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Where the Wild Things Are Review

Over the past nine years since its release Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are has gone from the target of skepticism of most audiences and fans of the book to the little movie that could, seen as an under-appreciated gem that managed to keep the original spirit of Maurice Sendak's classic children's book while also being its own profound statement on childhood. While I consider myself to be an unofficial member of the deeper thinking branch of the film lover's community I can't get to the point where I say that I like Where the Wild Things Are or even that I see how it could be an underrated classic in its own right.

Max (Max Records) is a lonely, emotionally distraught young boy begins to feel increasingly at odds with reality as his sister has acquired a new group of friends and his mother has found a new boyfriend to, in his mind, replace his absentee father. After an angry blowout with his mom, Max runs away through the woods and eventually finds a boat th…

Upgrade Review

Upgrade is a film I simultaneously expected and yet didn't see coming from the writer/director of the Saw franchise. It has the upper-tier grindhouse acting and production design I've come to expect from Blumhouse Productions and has the brutality and gore I would've expected from Leigh Whannell, but at the same time it's much darker than I expected from a summer action movie and actually has one or two really good ideas in its head instead being a mindless popcorn flick. It's just a shame that those good ideas are introduced in the last two minutes of the film.

Some time in the near future (far enough for us to have cars that drive themselves and cyborg implants but not far enough that everything doesn't look exactly like an early 21st century city), working class joe Grey (Logan Marshall-Green) and his wife are involved in a car accident/mugging. After his wife is killed and he is paralyzed, Grey is approached by a reclusive billionaire who offers him a micro…

The Shape of Water Review

The Shape of Water is a movie that is almost impossible to review objectively because the entire reason for its existence is based on a deeply held set of socio-political ideologies designed to appeal to those who share these beliefs and alienate everybody else. Thus, no matter how I review this I'm going to end up pissing off half of you because I do actually need to give my opinion.

If you haven't heard about this one or just didn't watch the Oscars (which at this point is understandable) The Shape of Water is about a mute janitor named Elisa (Sally Hawkins) working at a laboratory in 1960s America where the scientists and military have just captured a fish monster that they believe will help them in the Cold War. However, Elisa begins to form an attachment to the character to the point where she falls in deep, and explicitly consummated, love with it.

Let's get the good out of the way first: it's a Guillermo Del Toro film so it's not only aesthetically pleas…

Carrie Review

Looking back on it now Carrie can pretty much be seen as a template for Stephen King's entire career onward: psychotic bullies, traumatized kid characters, mistaking cultic behavior with what he supposes to be fundamentalism and so on. However, Carrie wasn't just the blueprint for every book King would write for the rest of his life; it was also a pop-cultural touch stone that had a lasting effect on the rest of the horror genre, inspiring everything from Nightmare on Elm Street to Chronicle. When a film has that kind of legacy the question becomes not whether Carrie is a good movie in its own right, but whether it holds up after everything in the entertainment industry has picked its bones clean over the last 30+ years. The answer, thankfully, is absolutely.

The setup is that Carrie White (Sissy Spacek) is a timid girl who has been turned into a forceful shut-in by her cultic mother (Piper Laurie) and the constant torment of her sadistic classmates, barely kept sane by the ki…

Why, Christopher Robin?

This week, Disney released the first trailer to their upcoming film Christopher Robin, which I discovered, to my disappointment, was not a Finding Neverland style story of how the Winnie the Pooh books came to be, but rather a live-action sort-of sequel to the Winnie the Pooh mythos (I can't believe I just wrote the words "Winnie the Pooh mythos"). Normally, I would be all over another Winnie the Pooh movie; I've always had a soft spot in my hard, cynical heart for that stuffed bear and his other animal friends. They're all well-defined characters with big personalities, charming designs and go on wholesome adventures. However, I have a sinking feeling about this new Pooh movie and it's not just because Disney's live-action output since 2015 has been nothing but bland cash-grabbing. There are a few discomforting parts of this trailer that make me think that the Disney executive board (for that is who's actually making their movies nowadays, not the fi…

Red Sparrow Review

Bioshock Infinite Review

I've never actually reviewed a video game on this blog before, but it was either this or watching the 4 hour long director's cut of Kingdom of Heaven and I was not in the mood for that, not when there's Avatar to be binged.

The reason I've never reviewed a video game is because 1) I don't know a thing about game design whereas I've at least taken classes on film production and 2) even though I find video games to be an enjoyable pastime in and of themselves I have never found a game that was worth really digging into thematically or story wise. That is, until I played Bioshock Infinite. This isn't just a game I think is good; it's the game that I play when I need to remind myself that despite all the micro-payments and mindless multiplayer shooters flooding the market, gaming has just as much potential to be a platform for high art as any other medium. It's my gaming equivalent of Citizen Kane, the game that made me realize just how engrossing, crea…