‘1917’ Review: A Faceless, if Harrowing War Experience

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This WWI film directed by Sam Mendes is a visceral theatrical experience, one that feels ready to place you on the battlefield, whether you are ready or not. It’s also one that I was feeling skeptical about because it has also been way too long since I was last wowed by a mainstream war film from recent memory, but the idea that Sam Mendes were to make one to look as if it were in one continuous long take became the most intriguing selling point for me. And for every bit as it is the film’s main selling point, 1917 doesn’t seem to have all that much to offer beyond that. Which isn’t to say that the film is bad, but where it peaks in the technical department it seems to be lacking elsewhere.

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Mary Poppins Returns but Brought Nothing New: A Review

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The original Mary Poppins is often recognized as the crowning live-action achievement of Walt Disney’s career, and is also most notable for being the only Disney production to earn a Best Picture nomination during his lifetime. But so fervent was author P. L. Travers’s dislike of the changes that Disney made to a story that she once created, we wouldn’t end up seeing another Mary Poppins film until much later. So it only leaves me wondering what can be pulled off with a belated sequel, 54 years later. But how exactly would such a long wait between the two films provide, especially when trying to reach out for a newer audience with Mary Poppins Returns? Trying to recapture the charm that Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke have only ever made so distinctive would be one challenge, especially with trying to reach another audience, and Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda make the very best of it here. That alone could provide a lot for some viewers but I was only ever left wondering what else would be coming by in order to allow this story to feel so distinctive from its predecessor after so long.

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Kursk Has Trouble Staying Afloat: TIFF Review

✯✯½

Thomas Vinterberg’s Kursk marks the director’s fourth film in the English language, and knowing already of the attachment of Vinterberg’s name it should promise greatness but the case with Kursk gives something that doesn’t fit so well under there. This drama, telling the story of the Kursk submarine disaster that claimed the lives of 118 men, without doubt has an admirable intent behind it yet it seems to have trouble even staying afloat – almost like the submarine whose story the film is telling you about. Admittedly, having walked into Kursk I had only known about as much as it being a true story – yet the moment I finished, I couldn’t help myself but think that this was a story that deserved so much better than what it received. Thomas Vinterberg has never been a particularly consistent filmmaker, even if his skill is so obviously clear – yet so much of it feels lacking in the case of Kursk. This barely feels like the Vinterberg that I’ve already come to love over the years, but someone else wearing Vinterberg’s name as a moniker – someone that just feels indistinguishable at that.

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Kingsman: The Golden Circle – Review

✯½

I never felt that the first Kingsman film deserved the praise it received so the idea of a sequel coming this soon had little to no appeal to me. Even less appealing was the idea that Matthew Vaughn was returning to direct based on how he has previously blended action and comedy from another Mark Millar comic (Kick-Ass, which I also find rather off-putting to a degree), so my expectations were never high. And even with my expectations placed at a low, I thought to myself about how much I’d rather sit through the first Kingsman again because it seemed like a more focused piece of work right next to this sequel. Not that it makes the first film any better than it is, but all the better aspects of it shine out when looking at how much of it is done far worse in this sequel.

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Love Actually – Review

If the title alone was surprisingly not the most condescending thing about Love Actually, then I would have been shocked based on that alone because the course of events that take place in this supposedly charming romantic comedy all live under an illusion. Richard Curtis’s Love Actually managed to earn a reputation as a delightful Christmas treat in some circles and yet, the opening already suggests the general idea that it wants to get across and yet its picture of such idea is where the film falls on its knees. Love is all around, that is said idea, but Love Actually only inspires a hate-filled rage out of me.

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