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From Up on Poppy Hill

By: Addison Wylie Studio Ghibli proposes a challenge for themselves with their latest animated film From Up on Poppy Hill. The studio, which is known for its wild fantastical imagination displayed in such films as My Neighbour Totoro and The Secret World of Arrietty, decides to ditch the creatures and the animals. From Up on Poppy Hill is a coming of age story featuring a young romance that blossoms only for the two lovebirds to…

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Evil Dead

By: Addison Wylie Remaking Sam Raimi’s horror cult classic The Evil Dead comes with a price. Much like the film’s killer Book of the Dead, such a task has consequences. The Evil Dead set a bar for low-budget horror when it crept into theatres in 1981. Some claimed it was one of the scariest films ever made while others were too busy howling at the screen. It was a film that obviously left a mark…

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The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

By: Addison Wylie When director Don Scardino and his screenwriting duo Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley  are nailing punchlines and taking cracks at old magic vs. new magic, inflated egos, and stage show cheesiness, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone lifts off. Add the timing and delivery from Steve Carell and Jim Carrey – two comically trained actors – and the film is a delight to watch. However, Goldstein and Daley take a few screenwriting turns…

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Side Effects

By: Addison Wylie Steven Soderbergh’s alleged “last movie” Side Effects is one half murder mystery and another half docudrama about the pharmaceutical industry. It only truly excels at being one of these, but the film is interesting nonetheless from start to finish. Emily Taylor, an often distraught wife played by Rooney Mara, greets her hubby (played by Channing Tatum) after he’s been incarcerated for a lengthy prison term. Life is seemingly back to normal, but…

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21 & Over

By: Addison Wylie For a comedy about two buds who take their birthday boy pal on the night of his life filled with partying, copious amounts of booze, and flirtatious girls, I expected 21 & Over to be a somewhat obnoxious ride through unsupervised adolescence with some cheap shots that wouldn’t have the film feeling as if it was devoid of all laughs. I’m glad to report that my expectations were wrong. 21 & Over…

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The ABC’s of Death

By: Addison Wylie It’s almost inevitable to go into The ABC’s of Death with leery reservations. The anthology’s premise involves moviegoers sitting through 24 horror short films – each one involving a letter of the alphabet tying itself to the short’s climactic gruesome activity. One immediate question pops to mind upon hearing this pitch: are audience members going to be too distracted from watching the movie by counting down each letter of the alphabet? Will we…

Reviews

Dark Skies

By: Addison Wylie Dark Skies wants its moviegoers to leave slightly chilled, but, instead we leave feeling cold. As the credit crawl began and the lights dimmed back on, you could feel the waft from everyone’s shoulders shrugging as they huffed out of the theatre. The unenthused reaction isn’t because Dark Skies is a bad movie, but because we don’t like seeing something that had so much potential settle with being “just ok”. One would…

Reviews

Safe Haven

By: Addison Wylie It’s been only a couple of hours since my screening of the latest Nicholas Sparks movie adaptation, and I’m still having difficulty figuring out how to critique it without giving away any spoilers or crucial plot points. Safe Haven may not look like the type of movie that warrants a cautious review, but it’s a twisty film that can be uncovered by the simple slip of a certain character’s name. The first…

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The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure

“Do toddlers have standards for entertainment?” I found myself asking that a lot during The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure, as I was watching what the filmmakers behind the film thought they could serve to children. Judging by box office numbers, life-size colourful creatures jiggling around and trying to find magic balloons for a surprise party for their talking pillow proves kids do; as well as parents paying the price of admission. The film…

Reviews

The Ambassador

By: Addison Wylie It’s tricky to review The Ambassador, because no matter how many flaws I name, it’ll all seem like small potatoes for Danish journalist/filmmaker Mads Brügger. The doc follows Brügger as he pulls off an enormous and dangerous undercover endeavour – to pose as a Liberian diplomat in order to get his hands on blood diamonds from mines with illegal protocols. The documentary has an unbelievably risky premise and a compelling trailer, but…