Big Hero 6 (2014)

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I really enjoy it when Disney tends to think outside the box in the realm of a certain genre. While “Big Hero 6” is definitely a Marvel and superhero movie, it’s also a really bold and off the wall tale about revenge, family, and the very thin line between justice and pure evil. “Big Hero 6” is an underrated feature from the Marvel canon that I really hope garners a sequel because the material here is just too ripe for a one and done feature film. The characters are just too damn interesting and by the time the film was done I wanted more from this rag tag group of geniuses. And that’s what I also enjoyed about “Big Hero 6” is that our heroes have a clear moral code they operate by and they do it with their brains.

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Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection “F” (2015)

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“Dragon Ball Z” is back and it’s about as niche as ever! Which is to say that only hardcore fans of the series will love with “Resurrection ‘F’” has to offer them; everyone else will likely just appreciate the animation. It’s a truncated and very fast paced feature length film and one that I quite enjoyed. While I’ve always been hard on the series over the years, “Resurrection ‘F’” was a slimmed down and very breezy action film that reminded me why I was a fan such a long time ago. It also has a really good sense of humor about itself with folks like Piccolo, Krillin, and Gohan settled in their domesticated roles, forced in to combat with a superior foe.

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Paying Tribute to Roddy Piper (1954-2015)

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I would love to tell you that my first experience with Roddy Piper was with his time as a wrestler, but damn it, it was watching “They Live.” Yes, the movie that basically turned Piper in to a bonafide action star is the movie I knew Piper from, originally. I must have watched “They Live” a billion times on television when I was a child. As Nada, Roddy Piper was a force to be reckoned with, and it was an easy role to fit in to, mainly because Piper was a grade A entertainer who knew how to act. Sure he didn’t act on films or TV shows in his early days, but he played a character, and he was damn good at what he did.

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Synchronicity (2015) [Fantasia Film Festival]

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FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL

Jacob Gentry’s “Synchronicity” is the kind of film I really do enjoy. It’s non-linear, it has a taste of noir within it, and it’s filled with existentialist themes about parallel worlds and wormholes that dare to challenge its audience. “Synchronicity” is the kind of challenging fiction that will spark conversations among its audience and leave them pondering on the bigger questions that it poses right through to the end. I didn’t quite understand what was happening in the film for the first half, but Gentry really brings all of the narrative together making what seems like a scattershot series of events feel like one giant master plan. It’s a film in the tradition of “Memento” sparking brilliant visuals and a vivid world where nothing is ever really what it seems.

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Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal (2015) [Fantasia Film Festival]

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Peter Pau and Zhao Tianyu’s “Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal” is nothing short of a mesmerizing and surreal romance epic. It’s a marvel for the eyes, and the ears, and provides one of the most engrossing tales of good versus evil I’ve seen in a long time. “Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal” has a meaty narrative that requires a lot of back tracking and flashbacks, but thankfully the sharp writing prevents the narrative from falling apart by the second half. I was worried I was losing track of the story but the movie would always come full circle and really explain a lot of the twists, leaving no loose ends.

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Crumbs (2015) [Fantasia Film Festival]

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FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL

It’s amazing how a film like “Crumbs” is only an hour or so in length and can feel like an eternity. Goodness knows how much I love post apocalyptic films, but “Crumbs” ventures for surrealism and often too strange for its own good. Judging by the research I’ve performed online, the confusing material and disjointed story is intentional and director Miguel Llanso really had no answers for the symbolism in the film any more than the audience.

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Big Match (2015) [Fantasia Film Festival]

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FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL

Director Choi Ho’s “Big Match” is probably one of my favorite action movies of the year. It’s a wonderful amalgam of action, comedy, and thrills acting on a fast pace with a multi layered story of a man running against the clock. Choi Ik-ho is a man kicked out of professional soccer for rough housing and enters in to MMA to get his aggression out. With the help of his big brother Young-ho, Choi Ik-ho has become one of the greatest fighters of modern times. He’s kept under tight supervision by his big brother, a retired MMA fighter. But when he suddenly disappears, Ik-ho is suspect number one. Young-ho is suspected of being murdered, and Ik-ho is arrested.

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Pixels (2015)

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“Pixels” was a creative and eerie short film that took the concept of video games and turned them in to actual threats on reality. In the proper hands, the adaptation could have been “Scott Pilgrim” meets “Ghostbusters” with a hint of “Attack the Block.” Sure it’d have been silly, but it also could have been a lot of fun. Perhaps even a classic. The first thing to remember is that “Pixels” is an Adam Sandler movie first and foremost, so the viewer has to wade through a ton of Sandler nonsense to get to the actual point of the narrative. Sandler is a man child, as always, who attracts the attention of a beautiful woman out of his league and has a connection to children. He hangs out with his childhood friend who also happens to be the president of the united states. A lot of the juicy roles handed to Sandler’s friends, while Sandler himself seems lethargic through most of it.

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The Demolisher (2015) [Fantasia Film Festival]

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FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL

I really do want to see more from Canadian director Gabriel Carrer, mainly because “The Demolisher” brought back waves of Nicholas Winding Refn and Michael Mann with it. “The Demolisher” is a slow burn and really stellar revenge thriller that picks up after an admittedly sluggish first half hour. “The Demolisher” picks up steam and collides in to an all out assault of blood shed, gore, and violence that help to explore the crumbling of a man’s sanity. Evocative of films like “Ms. 45” and “Death Wish,” Carrer channels the idea of trauma and its lasting effects and how it can toy with one man’s idea of justice for his beloved wife.  Continue reading

Five Great Video Game Movies You Can Watch Instead of “Pixels”

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We loved the original short film “Pixels” when we first saw it and were not surprised that its adaptation from Happy Madison is being pulverized by movie critics. It’s been torn to shreds by gamers, critics and Sandler fans across the board, not surprisingly, and while we haven’t seen it, we thought we’d share with you five movies you could watch instead of “Pixels.” If you don’t want to see another Adam Sandler cash grab, feel free to buy/rent any one of these five video game centered movies that pay tribute to video games while entrenching audiences in their universe.

Or go watch the Sandler movie. Who cares? I’m not your father.

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