Author: Andrew Parker

Review: Radio Dreams

The low-key workplace comedy Radio Dreams, directed by British-Iranian filmmaker Babak Jalali, takes a premise that could be exploited for maximum wackiness – either as a mockumentary or as a straight-forward comedy of errors – and turns it into a slow burning, thoughtful musing on the nature of cultural identity in modern America. Radio Dreams isn’t made up of bits and pieces that fit together seamlessly, but its best moments are some of the most engaging and sometimes uncomfortably humane moments that viewers are likely to see this year. Hamid Royami (Iranian musician and songwriter Mohsen Namjoo), artistic and...

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Review: The House

At the public screening of the Will Ferrell and Amy Poehler comedy The House that I attended (which was in front of a paying audience, since it never screened for critics) something funny happened. A patron sitting near the top of a fairly steep, stadium seating styled auditorium had illicitly smuggled in a tall boy of their favourite adult beverage and accidentally kicked it over about three-quarters of the way into the film. This half full can lumbered slowly, but surely down on its side each individual step of the theatre, sloshing and rocking back and forth with every...

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Review: Nowhere to Hide

The harrowing real life family drama Nowhere to Hide is one of those documentaries that starts off with a single noble idea, executed wonderfully, before becoming something deeply personal and terrifying. It starts with filmmaker Zaradasht Ahmed travelling to Iraq in 2009, shortly after the withdrawal of American troops from the country. Ahmed makes his way to the city of Jalawla, located in the heart of the volatile “triangle of death” in the country’s centre. It’s there that he meets Nori Sharif, a family man and nurse in the emergency room at Jalawla’s hospital. Recognizing that Sharif sees the...

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Review: Transformers: The Last Knight

Transformers: The Last Knight, the gargantuan and bombastic fifth entry in the lucrative Michael Bay helmed series of films based around Hasbro’s iconic toy line, marks a high point for the otherwise dubious franchise. One could probably make thirty films with the budget of Transformers: The Last Knight, and at two and a half hours it has enough superfluous plotting to feel like sitting through thirty different movies in a single sitting. Unevenness and occasional lapses into Bay’s trademarked bad-taste humour aside, each of these thirty films crammed into an ungainly single film sack are surprisingly entertaining and at...

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Review: Rough Night

The raunchy comedy Rough Night wants to give women the same kind of bad taste gags and thrills that dudes got to have in similarly themed bachelor party comedies like The Hangover, but it ends up being as uninspired as any run of the mill, carbon copy comedy to roll off an assembly line, male or female driven. It’s not an awful film, just not as funny as a film with this talented of a cast should be. It’s not the kind of film that will make you feel bad about the time you spent with it, but it’s...

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Review: Cars 3

Wisely acting like the bizarre, unfunny, and leaden Cars 2 never happened, Pixar’s Cars 3 takes most of its cues from its likeable, if unoriginal source to create a more naturally genial and breezy film about a world inhabited by anthropomorphic vehicles. If Cars cribbed its plot liberally from Doc Hollywood, Cars 3 looks to more classical sports movie inspirations, perhaps most notably the later Rocky sequels and a dash of Days of Thunder for good measure. It’s not much overall, and this is decidedly on the low end of Pixar’s output, but it’s entertaining on its own modest...

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Review: All Eyez on Me

Music video veteran Benny Boom’s lengthy, but unexceptional and slipshod biopic All Eyez on Me proves that even a mediocre film about the life of late rapper Tupac Shakur can be interesting in fits and starts. Shakur’s life was one of great drama, and the height of his celebrity and infamy overlapped the dizzying heights of one of music’s most popular and disreputable genres. Gangsta rap persisted both before and after Tupac, but the game changed so much when he arrived and stopped so completely when he died that the genre can’t be divorced from his legacy. Shakur built...

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