Review: ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ premiere is a big tease for things to come

How do you follow in the footsteps of a giant? How do you live with the sins of your past? These are two of the questions at the heart of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the new series on Disney+ that follows Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan, reprising their roles as Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes, respectively.

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Recap & Review: ‘WandaVision’ Series Finale, in which our heroes stories are resolved. Mostly.

This week WandaVision comes to a close with a nearly hour-long episode, fittingly titled “The Series Finale”. This episode will bring the story to a close (mostly, this is Marvel we’re talking about), but is it successful? There’s only one way to find out.

Heads up, I wrote the recap a little differently this week, with a section dedicated to each character. It was definitely easier to write, and I hope it’s easier to read.

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Review: ‘The Mauritanian’ features a strong central performance stuck in a bog-standard legal drama

The Mauritanian

It’s no secret that the United States has done some terrible things in the wake of the September 11th, 2001 attacks. Nearly 800 people were detained at Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp –which, for the record, remains open still– without due process. They have been subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques”, a bland euphemism for torture. In violation of both international agreements and the united states constitution, these prisoners rights were ignored and their persons abused. The entire affair was –and continues to be– a blight on American history.

The Mauritanian tells the story of one of these people. Mohamedou Ould Salahi (played by Tahar Rahim) was held at Guantanamo for 14 years. His memoir, written while in detention, became the basis for this movie, in which his harrowing story is hiding inside a legal drama we’ve all seen before.

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Review: ‘Moxie.’ is a tale of protest and empowerment

Moxie.

How do you create change? That’s one of the questions at the heart of Moxie, the story of Vivian (Hadley Robinson), a young woman whose high school is, in a word, toxic and the girls of which are disempowered and objectified. The boys literally create a list ranking each of the girls for their best “attribute”, like biggest breasts or “most bangable”, or in the case of Vivian, “most obedient.”

The answer, it turns out, is “however you can.” Tired of existing in a world so toxic, and after both being inspired by a new girl in class and by finding a suitcase full of mementoes from her mother, Lisa’s (Amy Poehler) past, she finds a way to create change with an anonymously produced ‘zine she calls “Moxie”.

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Review: ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ is action-packed, heartfelt, and relevant. In other words: another hit for Disney.

Raya and the Last Dragon

Animation is a medium in which is not limited by imagination. If you can think of it, you can make it happen on screen. The best animated stories have bright, imaginative worlds populated with endearing, relatable characters, and a story that appeals to young and old alike; and most importantly a theme that makes the whole thing work in our world, too.

Raya and the Last Dragon is one of these animated stories. Set in a world inspired by a variety of south-east asian cultures, and following a young woman on a quest to repair a world torn apart by lack of trust, this movie is the real deal. Shocking, I know.

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Recap & Review: ‘WandaVision’ Episode 8 dives into Wanda’s personal history

WandaVision

This week is the penultimate episode of WandaVision, and at a solid 10 minutes longer than the previous episodes, there is a whole lot of plot to get through and a whole lot of loose threads left for the finale to tie up. Let’s get right to it!

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Recap & Review: ‘WandaVision’ Episode 6: Sibling shenanigans and raising stakes

WandaVision

Last week ended with the appearance of Wanda’s brother Pietro, but now played by actor Evan Peters, who played a version of the character featured in the Fox X-Men movies. It was a hell of a twist, and this week starts to deal with that. A little bit.

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Review: ‘Space Sweepers’ is exactly the kind of bonkers fun I want in my Sci-Fi right now

Space Sweepers

Look, 2020 was a challenging year. In a world that feels incredibly bleak, sometimes you want something bright and colourful and maybe a little naive to get you through the day. Space Sweepers is entirely this: a Korean blockbuster about a group of rag-tag misfits who salvage space junk for a living, get caught up in a massive conspiracy, adopt a child, and fight back against a ruthless and oppressive corporate overlord.

It’s a ton of fun.

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Victoria Film Fest Review: ‘Fanny Lye Deliver’d’ tells of a woman’s awakening with mixed results

Fanny Lye Deliver'd

It is easy to romanticize the past but what we often overlook is how difficult and awful it was for women. Women in historical stories are often portrayed as fierce, headstrong, and independent, but much more common was that they were sheltered and abused. This the case of one Fanny Lye (Maxine Peake), husband to John Lye (Charles Dance), a devout Christian and former member of Oliver Cromwell’s army. It is, at least, until two strangers happen into their lives.

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Victoria Film Fest Review: ‘Queen of the Andes’ explores big ideas with a micro budget

Queen of the Andes

Space travel is in our future. One day we will get to other planets, but how we get there and who we send will be an ongoing project. What, though, if it weren’t a choice, for we as a society or for the people that we send?

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Victoria Film Fest Review: ‘The Secret Garden’ is gorgeous to look at but not much else.

The Secret Garden

A great story is timeless and as resonant in the present as it was at the time it was written. Frances Hodgson Burnett’s 1911 children’s novel The Secret Garden is one of these. A timeless classic with themes that resonate today as well as they did in 1911.

There have been quite a few adaptations of this story over the years, with four film versions being made before this one and at least that many television serials and specials, most of which in the last 30 years. Adapting a classic, it seems, still requires that something new is offered the viewer. What then, after so many visits to this garden, does this new version have to offer? Well, it’s really, really pretty. Unfortunately, not much else.

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Victoria Film Fest Review: ‘The Reason I Jump’ examines the world from the perspective of those with autism

The Reason I Jump

It has been 14 years since Higashida Naoki’s book, The Reason I Jump was first published in Japan, and 8 since English novelist David Mitchell translated it. Naoki was 13 at the time and is autistic and unable to communicate verbally. He was able to write his book by using an alphabet board his mother created, and in the process provided a roadmap for how his mind works and how he experiences the world.

That roadmap has proven invaluable to the families of those on the spectrum, especially those who are non-verbal. This documentary by Jerry Rothwell explores how that roadmap has impacted the lives of five such people. The result is a film that will open your eyes and your heart.

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Victoria Film Fest Review: ‘Once Upon a Time in Venezuela’ is a heartbreaking look at a country in crisis

Once Upon a Time in Venezuela

Imagine living in a place that is literally rotting away beneath you. No matter what you do, what help you ask for from local and national governments, your home slowly but surely disappears. This is the story of Congo Mirador, a tiny village of fewer than 1000 people situated on Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela. It’s also the story of the whole country, and it’s heartbreaking.

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Victoria Film Fest Review: ‘Violation’ is a tense, uncomfortable twist on the rape-revenge genre

Violation

There are few things that one person can do to another that is more violating than rape. It is an act of power, an act of selfishness, and an act of degradation. Violation is a film about such an act—a moment when a man sees a woman and takes what he wants. The result is a visceral and uncomfortable watch that sees a woman go to extremes to take her revenge.

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