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The Equalizer – Movie Review

Note: this review is featured on the Phoenix Film Festival’s website. Denzel Washington is the most reliable star in the film industry. His films have earned over $2 billion without the help of a franchise and he’s garnered two Oscar wins. He’s an easy man to like because of his tremendous acting abilities and his natural… Read more »

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The Boxtrolls – Movie Review

Note: this review is featured on the Phoenix Film Festival’s website. Laika Studios has created some of the finest animated films in the last decade. Coraline explored the manner in which animation can tackle adult themes within a children’s narrative while ParaNorman encapsulated how innovate and breathtaking stop-motion can be when employed in genre storytelling. The company has produced forward-thinking, imaginative,… Read more »

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Believe Me – Movie Review

Note: this review is featured on the Phoenix Film Festival’s website. Films that aim to tackle religion comedically and from multiple viewpoints often lose themselves on their journey. Believe Me, unfortunately, falls into that trap of being aggressively against religion while simultaneously crafting kind, likable characters within religion. That makes for an uncomfortable dichotomy that grows from the… Read more »

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Good People – Movie Review

Note: this review is featured on the Phoenix Film Festival’s website. Good People starts with a promising opening scene. The camera observes men watching a group of people arriving at a nightclub during the day. They’re preparing to rob the place, and more specifically take down Khan (Omar Sy), a drug kingpin that sells liquid heroin. They… Read more »

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Hector and the Search for Happiness – Movie Review

Note: this review is featured on the Phoenix Film Festival’s website. Hector and the Search for Happiness is an optimistic, overlong slog that delivers moments of genuine happiness with a dash of cultural insensitivity and simplicity. As a comedy, its humor ranges from slapstick to character-driven to stereotypical, all sometimes within one scene. As a drama,… Read more »

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Kelly & Cal – Movie Review

Note: this review is featured on the Phoenix Film Festival’s website. Kelly (Juliette Lewis) is a punk-rocker whose life is changed by the birth of her son, while Cal (Jonny Weston) is a young man paralyzed after a declaration of love goes horribly wrong. Together they form a strong, compelling friendship that drives Kelly & Cal past conventional,… Read more »

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The Maze Runner – Movie Review

Note: this review is featured on the Phoenix Film Festival’s website. How can newly released young-adult dystopias set themselves apart from the rest of the pack? The Maze Runner doesn’t do anything particularly exciting or innovative past its admittedly promising concept, but the male-driven narrative will undoubtedly draw in a wider audience than many of the recent adaptations… Read more »

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This is Where I Leave You – Movie Review

Note: this review is featured on the Phoenix Film Festival’s website. This is Where I Leave You stands amongst those films that have a tremendous ensemble cast but never strive for anything more than safe storytelling choices and contrivances. The film comes from Shawn Levy, a traditionally studio-oriented filmmaker that doesn’t have a distinct style so much… Read more »

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Tusk – Movie Review

Note: this review is featured on the Phoenix Film Festival’s website. Kevin Smith is one of the most divisive filmmakers in the business, a writer-director that stands by his work and doesn’t let others get in the way. I’m a fan of some of his films but not all: I really enjoy Dogma and Zack and Miri Make a… Read more »

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The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby – Movie Review

Note: this review is featured on the Phoenix Film Festival’s website. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby started as two separate films with the subtitles “Him” and “Her.” Each film stood as their own narratives with both lovers separated after their marriage begins to fall apart. The director and writer, Ned Benson, realized that the two would need… Read more »