‘Toy Story 4’ Review: A Worthy Conclusion to Pixar’s Long-Running Saga

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When Toy Story 4 was announced, many fans have also been speculating on what worth would a fourth film have following the conclusion of Toy Story 3 with Andy’s time now having come to an end. But of course with the stakes having been raised incredibly high up by Toy Story 3, the initial proposal of Toy Story 4 as a romantic comedy with Woody and Bo Peep would already have been met with negative feedback, even after her absence in Toy Story 3. But nevertheless, the film had came around anyway and maybe there’s so much more that we can imagine to what it feels like to be a toy than simply being passed around from Andy to Bonnie at the very end of Toy Story 3? With all of this being set in mind, there’s no way that Toy Story 4 should work as well as it does but it still finds itself a worthy entry into Pixar’s long-running saga, and as a way for them to bookend the decade, just as they started it off with Toy Story 3, it feels more than just satisfying enough. I’m still left wondering what more could an entry like this have done in the grand scheme of things but if this is how the Toy Story series finally must come to its own conclusion, I’m more than fine with it.

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‘My Own Private Idaho’ Review: A Gay Shakespearean Tragedy for the Lost American Youth

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Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho is often noted for playing a big part in bringing LGBTQ+ cinema to the mainstream as it was also seen as a landmark of New Queer Cinema, and for good reason at that – because I also happen to think that this is Gus Van Sant’s best film as a director. For many reasons I believe that this is his best film because of the way in which it speaks out for the whole experience as a gay man wandering through the Americana landscape – not only as that but even as a retelling of Shakespeare of all things, somehow this odd combination could only have ever been made possible by someone like Gus Van Sant. It’s a film that carries an almost dreamlike quality to it, but in order to best capture what the journey feels like, from continually wandering through America, there’s no other way for a film like My Own Private Idaho to unveil itself. Being only the filmmaker’s third feature, it has only ever remained one of the best films ever to be made about life in America, but also Van Sant at his most experimental and outwardly thus far.

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The Matrix Review: How the Wachowskis’ 1999 Science Fiction Film Continues to Inspire Generations to Come

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In spite of wearing its own influences on its sleeve and many countless imitators that have followed, the Wachowskis’ The Matrix is truly a film of its own kind – one that has went on to define its own era and not without good reason. Blending the cyberpunk aesthetic with Hong Kong-inspired action set pieces, what the Wachowskis have managed to create was no ordinary action film but a film that stretches even beyond the set expectations for the genre. Yet its long-lasting appeal doesn’t ever feel limited, and it’s easy to see why because the Wachowskis also became a household name ever since this. It’s a film that bridges the gap between blockbuster cinema and philosophical cinema, from its weighty thematic content to the stunning action choreography and in the twenty years that have followed ever since it has only ever remained talked about in extensive detail. To take Morpheus’s own words, “The Matrix is everywhere” and for all I know its influence will only continue spreading because it still finds a way into the changing cultural landscape as if there were truly any other sign that the film has only aged like fine wine.

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The Bad Batch – Review

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Although I wasn’t so much a fan of Ana Lily Amirpour’s debut film A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night I had a great feeling from the style that she would only build up to become something more but from her second feature, The Bad Batch, I’ve only found myself growing increasingly cautious in approaching her future work now. For as much as I found myself able to admire A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night as a form of visual experimentation, there seemed to be something far more restrictive coming in regards to what The Bad Batchwas trying to do with its own narrative – for at its worst it either becomes needlessly disgusting or outright boring, yet at its best we have a charismatic performance or two. If anything felt more fitting in describing what The Bad Batch felt like, it was an exploitation film that seemed to overreach beyond what it really was at its core.

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To the Bone – Review

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To the Bone, another Netflix original film with Lily Collins (after Okja) presents yet another frustrating case on their own behalf. It’s easy enough for me to say that Netflix’s original features never have been particularly great ones at that, and after breaking away through Bong Joon-ho’s Okja, we’re left with Marti Noxon’s To the Bone. This semi-autobiographical portrait of anorexia makes clear its good intentions, but there’s a Hallmark-esque feeling it leaves behind that only leaves me feeling cold. Sure, it’s better made and better written than films that anything from said catalogue but at the same time it was also what I feared it would be, something that has an eating disorder placed in the center only to be sidelined in the name of a story that has already been told several times before. Suddenly, all my interest has faded away.

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The Neon Demon – Review

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Forethought has never been a good friend to some of my opinions on certain movies after a first impression and when I wish to talk about my thoughts on The Neon Demon, it probably is only fitting I admit that I have a particularly conflicted relationship with the films of Nicolas Winding Refn. I’ve fallen head over heels for Drive with the fact it turns its own visual style into a new form of storytelling and while I’ve liked many of his other works, something about his work felt missing and it was evident from a path he took starting with Only God Forgives and now The Neon Demon. Both films have understandably polarized audiences, but Refn purists got what they wanted and then some. For every intriguing moment that The Neon Demon presents also comes a fairly self-indulgent one that drives upon his own influences – among many of his tendencies that always struck me.

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John Wick: Chapter 2 – Review

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The first John Wick film was a nice surprise to find within the modern state of action films in Hollywood being dulled down by an overtly serious approach to their drama and with a directorial style that feels so aware of the sort of ridiculousness coming along the ride, it felt all the more joyful. John Wick: Chapter 2 is no different, however, for as a sequel it certainly is a perfectly adequate follow-up to a wonderful throwback to what we loved most when we watched action films. In some sense it does exactly what the first film already did but it still carries the appeal with such ease and provides only what could ever be most expected of this sort of experience, a pure definition of fun all around.

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John Wick – Review

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It’s nice to see an action film that acknowledges its own ridiculousness and uses said aspect to its own advantage come from Hollywood, given as it is a trait that made John Woo’s Hong Kong gun fu films so distinctive. In that sense it may be a perfect film but to blow off a good hour and forty minutes, one can go ahead and look no further than the fun that comes along the ride with Chad Stahelski and David Leitch’s John Wick, with Keanu Reeves at some of the most energetic he’s been with an action movie since the 1990’s in Speed and The Matrix. This sort of joy comes around like a video game inviting oneself to play along, and its awareness on that count makes for something undeniably fun.

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