into the spider-verse review

Visually stunning, laugh-out-loud funny, and utterly dazzling, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a reminder of what superhero movies can be when handled with love and care. Bustling with energy, humor and action, Into the Spider-Verse is the Spider-Man film you’ve been waiting for.

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mirai review

Mirai is a movie utterly without pretension. And believe me, it teeters on that precipice — Mamoru Hosoda’s latest film has got all the elements of “important art” meant to challenge and excite its audience: a slow-burning pace, a fantastical time travel plot, and sequences that experiment with animation and reality. But everything about Mirai is deeply sincere.

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the possession of hannah grace review

A job working the graveyard shift in a morgue? What could go wrong? For Shay Mitchell in The Possession of Hannah Grace, the answer is: everything. This horror pastiche tries to inject some fresh blood into the tired exorcism horror sub-genre, but the result is a lackluster, haphazard, and ultimately frustrating experience.

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creed ii spoiler review

(In our Spoiler Reviews, we take a deep dive into a new release and get to the heart of what makes it tick…and every story point is up for discussion. In this entry: Creed II.)

Step back into the ring with Creed II, a sequel to Ryan Coogler’s 2015 Rocky spin-off Creed. The main cast is back, but Coogler is not. The result? An exciting, entertaining sequel that never manages to match the strength of the first film. Much like Adonis Creed himself, the Creed franchise will need to forge its own legacy if it wants to continue.

Major spoilers follow.

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robin hood featurette

The latest iteration of Robin Hood opens with our hero (Taron Egerton) receiving a letter of conscription into the Crusades, and being thrust directly into the middle of an Iraq War allegory. Robin and his men are dressed in clothes that resemble bulletproof vests, and fire off arrows with such force and speed that director Otto Bathurst might as well have gone all the way and had them toting guns.

It’s a nuttiness and strain for modernity (and modern relevance) that persists throughout the entire film, and perhaps the only thing about Robin Hood that justifies the opening voiceover that claims this to be a Robin Hood we’ve never seen before. On a strictly technical level, no, we’ve never seen this version of Robin Hood’s story before, but we have seen everything that happens in the film in almost every big blockbuster before this.

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creed ii trailer

It is perhaps fitting that a film all about characters struggling to escape the crushing weight of expectations would itself have to grapple with similar expectations. Such is the case with Creed II, a follow-up to the superlative 2015 film Creed, which remixed the original Rocky with panache and style that had been missing from the franchise for a long time. Creed II also remixes a number of elements from most of the overall Rocky franchise, while telling a story whose beats are easily familiar to anyone with a passing awareness of the boxing-movie genre, boosted largely by its cast.

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The Clovehitch Killer Review

The question of how well we ever really know our parents is one that surely hangs heavy on any slightly-curious child. We never know what we were like before we were born; we only see the personalities they present to us, which of course are tailored specifically for us. So it must come as a surprise when a parent turns out to be, say, a serial killer.

This is the premise of Duncan Skiles’ The Clovehitch Killer. Charlie Plummer stars as Tyler, a high school kid in a town whose history is marked by the murders of the Clovehitch Killer. When a rumour about Tyler spreads based on S&M photos found in his dad’s truck, he befriends outcast weirdo Kassi (Madisen Beaty), a Clovehitch obsessive, bonding over their shared pariah status as “perv” and “slut” respectively. Together, they piece together a somewhat inevitable theory that Tyler’s dad Don (Dylan McDermott) might just be using his scout-master skills for more than just outdoorsmanship.

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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Review

If Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is any indication, this new franchise is a test of the mettle of fans of the overall “Wizarding World” of Harry Potter. How much do you care about the tiniest details that were tossed off in J.K. Rowling’s original series of seven books about a boy wizard with a peculiar scar on his forehead? For those who might be inflamed by the notion of characters mentioned in the first Harry Potter book now being seen up close and in person, there may be some level of excitement to be had. For the rest of us, The Crimes of Grindelwald is a slog of a story that features an excess of dry, dull dialogue and a lack of story propulsion.

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ralph breaks the internet clip

Over the last few years, the Walt Disney Company has become marked by its willingness to, essentially, cannibalize itself. The animated films that serve as the building blocks for the massive conglomerate we know today are now fodder for live-action or computer-animated remakes. Couple that with the company’s predilection in the late 1990s and early 2000s to churn out direct-to-video sequels, and it’s almost surprising to consider that, in 81 years, Walt Disney Animation Studios has only created three in-canon sequels. In 1990, there was The Rescuers Down Under. In 2000, they went IMAX-level big with Fantasia 2000. And now, we have Ralph Breaks the Internet, a perfectly decent animated film that, to its credit, critiques its title character, despite being unable to transcend a profound sense that we’ve seen this all before.

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the image book review

If one were to introduce Jean-Luc Godard’s first film, Breathless (1960), to a class of unassuming film students without first providing context, it may seem, to them, an exercise in the rote and familiar. The film’s referential nature began to permeate American cinema not long after its arrival (crystalizing, arguably, in the works of Quentin Tarantino in the 1990s) with the long-take becoming a staple of Western arthouse, the jump-cut featuring prominently the YouTube vlog, and other stylistic flourishes seeding the very tapestry that is our modern visual language. These, of course, were uncommon before the French New Wave. The context in question is partially the post-World War II dominance of American cinema, out of which Godard sought to explore — and subsequently, discombobulate from within — cinematic imagery, as if tapping in to a fractured cultural psyche. After all, the film’s protagonist Michel yearns for some fundamental Americanism, whether through romantic pursuit of an American woman or through a self-fashioned, Humphrey Bogart-inspired “gangster” persona. Point being, Godard and his peers lived in the shadow of a neatly functional, largely American filmic image, the vernacular of “a secret cult only for the initiated” (per his Criterion interview) and a paradigm he sought to upset in the process of exploring.

Fast forward fifty-eight years.

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