‘Dark Phoenix’ Review: A Sour Final Note for the X-Men Series

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Following Hugh Jackman’s final tenure as the Wolverine in Logan, the X-Men series finally comes to its own end by directly adapting the Dark Phoenix Saga – if the title wouldn’t already give that away. But even as a story of this sort would have had so much potential given what the X-Men have always stood for in their long run on the big screen, Dark Phoenix doesn’t even feel engaged with its own story to feel like there’s any sense of closure coming about. It doesn’t even feel like it was made to be a proper ending to this series with Disney having acquired Fox as a means of getting the rights to include the X-Men into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For his directorial debut, it doesn’t even seem Simon Kinberg was even prepared to give this an ending and thus he tried to make Dark Phoenix too many things all at once but there was never a point in time when it ever felt like it were on its way to adding up properly. It doesn’t have anything to answer now that it’s all come to a finish, but it’s not quite the disaster it could have been with all the constant reshoots pushing the film back over and over again.

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12 Years a Slave, a Harrowing Confrontation of America’s Past Mistakes and One of Humanity’s Greatest Tragedies: Review

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Steve McQueen’s third feature film sees the British filmmaker returning back to the roots of adapting history to the screen, but much like Hunger, he only ever remains so uneasy yet his perspective can only make clearer what it really felt like to suffer at the hands of slavery in America. It’s one thing to note the very willingness that Steve McQueen has when it comes to bringing these stories to the big screen for as difficult as they may end up being, but as uncompromising his approach may be, his choice not to hold back already feels eye-opening. From watching 12 Years a Slave you’re made to see the very hell that Solomon Northup had been made to live through in a world that only tried to establish him as being of a lesser kind; but McQueen leaves you wondering the very extent to which we truly have moved further as a species. It’s one among many things that solidifies why Steve McQueen is among the best working filmmakers, but even at showing the most difficult atrocities that one can be made to endure there’s an incredible sense of empathy that his approach evokes that makes 12 Years a Slave a powerful experience.

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Shame is One of the Most Difficult Addiction Dramas Ever Made: Review

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As far as addiction dramas can go, Shame may play itself out in a straightforward manner but McQueen never holds back with showing the effects of such upon one’s one life. In this particular case, he focuses on the sex addiction of a New Yorker, whose life functions much like that of any other person you may know, but there is always a present sense of self-destruction here. As a follow-up to McQueen’s often difficult debut film Hunger, what Shame shows is another journey that still remains every bit as emotionally draining an experience – one that reflects a struggle that can only ruin your life all the more. Yet what makes McQueen’s vision ever so fascinating comes right from how he explores what provokes the very worst in these habits before they manifest themselves into something dangerous. If there’s anything else that makes McQueen’s film so beautifully resonant, it doesn’t limit itself only to being about sex addiction, but also about a sense of disconnect that continuously breaks people apart from one another – something that’ll only remain all the more prevalent in the days passing.

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Steve McQueen’s Hunger is One of the Most Impressive Debut Films of the 2000’s: Review

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Of the many impressive directorial debuts to come out within the 2000’s, there’s not quite another one much like British filmmaker Steve McQueen’s own Hunger. A film like Hunger is the sort that is so hard to even see as a first effort, because it’s also a film whose subject would be so difficult to capture so seamlessly in a directorial debut. But the very roots of Steve McQueen’s best tendencies as a director already feel so fully formed, whether it be the visible anger that you feel in the film’s more quiet moments or the long shots lingering upon every small detail of what its characters feel, everything flows far too perfectly in Hunger. But if there’s anything that keeps Hunger within one’s head, it would also have to be the manner to which its own political commentary has retained its relevance in a modern world, despite our means of convincing ourselves that we truly have moved past mistakes that are inevitably going to be repeated. It is a film that feels every bit as painful as its subject matter would sound, but there is never a moment in which Steve McQueen ever lets go of how visceral it feels to be within that very setting by creating a world of pure upset.

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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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The Snowman – Review

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I’m still baffled how a product like The Snowman ended up becoming as ravaged as it is despite the amount of esteem that its crew seems to have, whether it be the fact that Martin Scorsese was an executive producer who was signed on to direct, to have Tomas Alfredson take over. I would only have expected that from the fact Tomas Alfredson had directed the excellent Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy he would only have transitioned rather smoothly when directing another mystery film of a smaller scope with The Snowman, but clearly something had gone wrong. If I were to get something out of the way, The Snowman as it is does not work, but it isn’t wholly bad – rather just a film whose potential is evident but never expressed properly. So how exactly do you pinpoint where everything went wrong with The Snowman?

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Song to Song – Review

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I feel almost at a point where I’ve reached “peak Malick” in which I don’t enjoy his recent output as much as I know some of his most dedicated fans do. I’ve already found myself struggling to connect with To the Wonder and perhaps my own personal feelings about this style got in the way with my own experience of Knight of Cups, but I feel like it has become so difficult to even immerse with Malick anymore. These were among many fears that I had with Song to Song, being another film that takes upon this fractured narrative, but to my own surprise (and eventual delight), I found myself liking this style once again. Regardless of my feelings about how Malick has found himself playing out for me, I’ve always been able to appreciate him as a distinctive experimenter and Song to Song not only signifies my growing respect for his work, but it’s also the first of his I’ve found myself able to say I liked since The Tree of Life. Continue reading →

Prometheus – Review

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Ever since James Cameron laid his name on the Alien franchise with his more action-oriented sequel, Aliens, I’ve only grown less fond of the direction that the series has moved for. The very idea behind Alien was always one that I enjoyed most when it was confined, and although a fantastic sequel in itself, Aliens was also home to what would eventually become one of the biggest problems with the Alien franchise as a whole: the universe ended up becoming far too big for its own good. With Prometheus it feels nice that Ridley Scott wants to return the franchise back to the roots of where it all had begun, yet it still suffers what’s plagued the universe ever since Aliens had come along. The success of the original Alien was clear from how little we knew about how the creature worked before it started killing off its victims, but as more films come by, said approach has become worn out and lost.

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Alien: Covenant – Review

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For as many films as the Alien franchise has managed to spawn, only Ridley Scott’s original film has maintained where it was at its very best. That’s not to say James Cameron’s Aliens isn’t fantastic in its own right, but it sets up what’s brought the franchise down as more films had come along: the whole universe ended up becoming far too big for its own good and thus it began to progress far too much like a video game. Now with Ridley Scott’s prequels coming along, we have Prometheus only being as broad as ever and adding to this problem even with my own enjoyment of it, so that’s where my skepticism for Alien: Covenant had rose higher. But I wasn’t merely disappointed with Alien: Covenant, I was so frustrated with what it wanted to be, even to that point it managed to leave a rather bitter taste in my own mouth by the time it was over, because of what it wanted to be all at once, and overall, how little I ended up caring for the final product.

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Inglourious Basterds – Review

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Quentin Tarantino’s movies always have had a delightful knack when it comes to their writing and callings towards older films but if Pulp Fiction were not proof enough that both can add perfectly to create something that feels so fresh, there comes Inglourious Basterds jumping at greater reach. Of the many films that Quentin Tarantino has made over the years, two films remain to be the ones that contain everything that show his own cinematic fascinations at their very most: Pulp Fiction and Inglourious Basterds. A certain power under Tarantino’s eyes is exhibited at some of its fullest in Inglourious Basterds – the very most he’s managed to achieve since his sophomore feature.

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