Heads up: Fantasia Festival 2020 is coming!

Posted by Matthew on August 08, 2020
Movies, News / No Comments

Let’s face it: big crowds of people all in one place aren’t going to be a good idea for a while. The coronavirus has changed the way we go to the movies and it has changed the way we go to festivals.

One bright spot, if there is one at all, is that festivals going online means that they’re easier to attend. Case in point, this year I’ll be covering Fantasia Festival, Montreal’s annual festival of genre films.

There are a ton of great films on the program this year, and I am excited to start watching. There will also be some cool special events. John Carpenter will be given a lifetime achievement award, for example, and Mike Flannigan (writer-director of Doctor Sleep, and Netflix The Haunting of Hill House) giving a talk on adapting books to screen.

There’s a lot to look forward to, and with the entire festival being online this year it will be available to people across Canada.

As always, if you enjoy reading my work here please considering becoming a patron and helping me continue to do it.

Look for coverage to begin at the start of the festival, on August 20th.

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An American Pickle Review: Seth Rogen turns in two great performances

Posted by Matthew on August 06, 2020
Movies, Reviews / No Comments

It is a tale as old as time: A man moves to America, that man gets a job at a pickle factory, that man falls into a pickle vat as the building is being condemned, that man wakes up 100 years later and moves in with his great-grandson who is his only living relative. What clash of personalities would result? What clash of ideals and aspirations?

An American Pickle stars Seth Rogen as both Hershel Greenbaum and his great-grandson Ben. Hershel, who left his shtetl in 1919, wakes up in 2020 to find the legacy he wanted for his family is not exactly as he pictured it. He, a hard-working man with cultural and personal beliefs 100 years out of date and Ben, a timid freelance app developer, don’t exactly have a ton in common.

What follows is a sweet, if inconsequential, story of family and identity.

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Matt’s Most Anticipated Movies of 2020, Late Mid-Year Recap

Posted by Matthew on August 06, 2020
Editorial, Movies / No Comments

Oh hey there. It’s been a weird year and I haven’t been writing again. 2020 has been a challenge, to say the least, and it’s seemed like there have been bigger things going on, and also the ol’ day job has been a little on the intense side.

But things are finally calming down a little so I am back to writing a little. A good place to start is with the films I was looking forward to this year because, well, most of them aren’t coming out this year anymore. Theatres here in Vancouver are re-opening in a limited way, but even if new movies were coming to them (which they aren’t) I don’t think I would feel comfortable going to see them yet. Or for the rest of the year.

So let’s take a look at what I was looking forward to, and see where that leaves us for the rest of the year.

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Review: The Invisible Man is a Timely Reinvention of a Classic

Posted by Matthew on March 22, 2020
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The Invisible Man

There are many ways to tell a story that has already been told. You can simply re-tell it, or add some embellishments, or you can entirely remake it into something new. The Invisible Man falls squarely into this third category. It takes the bones of a classic monster movie and re-contextualizes it for now.

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Catch Up Reviews: Gentlemen, Bad Boys, Bombshells, and more

Posted by Matthew on February 22, 2020
Movies, Reviews / Comments Off on Catch Up Reviews: Gentlemen, Bad Boys, Bombshells, and more

It has been a busy couple of weeks around the Awesome Friday HQ and I haven’t had a ton of time for writing, but I have caught up on a bunch of movies so here are some brief thoughts on Bombshell, Harriet, The Gentlemen, Bad Boys for Life, and Miss Americana.

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Review: Birds of Prey is a good time!

Posted by Matthew on February 16, 2020
Movies, Reviews / Comments Off on Review: Birds of Prey is a good time!

DC’s Extended Universe of films got off to a rocky start. An early focus on being grim and gritty and “realistic” a la the comics of Frank Miller along with a lot of time spent setting up a universe seemed to get in the way of making, you know, good movies. That is to say, they went too dark and they spent so much time worrying about the next movie they forgot to focus on the one they were making.

Luckily it seems that someone eventually figured this out and started letting filmmakers make the movies they want to make rather than having them conform to a predetermined aesthetic and continuity. Sometimes this has resulted in a miss (like Joker) but in recent years they have actually generated a string of fun movies (like Aquaman and Shazam!).

So how does Birds of Prey fare? As both a sequel to one of the least liked DC films and also focussing on one of the most fun characters in the DC universe it has a tough setup but I’m pleased to say it’s definitely a hit.

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Franchise Rewatch: James Bond – Part 2: ‘Thunderball through Diamonds Are Forever’, or the End of the Beginning

Posted by Matthew on February 10, 2020
Editorial, Movies / 1 Comment

Welcome to part two of this year’s franchise rewatch. I’ve watched three good films so far, and this time around I’m going to talk about four more.

I’m on pace to get this done before the April premiere of No Time To Die right now so let’s get right to talking about Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and Diamonds Are Forever.

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92nd Academy Awards Liveblog!

Posted by Matthew on February 09, 2020
Live Blog / Comments Off on 92nd Academy Awards Liveblog!

Greetings all! Tonight is the 92nd Academy Awards and we are back to liveblog the proceedings!

As always during the show, new updates will be at the top and we’ll try to update the list of winners as we go

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Matt’s Ten Most Anticipated Films of 2020

Posted by Matthew on February 06, 2020
Editorial, Movies / 1 Comment
Birds of Prey

Every year is a good year for movies but every year there are always those few you are really looking forward to. Here is my list of those movies.

Will these end up being my favourite movies of the year? Who knows! Probably not! The only movies that we know anything about as far away as December are the big-budget blockbusters with marketing pockets so deep we can start hearing about them now. There are hundreds of movies per year that don’t have that.

This list should probably be re-titled “most anticipated big-budget films”, really.

In any event, here is the list. See if you can guess the first entry.

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Franchise Rewatch: James Bond – Part 1: Dr. No, From Russia With Love, and Goldfinger or The Definition of Bond

Posted by Matthew on January 21, 2020
Editorial, Movies / 1 Comment

In each of the last few years, I have re-watched a franchise. If you follow my Letterboxd you might have noticed this. One year it was Star Trek, another it was Star Wars, and another it was Mission: Impossible. This year it’s going to be James Bond.

With 24 films in the franchise proper and a 25th due in April of this year, this is no small undertaking, especially if I am going to blog about them as I go. Why haven’t I blogged these in the past? Because I had an idea of what I wanted this blog to be and I have resolved to change that here in this new decade.

So what follows will be whatever I feel it needs to be after watching each James Bond film. I am going to watch them in order, and I am most likely going to stick to the main EON produced films in the franchise. Some of them will get some deep thought, others maybe not so much. I don’t have a real plan besides watch, write about each, and then finish up with some kind of conclusion.

So if that sounds like the kind of thing you’re into then let’s get started on this journey with the first three entries in the franchise: Dr. No, From Russia With Love, and Goldfinger

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Review: ‘1917’ is a technical masterwork and a pretty good movie, too.

Posted by Matthew on January 20, 2020
Movies, Reviews / Comments Off on Review: ‘1917’ is a technical masterwork and a pretty good movie, too.
1917

1917 tells the story of two young soldiers given a simple but difficult task. A battalion of men are heading into a trap and the only way to contact them is for our two heroes to travel across the no-mans-land of world war one, directly through enemy territory and all the dangers that entail, to hand-deliver a message of warning.

Schofield, the cynic, and Blake, the optimist, are opposites in their disposition and understanding of war. The former, a veteran of battles past, the latter still inexperienced in actual battle. They set off to deliver the message as quickly as possible as Blake’s brother is among the men who will likely die if they don’t accomplish their mission in time.

Filmed to create the illusion that it was completed in a single take, 1917 is in some ways the movie-est movie I’ve seen in a while. In others, it’s the video game-iest. Does it work? Technically, it’s magnificent. In every other way, it’s also pretty good.

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92nd Academy Award Nominations are here to elate and disappoint you

Posted by Matthew on January 13, 2020
Editorial, News / Comments Off on 92nd Academy Award Nominations are here to elate and disappoint you

That’s right folks, the invitees to the big dance have been announced. Has the Academy finally learned from its past and expanded its focus to be more inclusive for people of colour? Turns out they didn’t! Did they recognize more women in the best director category? Also a no!

I love the Oscars because I am a weirdo and, honestly, this is kind of business as usual. There are a bunch of really awesome artists being recognized, but also there is some pan-fried bullshit going on here, too.

Let’s take a look at the categories and add some pithy commentary.

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Ten More From 2019 You Should Totally See

Posted by Matthew on January 03, 2020
Editorial, Movies / Comments Off on Ten More From 2019 You Should Totally See
2019 Best of the Rest

It’s been a good year for film because it’s always been a good year for film. I already posted my favourite films of the year but every year there are those films that while they aren’t quite my favourite are definitely great and worth highlighting.

This year I have selected ten more that you should totally seek out and see, presented in alphabetical order.

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Simon’s Favourite Films & Games of 2019

Posted by Simon on December 30, 2019
Editorial, Games, Movies / 1 Comment
Best of 2019

As 2019 gradually fades into obscurity, it’s time for my yearly tradition of somehow ranking subjective experiences. This year is easier for me, though, as my free time has virtually disappeared (as you can probably tell from my complete lack of writing). As a result, I’m no longer diving deep into complicated experiences until they yield their goods. My metric is simple – is this fun? Does it inspire me? Does it make me feel? And if the answer is no – from a really early point – then it gets pushed aside.

Movies are easier to get through thanks to a much shorter time commitment than a game, so instead, they just get thrown in the outbox. My list of games, though, is more an example of the need for good design throughout – and how a jump in style can put me off forever. So let’s take a look!

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Matt’s Favourite Films & Performers of 2019

Posted by Matthew on December 29, 2019
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Best of 2019

Well, folks here we are at the end of the year, and what a year it has been. As always, it’s been a particularly good year for film because it’s always a good year for film.

I have seen more than eighty films from 2019’s slate and believe you me it is hard to pin down my favourites to just ten, so I have narrowed it down to twelve. This didn’t actually help much, and I still had to leave a ton of films out.

I’m also going to do something a little different this year and highlight a few performers who really blew me away in 2019. So without any further ado, let’s get into the best of 2019

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