Movie Review: 99 HOMES – compelling drama told within the recent global meltdown, featuring standout performances by Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon

There’s a scene in The Big Short where three of the protagonists fly to Florida to see for themselves just how quickly the housing market is approaching critical mass, and when they get there and cagily discuss the situation with two clueless douchebro real estate investors, they leave convinced that all the projections they’ve been privy to are actually on the level.  It’s one of the best scenes in the movie, and in a weird way, it reminded me of movies where a team of biologists try to track down the source of a disease outbreak.  Considering how the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market triggered a global meltdown, the disease analogy seems pretty apt.

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Movie Review: TRAINSPOTTING 2 – good, but uneven sequel that favours sentimentality over the anarchic spirit of the original.

At least once in our lives we’ll be stricken with a certain trepidation about how the present matches up with memories of the past.  It can be an old flame that’s been rekindled over years; the reunion of a favourite band, the comeback of a sports idol, an attempt of ours to somehow recapture past glories, to see if we still have it.  Sometimes lightning can strike again, but more often than not we’re vaguely unsatisfied by version 2.0, and we begin to doubt ourselves.  Was the original time around really that good?  Are those memories seen through the rose coloured lenses of nostalgia?  There’s only one way to find out, though.

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Movie Review: THE GIFT – Joel Edgerton’s one man show can’t escape familiarity, but is still twisty and suspensful

I don’t exactly recall why I didn’t want to watch The Gift theatrically, but there were a few reasons; the trailer was too formula – it reminded me a little too much of Lakeview Terrace, that Sam Jackson movie where he terrorizes his neighbours, which I did watch and found it to be a bit of a potboiler.  The Gift, then, was guilty by association.  Jason Bateman isn’t a particularly noteworthy actor – I’ve seen a couple of his movies, and he’s okaaaay, but I always think of him as Justine Bateman’s brother.  Then there was Joel Edgerton, who’s never really struck me as an actor whose work I have to rush to see – when I have watched him, he just feels like a background character, not someone overly interesting, or possessed of any great technique.  Three strikes, as they say.

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Movie Review: THE WHOLE TRUTH – a mostly uninteresting courtroom drama with a twist! Unfortunately, that’s not so interesting either.

The Whole Truth is a curiosity to me, I have to say.  The courtroom drama, which stars Keanu Reeves (John Wick, The Matrix), Jim Belushi, Renee Zellweger, Gabriel Basso, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Dr. Who, and the San Junipero episode of Black Mirror, season 3), was directed by Courtney Hunt, whose sole movie to this point, Frozen River, garnered her an Academy nom for best original screenplay in 2008, and written by Hollywood veteran Nicholas Kazan, an Academy nominee in his own right for 1990’s Reversal of Fortune.  There are a number of reasons why this movie failed to engage me, the least of which was a super-late night viewing.

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Movie Review: A STREET CAT NAMED BOB – this true story of a recovering addict and his cat is sweet, surprisingly deep, and genuinely uplifting

In my review of Einstein’s God Model, I described myself as an agnostic skeptic – I’ll add cynic to the list. In for a penny, in for a pound, as they say.  When people do bad things, my philosophy is that the underlying nature of the human race is deceitful, false, and hurtful, and I rarely get surprised.  Conversely, when people do good things, I tend to want to know what their true motivations are.  Like Holden Caulfield, I don’t put a lot of faith in most people.  Having said that, I try to keep my cycnism in check – I like people, and I also believe that cynicism is a personal philosophy that, like others, could – and should – be self-challenged.  This is how I choose to start a review of heartwarming British drama A Street Cat Named Bob?

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Movie Review: EINSTEIN’S GOD MODEL – decent premise, but the story is far too big for the limitations of its low budget

Confession time: I’m an agnostic skeptic.  A perennial fence sitting, no-side choosing unbeliever.  It pertains to science as well as religion.  I’m squarely on the side of empirical data.  If you can’t show me something that exists, all your anecdotal, mathematical models, and theories of the mechanics of the universe isn’t going to sway me.  But I’m conflicted because I LOVE all that stuff.  I love quantum physics, I love the supernatural, and I can because I’m no “expert” in either of them-  meaning, I can enjoy the concepts and mentally consign them to the sci-fi and horror realms I enjoy without having to invest any “faith”.  Einstein’s God Model, a low budget sci fi feature written and directed by Philip T. Johnson, attempts to tell a story combining theoretical physics and the afterlife – how could I not be drawn to it?

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Movie Review: XX – selling itself on the gender of the moviemakers, this horror anthology barely rises above mediocre

Horror anthology movies go back decades.  It’s true, kids!  Further back in time than the V/H/S franchise, there was Tales From The Darkside The Movie, a little while before then, Creepshow – a decade before that Amicus played around with Tales From The Crypt, and The House That Dripped Blood.  The format has been around for a long time, and has its origins in the famous EC Comics of the 1950s.  It’s likely to be with us for some time too, but the stories have evolved over the years.  I just finished watching one of the latest such movies, XX – billed with the header “Four Deadly Tales By Four Killer Women”.  What’s this, a feminist horror anthology?

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