The Revenant Review | A Storm of Unrelenting Severity

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One of the last movies I saw before the New Year was Justin Kurzel’s version of Macbeth. Up to that point, I had never seen something as beautifully crafted and haunting unfold on the screen. The use of music and lighting and color all worked together to heighten the performances of Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard in breathtaking ways. That movie left such an impression on me that, as I was walking in to see The Revenant, I tweeted that Macbeth would be my standard for this movie. I wanted to see if Leonardo DiCaprio’s latest theatrical endeavor could leave me as breathless as I was after Macbeth.

It was a tall order, an almost impossible expectation, but I wanted this movie to impress me — and impress me, it did.

As I sat in my seat, watching the end-credits roll, two words floated to the surface of my mind that perfectly summarize The Revenant:

Unrelenting severity.

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The Weight of Gravity

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Gravity is a movie I’ve wanted to write about for a long time. Rarely has a film left me on the edge of my seat as much as Alfonso Cuarón’s 2013 masterpiece, and few have come close to leaving such a profound impact on me — both personally, and how I now watch and process cinema. It’s quite the feat for a movie with such a simple premise — a man and woman get stranded in space — and one would think such a short runtime (91 minutes) would hinder plot development and character growth, but everything in this movie just clicks. From Cuarón’s direction, to Bullock’s and Clooney’s performances, and the incredible score by Steven Price, it all comes together to form a perfect, harrowing storm.

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Selma Review | A Reimagined Dream

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Having just returned home from the theatre after seeing Selma, my mind is a maelstrom of thought. My first reaction is that this film is a masterpiece of cinema and storytelling, and now I know why there is such an outcry about it being snubbed by the Academy. For starters, David Oyelowo gives an utterly captivating performance as Dr. King. Each time he delivered one of his (several) rousing speeches, the whole of my being rippled with goosebumps, and my core radiated heat from the fervor of his words. It felt like I was sitting in the same room as him, and more than once I almost clapped out loud with his on-screen audience. This man was born to play this role, and I truly believe that he should have been nominated for Best Leading Actor, and that he easily could have won that award.

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How to Train Your Dragon 2 Review | A New Class of DreamWorks Animation

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Someone once told me that animated films are for children. I tried to convince them otherwise, but they would not be swayed in their obstinately anti-animation opinion. That was several years ago, but the memory still clings to my mind because it left me feeling a profound sense of sorrow. Not because that person thought animated films were for children (some of them are very much geared toward a younger audience) and not because they didn’t like the movies I was referencing; no, the reason I felt, and still feel sorry for this person is because they willfully denied themselves the chance to experience one of the purest expressions of the human soul.

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Noah Review | Not Your Children’s Bible Story

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I went into the theater knowing full well that Aronofsky’s Noah was not going to be Biblically correct. Hollywood has a wonderful habit of taking creative liberties when it comes to adapting books or stories into movies, and Bible stories are no different. I also knew that this particular version of Noah was going to incorporate the mythical Watchers (aka fallen angels) from the non-canonical Books of Enoch, so I was prepared for some rather large deviations from the Genesis tale.

Honestly, I’ve never experienced a film that has so deeply and viscerally impacted me as Noah.

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Skyfall Review | Dial M for Bond

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“This is the end.”

In a fantastic opening sequence, these deceptive first four words of Adele’s poignant theme for Skyfall set the stage for one of the most thrilling Bond movies of all time. But is it the best? Certainly everything that’s needed for a good Bond movie is present – action, explosions, guns, girls, an evil villain – but is it really all enough to take the crown as the best Bond movie ever made?

Not quite.

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The Dark Knight Rises Review | Batman Perfected

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This is the film we’ve been waiting for since 2008. The film that ends Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. The final Batman movie. The superhero film we both need and deserve. The Dark Knight has risen, and my mind has been shattered. I don’t think any comic book/superhero movie has dared to do as much – and succeed – as TDKR does, and I honestly believe that, had anyone besides Christopher Nolan and his team handled the film, it would have crashed and burned.

As I was sitting in the theatre, watching this final chapter in glorious IMAX, I couldn’t believe how well Nolan handled this film. Everything about this film works. The story, the casting, the acting, the action, the script, the music, the vision – everything works together, and not once did I find myself wishing the film had done something different, wishing that it had gone in a different direction.

Essentially, The Dark Knight Rises is Batman perfected.

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Pixar’s Brave Review | A Gorgeous Tale Without a Heart

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“If you could change your fate, would you?”

This tagline was marketed fiercely by Pixar as their latest creative gemstone, Brave, drew closer and closer to its summer release. But now that the movie is out, and audiences are ready for the next Pixar film, one must ask – does Brave hit the target, or does it miss the mark?

Being a lifetime Pixar fan (I remember when Toy Story first came out, and I’ve seen every Pixar film since), I had been anxiously awaiting the release of this film. After the Pixar’s last outing (the disappointing Cars 2) I was ready for something new and fresh, and Brave looked to be exactly that. The main character is striking, the setting fantastical, and promises of magic and adventure abound. Despite a rather fierce marketing campaign, though, audiences have largely been left in the dark as to what Brave is actually about (a standard Pixar procedure, as any fan could tell you). All I knew going in was that the main character is a girl – the first for a Pixar film – that it’s set in mythical Scotland, and the graphics are mind-blowing. And while all three of those facts are true, Brave is not the adventure I was hoping for.

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The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Review | A Different Kind of Disturbing

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It’s not often that a movie comes along and takes your breath away and refuses to let you breathe. You know the kind of movie I’m talking about. The ones where it demands your complete and undivided attention, commanding you to sit on the edge of your seat, utterly transfixed with what’s happening on the screen. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is that kind of movie, and there are really only two words that can sum up the entirety of this film.

Holy.
Shit.

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Marvel’s The Avengers Movie Review | Earth’s Mightiest Comic Book Film

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Starting with the film debut of Iron Man in 2008, Marvel fans have watched their beloved Avengers come to life one-by-one in cinemas across the globe. And while some did not fare as well as others, all were accepted with the promise that fans would get to see these heroes unite on one screen for an unprecedented superhero mash-up.

That movie is The Avengers.

And it is insane.

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