doctor-strange-sanctum-sanctorum-battle featured review 

DOCTOR STRANGE – Mad Worlds

Marvel Studios is on a roll. 14 films into their box office domination, they have this down to a science. Condemn them all you want for a predictable blend of colorful action, quippy humor, and lovable, flawed characters; they know the exact type of crowd-pleasing films they’re aiming for and reliably hit that mark. Doctor Strange is no exception to this pattern. Its hero’s journey is predictable, even if the details are unique. Its action is spectacular and fresh, even if the outcome feels preordained. Speaking of that action,¬†Doctor Strange‘s…

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Pete's Dragon - Elliot found a stick featured review 

PETE’S DRAGON (2016) – I Won’t Be Your Candle on the Water

Pete’s Dragon is a tremendous disappointment – not because it’s bad, mind you – it’s a very functional movie – but because it has all the impact power of a whiffle bat, and it had all the elements it needed to be better. So much about this film goes right. Like a good remake should, it takes the basic premise of the 1977 original and gives it a unique and thoughtful twist. Forgoing any callback imagery, it avoids cheap nostalgia buttons to act as its own thing. This version follows…

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New Brother in The Secret Life of Pets review 

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS – Bringing the Looney Back to Tunes

There was a time, not so long ago, when cartoons were just expected to make us laugh. Maybe a feature would have an exciting adventure, or a lesson about togetherness – y’know… family friendly stuff. But as long as it was a hoot to watch it was fulfilling its animated destiny. Then Pixar came along and ruined it for everyone. Their films had all of those qualities, plus human themes that nearly always brought us to tears. With a light touch, Pixar made us rethink what it meant to be…

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Suicide Squad Team Protection featured review 

SUICIDE SQUAD – The Heroes We Deserve?

Suicide Squad‘s got 99 problems, but its opening box office ain’t one of them. The movie has been out less than a week and it’s already blown away Guardians of the Galaxy‘s previous record of Best August Opening Ever. But Squad isn’t as good as Guardians. Not even close. So what’s happening here? You could say that Guardians paved the way. Squad‘s marketing is certainly derivative of that film’s, with its classic pop, criminal anti-heroes, and overall sense of fun. Deadpool‘s success also likely created an immediate audience for humorous,…

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Star Trek Beyond Crew review 

STAR TREK BEYOND – Boldly Going To All the Right Places

Star Trek Beyond is everything it should be. It’s a film about discovery, teamwork, hope, and the miracles and dangers of scientific achievement – a lot of the elements that were sidelined when J.J. Abrams rebooted the series. Beyond not only returns focus to these principle tenets of Star Trek, it’s also able to maintain the humor and excitement that made Abrams’ chapters such crowd pleasers. Simply put – It’s the best of both worlds. This isn’t to say that the film is a flawless masterpiece. Its editing and VFX…

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Watching Plan 9 From Outer Space in 3D 101 

MORE THAN A GIMMICK – The Art of 3D Filmmaking

I’m in a unique position as a film blogger and critic when it comes to discussing the art of 3D. I worked in stereo conversion (the 3Difycation of 2D movies) for three years as a production coordinator. During that time I talked regularly and in depth (get it?), with some of the best 3D artists in the business. It was my job to know when and why a shot had problems, and help organize the team who could come up with solutions. As always in film¬†production, there was a tight…

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Up - Russel's Missing Assisting the Elderly Badge top 25 

UP – “We Don’t Need No Stinking Badges”

[Full spoilers for Up follow]

[For the love of God, if you haven’t seen Up, please go watch it right now]

Pixar’s UP (2009) is one of my favorite films of all time. A masterpiece of smart storytelling decisions amount to what may be one of the most dense and tightly paced narratives in existence. Within 96 minutes the film effortlessly blends comedy, tragedy, adventure, and one of the most meaningful examinations of the human condition yet committed to celluloid. And in a format accessible to all ages! In its first 11 minutes, Up exhibits a more thoughtful, true, and heartbreaking love story than most films manage in their entire runtimes. It has to, because while Up is a film about Love, it’s equally about Loss. While these elements to the film are in the text, they’re also supported by an incredibly deep, yet seemingly effortless symbolism that perfectly represents the effect of loss on human Identity.

Up is all about badges.

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BB-8 rolling review 

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS – Revisiting and Remixing a Galaxy Far Far Away…

J.J Abrams had his work cut out for him. By design, Star Wars: The Force Awakens demands to be judged by more criteria than most movies, yet how well it stands on its own is, surprisingly, least relevant of them. The film juggles the many responsibilities of being a remix/reboot emphasizing the most beloved elements of the classic trilogy, a clean jumping-on point for a new and expanding global audience, and a satisfying new chapter in an expanding saga (or at least better than the shitty prequels), 

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Ant-Man running with ants review 

ANT-MAN – A Little Adventure With Big Heart

Fear not, Marvel aficionados. Ant-Man is just as fun, and awesome, and weird, as you have hoped! Is it as perfect a blend of high-adventure and comedy as Edgar Wright would have done? … No. Not quite. But Peyton Reed does an admirable job with the material, working with a hero who’s both hilarious, and hilariously awesome. The movie starts out a tad uneven, with some flat jokes and awkward interactions, but finds its footing by the second act, and soars once the action picks up.

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Riley's+emotions+viewing+a+memory review 

INSIDE OUT – Pixar Delves Deeper

INSIDE OUT is one of Pixar’s finest films, and there is little higher praise I could give a film than that. Though I still prefer UP for its deep symbolism and mature message, and the Toy Stories have a more iconic cast, I believe that the argument could be made that INSIDE OUT is Pixar’s most meaningful and skillfully crafted film yet. It approaches a premise and message as convoluted and complex as the human mind, and somehow, effortlessly streamlines it into a narrative so simple and human that any…

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