• Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

    Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

    ★★★★½

    Courageous and wholehearted acting; brilliant cinematography and editing (SNUBBED FROM OSCARS?); symbolic, purposeful, almost autobiographical writing; a provocative structure and style -- Birman is one of the best crafted pieces of metafiction since Charlie Kaufman's Adaptation, and has set the standard for cinematic style in 2014.

  • Interstellar

    Interstellar

    ★★★★½

    I find it overwhelmingly disheartening that Interstellar, with it's self-perpetuating canvas, ambitious narrative, and truly awe-inspiring technical production, is reduced by skeptics/critics to be "over-long", "over-expository", or "overly ridden by plot holes". VULTURE.COM, who released a review that contained numerous indicative spoilers (one huge spoiler came in the form of quotation marks!), also released an article that pointed out 21 of the films supposed "plot holes" the day after it was released. Those pretentious assholes were more focused on how…

  • Fury

    Fury

    ★★★

    "Ideals are peaceful. History is violent."

    David Ayer's Fury captures the very grim, very hellish aspects of war: the mud and the blood and the overwhelming presence of death. Eyes get stabbed out, heads get blown off, and bodies get flattened by tanks--the film rivals Tarantino's presentation of gore in Inglorious Basterds. Ayer forms strong themes around the psychological effects of war, the desensitization to violence, and the function of religion as self-protection. Ayer intentionally highlights how each character struggles…

  • Whiplash

    Whiplash

    ★★★★½

    It's been a couple of days since I screened Whiplash at Edmonton Film Festival, and for the life of me I can't find anything wrong with it. It is as gripping, raw, unique, and emotional as anything I've seen in recent past. The film is as exhilarating as it relentless; and it refuses to withdraw itself for a moment. The plot itself is fairly straightforward: a young man has an unparalleled desire to become a world class drummer, and is…

  • Full Metal Jacket

    Full Metal Jacket

    ★★★★½

    Drill Instructor: "Do any of you people know who Charles Whitman was?"

    *Crickets*

    "Drill Instructor: "Charles Whitman shot and killed 12 people from a 28-story observation tower at the University of Texas. Anybody know who Lee Harvey Oswald was?

    *All hands shoot into the air*

    Through 27 years, Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket has thoroughly proven itself--not only to be one of the most iconic war films of all time, but perhaps the greatest satire of american "patriotism". It's incredible…

  • Blended

    Blended

    Holy sweet mother of fuck. This is one disgraceful, unintelligent, and overlong mess that has no right to call itself a film. I can't even justify a review...

  • Guardians of the Galaxy

    Guardians of the Galaxy

    ★★★★½

    I think it's safe to say, Guardians of the Galaxy has astronomically exceeded any expectations we had for it when Marvel first revealed their plans to adapt it. Everything about this universe is strangely familiar, yet interestingly enough, organic; the alien species', the space age technology and the varied planetary settings are all great examples of creative reinvention. Guardians feels like The Avengers meets Star Wars, while the relationship dynamic between the characters screams Star Trek. Even so, Guardians is…

  • Sex Tape

    Sex Tape

    ★★

    Sex Tape is a classic case of mistaken identity.The film is disguised as a raunchy, sexually explicit romantic comedy, as if to join the ranks of other recent classics (excuse the oxymoron) from directors like Apatow and Stoller. Unfortunately enough, Sex Tape is not what it pretends to be. The film is not about a sex tape, it is merely used as a plot device to thicken poorly contrived themes of family, loyalty and love. The film suffers from cliches,…

  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    ★★★★

    "Caesar IS home."

    Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is not solely a compilation of grand action sequences or visually stunning effects that we've come to accept from summer blockbusters; it is instead a complete, well-rounded cinematic journey that sets the standard for narrative designs in big budget movies. Director Matt Reeves can do no wrong here, however, he also makes sure to include all the right. Every aspect of the film works so genuinely well together that its…

  • Transformers: Age of Extinction

    Transformers: Age of Extinction

    ★½

    Transformers: Age of Extinction honestly has me wondering whether or not Michael Bay even works from a script; or if he just props up on-set with a plethora of simplistic ideas that he has written down on the backs of old cocktail napkins--and at times I feel like there isn't even that much preparation. I also feel like not being able to remember a film the day after you saw it is a pretty good indication of how bad it…

  • Edge of Tomorrow

    Edge of Tomorrow

    ★★★½

    Tom Cruise certainly has a knack for starring in standalone science-fiction films; Minority Report, War of the Worlds, Oblivion and now Edge of Tomorrow, Cruise is a household name for fresh, blockbuster material. So why is it then that these movies fail to make any money at the domestic box office? Do we not like Cruise post-Oprah? Do we not enjoy any science fiction outside of comic book adaptations? Who knows. But regardless of the answer, Edge is one of…

  • A Million Ways to Die in the West

    A Million Ways to Die in the West

    ★★½

    By now we know that Seth MacFarlane's humour is hit or miss. Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, Ted, etc.; it should be clear what to expect from one of televisions most successful writers--raw, offensive, crossing-the-line jokes that either have you pissing your pants laughing, shaking your head in awe that he went "there", or looking around to see how bored people are. Million Ways is no different. Some good jokes, some bad jokes, and some jokes that elicit the sound…