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PATRICK (2018) review

February 15, 2019

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written by: Vanessa Davies, Mandie Fletcher and Paul de Vos
produced by: Vanessa Davies, Paul de Vos, Sue Latimer & James Spring
directed by: Mandie Fletcher
rated: not rated
runtime: 94 min.
U.S. release date: February 9, 2019 and February 15, 2019 (limited)

 

Within the first ten minutes of “Patrick”, we learn through a breathless string of complaints that the main character of the film, thirtysomething Sarah Francis (Beattie Edmondson), does not like dogs – later on, she even shares that she “hates” dogs. Beyond the fact that such pronouncements are inconceivable, that initial admittance becomes the most obvious foreboding line in a film in which we already know that it revolves around a relationship between her character and the adorable titular pug the movie is named after. So, if you guess that she’ll eventually come to love this dog, well that just means this isn’t the first time you’ve seen a movie.  Read more…

THE MAN WHO KILLED HITLER AND THEN THE BIGFOOT (2018) review

February 8, 2019

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written by: Robert D. Krzykowski
produced by: Robert D. Krzykowski, Patrick Ewald and Shaked Berenson
directed by: Robert D. Krzykowski
rated: not rated
runtime: 98 min.
U.S. release date: July 20, 2018 (Fantasia Fest) and February 8, 2019 (limited, AMC Woodridge, Digital HD & VOD)

 

You’d never know from the attention-grabbing title that there’s a love story at the heart of “The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot”, but that’s what lingers long after viewing. Don’t worry, you’ll get what you came for – there is a man who does indeed kill both of those iconic figures – but after you scratch your head or chuckle at the title, you’ll be glad there’s more going on here than those two kills. At this point, the draw of watching Sam Elliott in anything will catch my attention and what transpires here, especially the titular events, isn’t nearly as fascinating as what takes place between those notable kills with Elliott. While it may not deliver the outlandish scenario that writer/director Robert D. Krzykowski is selling, at least it offers a somber look at pain and regret as portrayed by an actor everyone loves. Read more…

POLICE STORY/POLICE STORY 2 (1985/1988) review

February 6, 2019

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written by: Jackie Chan and Edward Tang
produced by: Raymond Chow and Leonard Ho
directed by: Jackie Chan
rated: PG-13 (for violence, brief sexual humor and drug content)
runtime: 92 min. & 122 min.
U.S. release date: December 14, 1985 & August 20, 1988 and February 1-7, 2019 (4K rerelease, Music Box Theatre, Chicago, IL)

 

There is a whole generation of moviegoers who were first introduced to Jackie Chan when “Rush Hour” came out back in 1998. That’s understandable, since every movie can be someones first introduction to a famous movie star. Considering Chan has been in over 150 movies since the 1960s, it really doesn’t matter where you start in the career of the insanely skilled martial artist’s career, but to get a real appreciation for why Jackie Chan is Jackie Chan, it’s highly advisable to check out the movies he directed and starred in and a good place to start is the first two movies in the hugely popular “Police Story” movies. These action flicks from the 80s may have been released three years apart, but watching them back-to-back you get the ideal and complete viewing experience. Read more…

THE STANDOFF AT SPARROW CREEK (2018) review

January 31, 2019

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written by: Henry Dunham
produced by: Johnathan Brownlee, Adam Donaghey, Sefton Fincham, Amanda Presmyk & Dallas Sonnier
directed by: Henry Dunham
rating: unrated
runtime: 88 min.
U.S. release date: January 18, 2019 (AMC Woodridge, YouTube, Google Play, Amazon & VOD)

 

It’s a real shame that Henry Dunham’s directorial debut “The Standoff at Sparrow Creek” is getting such an under-the-radar release at a time when the focus is on awards season and not so much on new, original films, especially ones that get dropped in a clandestine manner on various streaming platforms. While the film was received well when it premiered at last fall’s Toronto International Film Festival, releasing it in the middle of January is the same as not even giving it a chance. It’s hard enough for a film to get traction in the current release environment, but  when the film festival run is short-lived and the marketing is paper thin, films like this one have very little chance of making a blip on a viewer’s radar. This is an atmospheric and enthralling thriller which deserves an audience and I’m glad I watched it. Read more…

THE FAVOURITE (2018) review

January 28, 2019

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written by: Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara
produced by: Ceci Dempsey, Ed Guiney, Lee Magiday & Yorgos Lanthimos
directed by: Yorgos Lanthimos
rated: R (for strong sexual content, nudity and language)
runtime: 120 min.
U.S. release date: November 23, 2018

 

The trio of towering performances at the centre of Yorgos Lanthimos’ comedic period drama are enough to make the film compelling on their own, but it’s the sizzling script by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara that elevates The Favourite to one of the year’s best films. This marks Lanthimos’ first foray into directing a script he didn’t also write, and it’s ample proof he can bring his visual and tonal sensibilities to someone else’s ideas. “The Favourite” is, as a result, Lanthimos’ most accessible work, without the social experimentation of films like “Dogtooth” and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” but as funny as The Lobster. This film has some of the most effective one-line takedowns I’ve heard in ages. Read more…

GREEN BOOK (20198) review

January 28, 2019

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written by: Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie and Peter Farrelly
produced by: Jim Burke, Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga
& Charles B. Wessler
directed by: Peter Farrelly
rated: PG-13 (for thematic content, language including racial epithets, smoking, some violence and suggestive material)
runtime: 130 min.
U.S. release date: November 6, 2018

 

It’s easy to understand why Green Book has found an audience. It’s the kind of crowd-pleaser that’s bombastic, feel-good, and pretends to tackle complicated subject matter in a way that doesn’t demand much of the viewer. It’s less easy to see why it’s found an audience in 2018 when the movie’s racial politics feel like they’re coming from the early 90s. Read more…

SERENITY (2019) review

January 27, 2019

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written by: Steven Knight
produced by: Guy Heeley, Steven Knight, Greg Shapiro
directed by: Steven Knight
rated: R (for language throughout, sexual content, and some bloody images)
runtime: 106 min.
U.S. release date: January 25, 2019

 

“I’m not begging you Baker Dill, I’m just telling you when life offers you an opportunity like this, you have to take it.”

 

Sorry bad movie lovers, 2019 doesn’t have its front-runner quite yet in “Serenity”, a mostly wasted opportunity to do anything interesting with a mildly intriguing neo-noir. What little faith one may put in a film starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway in the year 2019 is eroded by one of the strangest plot twists in recent memory. Read more…