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film Reviews

‘Pearl’ REVIEW: Mia Goth Astonishes in This Riveting, Technicolor-Inspired ‘X’ Prequel

This review is part of my coverage of TIFF ’22, which held Pearl’s North American premiere.

Director Ti West has performed an interesting feat. Right after filming X, he had filmed Pearl, a prequel to it right afterwards, in secret. This makes for a well thought out, exciting prequel with a strong connective tissue between it and X. Dark, disturbing, and a ton of fun, Pearl is a surreal film that is as good as X, and yet manages to be something completely different, serving as an excellent origin story of the villain in X.

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film Reviews Streaming

‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’ Review: A Fun, Exciting Whodunnit That Improves Upon the Original in Every Way

This review is part of my coverage of TIFF ’22, which held Glass Onion’s world premiere.

Writer/Director Rian Johnson perfected the whodunnit mystery genre in Knives Out, one of my favourite films of 2019. While it could have very easily been a rehash of the first film, Glass Onion once again breathes new life into this genre with a completely new cast, a new mystery to solve, and a familiar central character whose exciting return appears to be building him up as the modern-day Sherlock Holmes.

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film Reviews

‘The Inspection’ REVIEW: A Poignant, Autobiographical Story With an Effective Message

This review is part of my coverage of TIFF ’22. I attended this film’s world premiere on September 8th.

The Inspection is a film that is actually based on the filmmaker’s life. It’s not autobiographical per-se, there is an element of fiction here, but the end result is still a powerful, meaningful, and intense film that will hold a very special place in many peoples’ hearts, especially those who are queer and whose families may not be accepting of them.

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film Reviews

‘Weird: The Al Yankovic Story’ REVIEW: As Delightfully Absurd as His Music

This review is the first in my coverage of TIFF ’22, with a bunch of films that I have planned to review. This film kicked off the festival’s Midnight Madness program with its world premiere. I feel lucky and honoured to be among the first in the world to review this film.

In an industry where the biopic genre is all the rage, Weird: The Al Yankovic Story is unique in its own right. Inspired by a “trailer” for a Weird Al biopic that went viral back in 2010, it has been completely fleshed out into a feature length masterclass of silliness, taking every possible biopic trope and ripping them apart. Needless to say, the film is as insane as the titular musician who co-wrote it. And I mean that as the best possible compliment I can give. This film is for people who hate the biopic genre and/or love Weird Al. I’ve been a Weird Al fan since I was a kid, so I adored this movie.

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animation film Opinion Reviews Streaming

‘Raya and the Last Dragon’ Film Review (SPOILER-FREE): A Shockingly By-the-Numbers Disappointment from Disney

It’s no secret that over the past decade, Disney has been in a “revival” era. With masterpieces like Zootopia, Princess and the Frog, and Wreck-it Ralph, along with other astonishing efforts like Tangled, Moana, and Big Hero 6, Disney has been knocking it out of the park. However, Disney Animation has been in a little bit of a slump since, I’d say, 2018. Ralph Breaks the Internet was a perfectly serviceable sequel, but was a notch below the original and took its meta humour to some questionable places. And Frozen 2… don’t get me started on Frozen 2. And I’m sorry to say that Raya and the Last Dragon is not much different. It’s not as good as Ralph Breaks the Internet, but almost as disappointing and lacking as Frozen 2. It’s still better, but not by a lot. Raya and the Last Dragon, while it has stellar animation and world-building and exhilarating action scenes, is a lacklustre Disney Animation effort that could have been so much more had it not fallen into the Disney Princess story trap, and had not featured such bland and uninspired writing.

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animation Blu-Ray film Reviews

‘Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume 2’ Blu-Ray Review

The following review is dedicated to my beloved Grandmother, Corinne Hurwitz, who sadly passed away recently. Her and I shared a particular adoration for the MGM musicals, the same company which produced the cartoons I am going to be talking about today.

Oh boy… Here it is! My review of what is perhaps one of the most divisive Blu-Ray releases I have ever seen. The Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume 2 collection is one that has been anticipated by many in the animation and collecting communities. I will of course go over the so-called “controversy” this Blu-Ray has garnered, but I will also say that I adore this collection about as much as I adored the first one. The cartoons selected are all consistently gut-bustingly funny, and I’ve seen some that are now new favourites of mine. And yes, they also look great.

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animation Blu-Ray film Reviews

‘Bugs Bunny 80th Anniversary Collection’ Blu-Ray Review

Happy birthday, Bugsy boy! I was quite surprised to see that last year marked Bugs Bunny’s 80th birthday, but I was even more pleasantly surprised by this more-than-adequate retrospective of his life thus far. While this collection certainly takes no risks in its content, there are 40 cartoons on this set out of the 60 overall that have either never been released on home media before or that never got a proper home media restoration. Cartoons that were given an improper home media restoration in the past were presented with either a lot of quirks, cut content, or even the wrong aspect ratio. Yes, these cartoons are fully restored to their original glory, in stunning HD, and I was very pleased with the results.

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film Reviews

‘Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker’ Spoiler-Free Review: This Finale Falls Flat, Despite Having All the Right Pieces

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker marks the end of the 9-film Skywalker Saga, and after Rian Johnson’s disastrous The Last Jedi, fans were really hoping this would be the film that redeemed this new trilogy and ended it on a high note. To put it simply, it did not. Instead, the trilogy ends being the same thing it has been the whole time: a jumbled mess with no direction on where to go.

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animation film Reviews

‘Frozen II’ Review: A Safe, Disappointing Sequel to an Overrated Franchise

I remember the lead-up to the release of the original Frozen. It’s always an exciting event when Disney releases another musical fairy tale film. It was a Disney musical, not unlike Tangled which came out just a few years prior, but apparently, Disney did not have high hopes for it. But after a great team putting everything they can into the film and a strong marketing campaign, it released back in 2013, and I remember enjoying it. Then it made over $1 billion and everyone couldn’t shut up about it. Short film after short film came afterward, including one 22-minute long short that was released in theatres before Coco. That, to me, crossed the line. Anyways, as the film became more and more of a phenomenon, the franchise grew stale really quick, and I felt a sense of resentment towards the franchise, rather than one of fondness. But what does this rambling have to do with the sequel, Frozen II? Well, I suppose one tiny shred of me thought that this film could redeem the whole franchise, take a risk and go the distance to make something incredible. I came into the theatre with low expectations, and still left disappointed at how safe and, honestly, lazy this movie felt.

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animation film Reviews TV

Disney+ Review: More of the Same So Far, No Surprises Yet, Still a Great Streaming Service

I have been anticipating Disney+ for months. Upon learning that the entirety of the Disney Animation and Pixar libraries will be available for streaming, how can an aficionado like me not be excited? Now that it’s out, while I’m enjoying it a lot, it didn’t surprise or wow me like streaming services like Netflix have over and over again. It’s still early days, but I think that the launch should have given us more. More specifically, more original content and a more expansive and diverse library of previously released film and TV.