Tag: movie

TIFF 2020:  Akilla’s Escape Review 1

TIFF 2020: Akilla’s Escape Review

The titular Akilla (Saul Williams) is a jaded, middle-aged drug dealer in Toronto planning on quitting the game. Things go wrong quickly when he arrives at one of his regular stops, arriving in the middle of a robbery. Akilla manages to knock out one of the thieves, a teenager named Shepard (Thamela Mpumlwana). Akilla sees himself in the boy (in a much more literal case with Mpumlwana playing both Shepard and the younger version of Akilla in flashbacks), and resolves to both recover the stolen items and prevent Shepard from repeating the violent cycle he endured as a youth, all over the course of a single night.

The film frequently alternates between two time periods: Akilla’s present situation in present-day Toronto, and his introduction to the life of crime in 1995 New York City. The whole film is impressively shot, with the Toronto-set scenes making beautiful use of colors and darkness to lend to its neo-noir style. The music is equally as cool as the look, with 3D from Massive Attack laying the score. The strongest parts of the film reside mainly with the two leads. Saul Williams brings an impressive amount of depth to Akilla. He manages to maintain a presence of wearinessand empathy while also maintaining an air of someone you don’t want to mess with.

Akilla’s Escape (2020)

Additionally, Thamela Mpumlwana is a true up-and-coming talent in the making. As Shepard, he is mostly doing the standard aggressive teenager role, whereas with young Akilla, he truly gets to shine and showcase some real emotional range. He has to grapple with caring for his mother and dealing with a stepfather that eventually brings him into the life he currently lives. Unfortunately, the same can’t fully be said for most of the supporting cast. There aren’t any distinctly bad performances, they aren’t exactly written as well as the leads. They all feel less like people and more like stock characters needed to fit the genre. The only real exception is Ronnie Rowe as Akilla’s father. While the film is only just 90 minutes, the slower, deliberate pacing and lack of any real action sequences means things can feel a bit sluggish around the halfway point.

Regardless, I still found myself enjoying Akilla’s Escape. Despite its faults, I still found it to be a very cool, low-key neo-noir with an interesting setting and very engaging lead characters.

Late Night (2019) Review

Late Night (2019) Review

Late Night (television) is becoming an increasing antiquated form of entertainment, and that’s precisely why it’s such an interesting topic for a film. But Late Night (the title of the film in question here) really isn’t keen on diving into some of the more granular aspects of it or embracing any sort of mystique: instead, it spends its time meandering through that valley at a brisk pace, occasionally stopping to smell the rote rom-com roses.

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Captive State (2019) Review 1

Captive State (2019) Review

It takes very little to get me out of the door for a film with an alien invasion premise. The promise of the unknown, combined with humanity’s indomitable spirit in an attempt to overcome said mysterious force is a formula that knows no bounds. While Captive State does manage to give us some payoffs while having something important to say, it’s so far buried underneath pacing issues and an attempt to scattershot many of those ideas onto paper that it doesn’t quite come through in practice.

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Deadpool 2 Mini-Movie Review 1

Deadpool 2 Mini-Movie Review

Deadpool is not an easy character to portray in any medium, and the task of bringing him into the mainstream is a gargantuan ask. Yet, over the course of three (kinda) films, on the back of Ryan Reynolds, Fox managed to do it. Deadpool’s road to successful R-rated films wasn’t an easy one.

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Nintendo Close To A Deal On Super Mario Bros Movie

Nintendo Close To A Deal On Super Mario Bros Movie

It’s a shame that the 1993 Super Mario Bros. movie was such a box office disaster in that it scared Nintendo away from Hollywood for 24 years, because when you remove the Mario Bros aspect from it, it’s really not a  bad 90’s sci-fi action comedy b-movie. However, it seems the wound is finally healing as Nintendo is apparently close to signing a deal on a potential Super Mario Bros movie.

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Flashpoint Movie: What Does it Mean for the DCEU 1

Flashpoint Movie: What Does it Mean for the DCEU

Warner Bros. and DC have ambitious plans for Ezra Miller’s Flash. It’s looking highly likely that the Scarlet Speedster won’t have a regular standalone film. Instead, Warner Bros. is planning on adapting one of the more complex storylines of any DC superhero for the Flash’s first solo outing, Flashpoint. This project was formally announced at Comic-Con 2017 and it’ll see Barry Allen awakening in a different, twisted version of the true DCU timeline. All of the Justice League members are feuding with each other and Barry Allen no longer has his superpowers. Reading a quick synopsis of Flashpoint will make anyone excited for this potential project, but what does this grandiose storyline actually mean for the DCEU moving forward? And is making another film filled with several different superheroes a good idea?

Flashpoint Movie: What Does it Mean for the DCEU 4
Ezra Miller as The Flash in Justisce Leage (2017) (images via Warner Bros. Entertainment)

The way this dark alternate version of the DCU occurs in the first place is because Barry Allen decides to use his speed to travel back in time and stop Reverse-Flash from murdering his mother. This little act has a huge ripple effect on the entire timeline, resulting in Barry Allen creating a different world that’s on the brink of destruction, with a deadly war waging on between Atlantis and Themyscira. Flash learns the hard that time shouldn’t be meddled with and teams up with Shazam, Cyborg and Batman to restore the world and fix the timeline.

It’s a fascinating storyline, one that has Superman trapped in a government facility his entire life, failing to become the superhero the world so desperately needs him to be. But the most interesting part here is that Bruce Wayne actually gets murdered on the night when his parents were the ones who’re supposed to get killed. Thomas Wayne, Bruce’s father, becomes the Dark Knight instead. And with Ben Affleck wanting to stop playing Batman, this is the perfect way to replace him.

But aside from Flashpoint just being a fantastic story, can it actually work as a feature length film? Well, it’ll certainly be tricky to nail the spectacle of it all and, don’t forget, Warner Bros. will have the problem of explaining it to regular audiences who aren’t too familiar with the comics. On paper, a Flashpoint movie is a great idea, but it’s way too soon for the DCEU.

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Ezra Miller as The Flash in Justisce Leage (2017) (images via Warner Bros. Entertainment)

Warner Bros. wasn’t able to make two movies that featured multiple main characters: Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad. On the other hand, Wonder Woman, which was a simple origin story about Diana without any other DC hero in it, worked wonders for the DCEU. You can’t also forget about the success of both Logan and Deadpool which, like Wonder Woman, are personal, smaller scale superhero stories that are a joy to watch.

Flashpoint is even more complex and ambitious than Batman v Superman and there isn’t any substantial evidence that Warner Bros. has it in them to pull off a massive story like this. The studio shouldn’t and simply can’t rush into making Flashpoint, as it needs to see how Justice League turns out. A lot is riding on the upcoming DC superhero mashup, especially since the film’s director Zack Snyder left due to terrible personal circumstances. And with the news of the film’s expensive and long reshoots, people are very skeptical.

Audiences still haven’t even been properly introduced to Ezra Miller’s Flash to even think that Flashpoint can actually work. Who knows, even though Miller is a truly fantastic actor, maybe his portrayal of Barry Allen is flat? Maybe he was miscast? It’s also important to consider how Justice League will even set up Flashpoint given just how many different moving parts the film seems to have. Warner Bros. can’t just expect the general audience to willingly be interested and understand the significance of Flashpoint.

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(From left to right) Jason Momoa, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, and Ray Fisher in Justisce Leage (2017) (images via Warner Bros. Entertainment)

If a lot wasn’t already riding on Justice League, even more pressure is now on Warner Bros. to deliver. Wonder Woman is a great achievement, but it had the benefit of really zeroing in on a single character in a story the took place decades before Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Suicide Squad, which have been panned by both critics and audiences alike.

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