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Military Wives

Military Wives has been tailor-made to be a crowd-pleaser.  The ingredients are there: the leading characters have an entertaining dynamic that plays on their opposite personalities, they lead a team of underdogs, nostalgic pop tunes are worshipped amongst the film’s kind-hearted humour, a strong patriotic backbone holds up a story that’s been loosely based on real events.  As much as it bugs me that the filmmakers believe they’ve cracked the code to pleasing general audiences…

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Emma

Audiences have been spoiled with unique period films – Whit Stillman’s Love & Friendship, Yorgos Lanthimos’ Oscar winner The Favourite, and Greta Gerwig’s take on Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.  We’ve been shown that these rustic movies can exist outside of a formula, which makes Autumn de Wilde’s Emma a bit of a retrograded step.  But, the conventional choices can be explained.

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The Roads Not Taken

Sometimes, a filmmaker will come up with a unique, unprecedented concept and turn it into a one-of-a-kind feature.  More often than not, however, the concept confounds the creative;  leading to a muddled mess that disappoints the viewer even more than the average bad effort.  Case in point: The Roads Not Taken.  It’s the latest film from once-celebrated English filmmaker Sally Potter, a woman who once managed to turn the perplexing Orlando into a film, which…

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Castle in the Ground

As the world struggles under this catastrophic pandemic, it seems prudent to remind us of another epidemic currently ravaging North America: the opioid epidemic.  Consequently, Joey Klein’s timely Castle in the Ground depicts a band of young people struggling with addiction amid the trauma of their personal lives.  While dramatically powerful and compellingly acted, the film has surprisingly little to say about the structural issues surrounding addiction and mental illness.

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Porno

There’s been some really interesting efforts from filmmakers merging horror, comedy, and sex.  There was Mitchell Lichtenstein’s Teeth, a movie that punished hormonal cravings with a violent medical disorder, and David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows, a more sobering film about when careless passivity meets vulnerability during intimacy.  Keola Racela’s Porno should be another ambitious example but, instead, it’s rather a raunchy B-movie that has more in common with Piranha 3D and Piranha 3DD – films that use the…

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Dolittle

Dolittle is a wildly incompetent movie showcasing a battle for the crown to be the film’s silliest performer.  So, who wins?  Well, I’m afraid, it’s a 20-way tie shared between scenery-chewing in-person performers and aloof voice actors.

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The Assistant

The Assistant is a faithful portrayal of workplace harassment. Drawing from her experience as a documentarian (Ukraine Is Not a Brothel), writer/director Kitty Green brings layers of realism which she channels well through her actors. I think Green’s vision is admirable, but I completely understand if audiences feel disregarded watching the movie.

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Robert the Bruce

Intended as a sequel, of sorts, to Braveheart, Robert the Bruce sees Angus MacFadyen (Braveheart, Alive) reprise his role as the titular Scottish king.  Unfortunately, this is one of those movies with all the right ingredients – but no spark.