Magic in the Moonlight

Magic in the Moonlight

Woody Allen’s most charming film since “Midnight in Paris”. Set in the stunning south of France during the 1930’s, Colin Firth and Emma Stone share an endearing, if chaste, chemistry reminiscent of My Fair Lady’s Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn.

8/10

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Where the devil are my slippers?

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Chef

Chef

It’s a “foodie” movie, first and foremost, from haute, to hot cuban, cuisine. The performances are strong enough to cut through the literal cheese. 

The prominence of twitter will eventually make the movie feel dated, hopefully.

7/10

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Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie

Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie

Hundreds of AVGN fans lined up around the block (making it a literal Blockbuster) to see the Canadian premiere of Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie at The Royal theatre in Toronto. Co-writer/director Kevin Finn was on hand to meet fans and partake in a Q&A session afterwards.

An action-packed blockbuster, with giant set pieces and an epic musical score, is not what comes to mind when you think of a low-budget, independent film. Herein lies the magic of James Rolfe’s Cinemasscre, a “get er’ done” production company and philosophy that pushes the limits of what can be accomplished without the backing of a big name studio. Part of the fun here is peeking behind the curtain to see practical special effects, which include miniature models, robots and iconic on-location sets.

The movie is a marriage of Rolfe’s filmmaking aspirations and his popular Nerd series, with the latter used as a platform to reach a global audience. Brace yourself, even the most over-the-top AVGN episodes do not compare with the scope and scale of this epic geekgasm extravaganza. If Universal Studios adapted the series as a motion simulator ride, it would look a lot like this movie, and would not be suitable for pregnant women or those with a heart condition.

It’s difficult to say anything critical when the film achieves so much with so many restrictions, but the production is not without flaws. There are too many counts of extras smiling when they are supposed to be fleeing in terror. While the scenarios are laughable to us in the audience, the humour would only be enhanced by the conviction of the actors. Actors Jeremy Suarez and Sarah Glendening who play Cooper and Mandi, respectively, do a fine job but their characters are not nearly as endearing as the many depicted by Mike Matei and Kevin Finn in the web series.  One last minor nitpick is that the trailer, while awesome, reveals far too much and gives away many of the best lines and special effects. In the unlikely instance that you are an AVGN fan who has also not seen the trailer, do yourself a favour and skip it until after you have seen the film.

Those familiar with the AVGN universe will rejoice in the many cameos by past guest characters, that I won’t spoil here.

This film is a valentine to AVGN fans worldwide. It’s low on budget but high on talent.

7/10

Watch the video review on youtube.

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We got soda, OJ, purple stuff…Hey Sunny D!

Myself and the impish Kevin Finn.

Myself and the impish Kevin Finn.

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The Expendables 3

The Expendables 3

The main draw of the Expendables series thus far has been the all-star, who’s who, cast of action hero icons from the 80’s. It pulls no punches about being a testosterone driven, dick-flick with a target audience and does what it sets out to do very well, with plenty of action and laughs. 

It’s a wonder, then, why so much time is devoted to establishing the young, fresh-faced generation of members, none of whom are big name actors and none of whom add anything to the film. The worst offender being Luna, played by Ronda Rousey, whose primary character traits are her gender and her misandrist attitude. Stalone is a strong writer but this “chick who can hold her own” trope is dated and out of place. 

Here’s how to write a decent female role, in 3 easy steps.

Step 1: Write a role for a male.

Step 2: Cast a female.

Step 3: Adjust pronouns and gender specific situations wherever necessary. 

That being said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having an entirely male cast. Bring on the explosions, the catch phrase drops and the superstar cameos! 

It’s fun, but this entry into the franchise is, well, expendable. 

6/10

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

It’s not without its’ share of flaws, but it doesn’t do any major disservice to the franchise.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is easily the best turtles movie since the original 1990 theatrical release. It is a blast of nostalgia that captures the original spirit of the show better than any other recent incarnations. 

This is a great action-comedy, intended for an audience that includes children. The clichés are on par with older Bond films, but there’s a delightful innocence in that. This isn’t trying to be a grown-up, dark and gritty Turtles movie. 

I look forward to the inevitable sequels. 

6.5/10

imagesDonatello- still my favourite turtle!

Lucy

Lucy

This film will prompt deep philosophical questions, such as:

How much bullshit science is permissible in the realm of science fiction before it becomes an offensive propagation of false information?

Let’s set aside for a moment that the entire premise of this film, that we only use 10% of our brains, will be absurd to anyone with a basic comprehension of neuroscience; it is a fictitious scenario that is the basis for the entire plot, fine. Why then, is every other scientific, historical, biological, even geological reference, non essential to the plot, glaringly incorrect?

I suppose I am being a nerd here, but it’s ironic how a movie about using more of ones’ brain requires the audience to use so little of theirs. This would be forgiveable if the movie was entertaining, but it was not.

Morgan Freeman plays Morgan Freeman and Scarlett Johansson wastes her time and talent.

4.5/10

Scarlett Johansson with her casting agents.

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See Instead: Under the Skin, of course.