‘Knives Out’ TIFF Review: Rian Johnson Caper Toys Expectations to the Max

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Nobody quite makes caper films like Rian Johnson does. Making his feature film debut in 2005 with Brick, Johnson has already established quite a name for himself in the genre through films like The Brothers Bloom and Looper, before he went on to direct Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Going back to working on a smaller scale with Knives Out, it feels like this is the sort of film that Rian Johnson has always wanted to make for a while – and it really shows. Mixing all of his greatest passions together with his knack for always throwing in surprise after surprise for his viewers, Knives Out only manages to provide far more when you least expect it, and it makes for a wholly entertaining experience. Like all the best thrillers from the classic Hollywood era, it’s clear as day that Rian Johnson is having so much fun with what he’s been given and he knows how to transfer that feeling over to his own audiences too. The knives do come out in this twisty comedy-thriller, but how deep in they go, you’d have to find out for yourself.

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Up – Review

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Looking at many of Pixar’s films now I can’t seem to let go of the nostalgia that they have left upon me. I’ve noted that Pixar was responsible for many of my own happiest childhood memories with every film of theirs that I saw in theaters at the end of every school year, but Up in particular seems to linger in a way that I’ve found a number of their others haven’t. I’ve hung onto many of the rest on the count that they did make childhood better for myself but something about Up still feels important now, and it only took the many eventual rewatches as an adult to realize what makes this one so special: perhaps all starting with the fact that it is led by Pixar’s second oldest protagonist, but for audiences who have grown up with them over the years it almost feels like a nice testament towards where they are set to go later on in their own lives.

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General Thoughts: The 90th Academy Awards

One knows already how predictable the Academy Awards can become after the route of the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards among many more, but in the 90 years that we have seen them moving onward, what they had managed to turn forth was not only one of the strongest lineups in a while but also one of the most pleasantly surprising, knowing where their own habits lie. If there was anything else to be said about what the Academy Awards have in store for us this year, then it only makes this year’s ceremony – unlike the past few at least, worth looking forward to.

Bold indicates my vote for said category.
Underline indicates who I think will win.

To read more about the picks this year in the major categories, click “read more.” Continue reading →

2017: A Year in Review

Another year is complete, but not without having talked about the wonderful experiences we’ve had at the cinemas. Together with the not-so-wonderful films. But alas, this has been an extraordinary year for films for the highlights still managed to stick their landing inside of our minds – and the inevitable “what about such and such?” will come but I will remind you that it would have been outright impossible for me to have been able to catch virtually every movie that had come out the previous year to make sure I wouldn’t forget other highlights that may not have made it.
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All the Money in the World – Review

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Shortly before the release date of All the Money in the World, Ridley Scott made the abrupt decision to reshoot every scene involving Kevin Spacey’s portrayal of J. Paul Getty with Christopher Plummer recast in the role instead after many sexual assault allegations have been levelled against Spacey. But even if Kevin Spacey hadn’t already been a sexual predator beforehand, the decision to cast him – a 58-year-old man under heavy old man makeup in order to play an 80-year-old J. Paul Getty never made sense. So how exactly does Ridley Scott manage to make All the Money in the World work the way it did? It’s still something I’m wondering but the rate at which Ridley Scott is continuously working is among many things that I’ve always admired about the filmmaker.

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Beginners – Review

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Evidently this is a really personal story on the end of Mike Mills and I can only imagine the sort of poignancy it would carry towards his end but no matter how much I try, I can’t find myself connecting with it to the degree I hope for. There’s a degree to which I wish I could find myself loving Beginners to, based upon my own expectations after the wonderful 20th Century Women, but in itself I just find a work too difficult especially where it shouldn’t be. A rewatch that came after having fallen head over heels for 20th Century Women had me hoping that I would find myself loving Mike Mills’s Beginners on the count that it tells of something touching at this point of one’s life, but unfortunately the attachment feels suffocated at its very worst, and it’s a prominent feeling that I come across with these quirky indie films.

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The Insider – Review

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An on-the-spot impression left from Michael Mann’s The Insider doesn’t leave it out to be my favourite of Mann’s films (he’s done many which I find to be quite superior) but knowing what Mann is an expert with, it is still a strong footing from the great filmmaker. While it definitely contains touches that would indicate weaknesses that are strange coming from Michael Mann, there are many elements to The Insider indicative of strength, for what he leaves behind is a truly riveting piece of work as can always be expected from the great filmmaker’s very best work. It flops a little bit then and there, but it’s strong enough to warrant a watch or two. Continue reading →