station owner. The crotchety old fella is a cliché in every sense of the word, but while watching the scene I couldn’t help but… Read more »

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Halloween-A-Thon Day 16: Friday the 13th Part 6: Jason Lives

Note: The following contains spoilers. I thought that I may have hit the nadir of the Friday the 13th franchise with A New Beginning, in which, just to remind everybody, a faux-Jason spends the movie slaughtering kids at a halfway house. But then I watched Jason Lives and found something even worse than the killing… Read more »

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Halloween-A-Thon Day 15: Scream 2

Note: The following contains spoilers. I have conflicted feelings on Scream 2. While I really like the way they played with the villains’ motivations being responses to the common reasons people gave for violent behavior around the time the movie was released, the villains themselves didn’t quite come together for me, and they felt more… Read more »

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Halloween-A-Thon Day 14: Friday the 13th: A New Beginning

Note: The following contains spoilers. Much of the bad word-of-mouth around A New Beginning stems from the fact that it doesn’t have Jason in it. Despite what people may say, this isn’t an inherent problem (the original film didn’t have Jason as the killer either, and we don’t even hear Jason’s name until the film… Read more »

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Halloween-A-Thon Day 13: REC 2

Note: The following contains spoilers. REC 2 starts out very much as the Aliens to REC’s Alien. Meaning that the original was a group of ordinary people shoved into extraordinary circumstances that they have no real hope of overcoming and they get picked off one-by-one, while the sequel starts with an armed, highly-trained group (in… Read more »

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Halloween-A-Thon Day 12: The Descent

Note: The following contains spoilers. One of the cave-dwelling monsters in The Descent attacks and scares the main group 56 minutes into a 96-minute movie. It’s a long time for the “villains” of the movie to not be active in terrorizing the main characters, but Neil Marshall masterfully builds tension throughout the first hour, and… Read more »

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    The End of the Tour – Movie Review

    Note: this review is featured on the Phoenix Film Festival’s website and Luminary Daily.  James Ponsoldt has quickly evolved into one of the most mature American filmmakers of the 21st century. After breaking out with his challenging romantic drama Smashed, he followed up with the teenage romance The Spectacular Now, which stands as one of… Read more »

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    Hannibal: “And the Woman Clothed with the Sun” Review

    Warning: The following review is filled with spoilers. Hannibal has brought back Abigail Hobbs back to the show/from the dead so many times that you feel like it should start getting stale, but every time Kacey Rohl shows up on screen, she elevates the entire episode. I enjoyed Will’s delusion of Abigail introducing him back… Read more »

  • Vacation – Movie Review

    Note: this review is featured on the Phoenix Film Festival’s website.  Vacation is a vapid experience. As the fifth film in the National Lampoon’s Vacation series, it feels remarkably devoid of familial connection and spirit; instead, it relies on cruelty and crudeness without a care for developing characters or an enduring narrative. There’s little creativity… Read more »

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    Hannibal: “The Great Red Dragon” Review

      Warning: The following review contains spoilers.   The opening moments of “The Great Red Dragon” reminded me of one of the best scenes in Freaks and Geeks, where we watch Bill do mundane tasks like make a sandwich and laugh at a stand up on TV, and just by seeing how he is when… Read more »

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    Bear Reviews: Thor

    Thor may have frost giants and Norse gods and the like, but like every other Marvel movie so far, it does not contain any bears. But, since I gave Age of Ultron a bear because it had Chris Hemsworth’s bare chest, it stands to reason that I have to award the same number of bears… Read more »

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    Paper Towns – Movie Review

    Note: this review is featured on the Phoenix Film Festival’s website.  John Green’s cinematic adaptations are starting to carve out a wonderful niche in mainstream cinema. After his challenging romance The Fault in Our Stars splashed gracefully onto the big screen last summer, his works began gaining steam in the business, with Paper Towns here and Looking for Alaska (directed by the… Read more »

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    Irrational Man – Movie Review

    Note: this review is featured on the Phoenix Film Festival’s website.  Irrational Man is a perfectly acceptable film from most filmmakers, but coming from Woody Allen, you expect something more intuitive and less redundant. The film, focusing on a man who faces an existential crisis but finds himself invigorated at the prospect of murdering someone, takes… Read more »

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    Pixels – Movie Review

    Note: this review is featured on the Phoenix Film Festival’s website.  The summer of 2015 has brought us some fantastic blockbusters, including Mad Max: Fury Road, Spy, and Inside Out. What they’ve shown us is that…well, not everyone can be winners. But perhaps more importantly, they’ve shown us that striking a balance between strong female and male characters… Read more »

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    Bear Reviews: Pixels

    You know, one of the many tragedies in life is that we’re often exposed to moments of brilliance and cadilescence* that we’re too young to fully comprehend or appreciate. As I sat in the theatre watching the latest Adam Sandler comedy, Pixels, I was reminded of one such occurrence in my own life. When I… Read more »

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    BoJack Horseman: Season 2 Review

    Note: this review contains (obvious) spoilers about season two of BoJack Horseman. BoJack Horseman navigates multiple characters battling extreme depression, including an alcoholic, washed-up celebrity, a discontent writer who wants her life to feel more complete, and a man whose best friend can never seem to acknowledge his accomplishments. It’s odd, then, that it’s also an… Read more »