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

Posted by Matthew on January 20, 2020
Movies, Reviews / No Comments
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 / No Comments

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 / No Comments
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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Matt’s Favourite Films of 2018

Posted by Matthew on December 29, 2019
Editorial, Movies / 1 Comment
Best of 2018

I know what you’re thinking: December 2019 is a weird time to write about my favourite films of 2018. You might be right, but also there’s never a bad time to write about great movies. Last year I was on a break from blogging, this year I am back at it.

See, it all makes sense.

In any event here are a few disclaimers. First, I wrote this list at the end of 2018 so subsequent viewing in 2019 doesn’t really affect it. Second, if a movie you love doesn’t appear here there are two explanations: either I didn’t see it or it’s not one of my favourites. Third, this list is presented in alphabetical order (ie: not ranked) except for my absolute favourite of the year, which is last.

Alright? Alright. Let’s get started.

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Review: ‘The Song of Names’ is too downtempo

Posted by Matthew on December 23, 2019
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It’s minutes before a show.  The theatre is sold out and the crowds are dressed to the nines.  The orchestra is ready and everyone is waiting to see the young virtuoso violin player than the entire city can’t stop talking about. 

The only problem is that he’s nowhere to be found.  This is the first scene in The Song of names.  The virtuoso, a young Jewish immigrant named Dovidl,  adopted by a British violin instructor in the years before world war 2, who becomes like a son to the instructor and brother to the instructors’ son Martin, who then disappears on the night of his big debut.  

Fast forward to 40 years later, the now-adult Martin hasn’t seen his adopted brother since that fateful day, but a new clue sets him on the path to rediscovering what happens on that fateful night. 

What should be a sombre reflection on two lives lived ends up kind of being a bit of a slog.  Tim Roth plays the adult Martin as best he can with the material that he is given but I felt no investment in his story, or when it’s finally revealed what happened to Dovidl, in a moment that should pack an emotional wallop I didn’t feel much more than a gentle nudge. 

Once the story connects with Dovidl as an adult, now played by Clive Owen, things get a little more interesting but Owen seems to be sleepwalking through the part.

There are things to like in this movie though.  A new original score by Howard Shore is one of them, and indeed basically every musical performance is great.  One, in particular, a musical duel between Dovidl and another young violinist in a London bomb shelter, is particularly great. 

But these pieces can’t save the movie as a whole from being a bit too stuffy and uninteresting.

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Poster Gallery: Character sheets for The Gentlemen, James Bond, Wonder Woman, Star Wars, and a whole lot more

Posted by Matthew on December 16, 2019
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Yes, still playing catchup. Here are a bunch of the posters that I missed while I was resting.

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Awesome News: Catch Up Edition #2

Posted by Matthew on December 10, 2019
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Still playing catchup on the news as real-life continues to suck up all my free time. Here’s some Robocop news, some ill-advised biopic news, some invisible news, and some batman news. All good things!

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Awesome News: Catch-up Edition #1

Posted by Matthew on December 06, 2019
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The presses have been offline for a while thanks to real life, but real life didn’t stop news from happening. Here are a few of the stores we found interesting or exciting while we were sleeping.

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Awesome News: Disney+ Marvel Show news, Parasite News, Christian Bale news, and more!

Posted by Matthew on November 18, 2019
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Life is busy folks so I am running way behind. Here’s a smattering of the news from the past 10 days and I promise to do my best to keep on schedule.

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Trailer Roundup: Bad Boys, Invisible Men, Animated Hedgehogs, and mind bending horrors

Posted by Matthew on November 15, 2019
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MPAA Red Band

I’m behind with the trailer roundup this week so the write-ups may be brief, but there are a ton of trailers to get through so let’s do this thing! You will have noticed the red band at the top of this post so yes at least one of the trailers is rated R, which seems like a natural fit with the kids’ movies also in this post. Fun!

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Review: ‘Jojo Rabbit’ is charming, but muddled satire

Posted by Matthew on November 12, 2019
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Jojo Rabbit

This is a movie that should be right up my alley. It has an acclaimed comedic writer/director known for films that strike exactly the tone that taking on a difficult subject like the Nazis is suited for, with an all-star cast and a premise just out there enough to maybe sneak in some real lessons without the audience knowing.

And it almost works. That’s not to say that Jojo Rabbit is a bad film. It’s actually a fine film. It has more than a few big laughs and a couple of great performances, but it never quite gels into something more.

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Review: ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ is totally fine

Posted by Matthew on November 12, 2019
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Terminator: Dark Fate

James Camerons 1984 film _The Terminator_ and 1991 follow up _Terminator 2: Judgement Day_ are both stone-cold classics. It’s not surprising that Hollywood has been making sequels in this franchise for the last two decades. It is surprising that most of them are …. we’ll say “of varying quality.”

Where those have failed, Terminator: Dark Fate actually kind of succeeds. It takes familiar elements from the original two, remixes them with some social commentary, and brings in all the legacy characters to pass the torch to a whole new cast.

Imagine The Force Awakens but for Terminator.

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Review: ‘Doctor Sleep’ shines in more ways than one

Posted by Matthew on November 10, 2019
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How do you make a sequel to a classic? It’s a difficult thing, the balance between paying homage to what came before and forging something new is a difficult one. An inch too far in either direction and you risk the ire of someone, either the fan who wants something new or the fan who really just wants the same thing all over again.

Doctor Sleep makes the question even more difficult. The film The Shining is, to reuse the word, a stone-cold classic. Adapted from Stephen Kings novel of the same name it takes many liberties with the story, so much so that King himself famously did not like it. King wrote the novel Doctor Sleep 36 years later as a sequel to his own work. So the question is how do you adapt a novel that serves as a sequel to a classic book and film which each has distinctly different arcs and in particular endings?

The answer is, of course, with great care, which is exactly what director Mike Flanagan has done.

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