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Review Writing Clips

PIFF 2021 Review: ‘Cryptozoo’ Is An Ambitious Homage To 1960s Pop Art - June 21, 2021

"“Trippy throwback” is an unsatisfactory way to describe what Cryptozoo is shooting for when you delve deeper under its skin. Its artistic merits are too genuine for that summation. However, its ability to execute the hippie, punk-rock fundamentals against the establishment fall through as its visual style lacks the homogenous marriage between its artists and the indulgence for tropes to tie its screenplay together. Despite these faults, the film aims so high only to just narrowly miss its goals. The final product comes across more like a fluffy cross between a Wes Anderson animated feature and an over-indulgent late-night Adult Swim special. That’s not necessarily a net negative, but it doesn’t feel like the piece of pop-art, pulp fiction for activism that it was trying to be."

‘Rurouni Kenshin: The Final’ Review: The Iconic Samurai Hits Netflix Worldwide - June 21, 2021

"This film’s upcoming sequel-prequel being an adaptation of the iconic OVA Trust and Betrayal (1999) is and will be essential to The Final in the future. If that story is adapted the way fans expect, layers of The Final will be further emboldened by performances from Satoh and Mackenyu in retrospect. Both actors give substantially greater weight as The Final sets up the context of their relationship to Tomoe Yukishiro, and the genesis of the crossed scar that defines Kenshin’s characterization from then on. "

‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ review: The monsterverse crossover arrives with massive spectacle for any screen - Apr. 1, 2021

"Director Adam Wingard (The Guest, You’re Next) has a clear love for these monsters and understands the admiration for a favorite kaiju is like following the career of a favorite wrestling star. The battle sequences are the best in the modern takes on the genre, with the monsters’ movement, weight, and fighting styles distinct and uniquely exhilarating. Thanks to an actual source of light either coming from the sun or the towering buildings of Hong Kong, each battle is given clarity and vibrant color to their respective set pieces. The sound design matches the visuals to a ground-shaking scale, absolutely most effective on a Dolby Atmos speaker, but even still sounds great cranked up in stereo.

Of course, you can’t have a giant kaiju movie without at least some human shenanigans to break up the tension and ramp up the stakes, quickly establishing how powerful and stubborn both these Titans are. The lean, focused screenplay by Eric Pearson (Thor: Ragnarok) manages to do this in a couple of ways.

Most importantly, the humans have direct cause and effect in the plot. Kong is duped into leaving Skull Island by humans convinced he can be used to find a source of power in the Hollow Earth. Meanwhile, Godzilla is aggressively cleaning house with a multi-billion dollar company called Apex Cybernetics, and Maddison Russel (Millie Bobbie Brown) is on a quest to find out why. As the two creatures beeline to their destinations, they cross paths and settle old grudge matches with lots of punching, roaring, and destruction."

'Sonic The Hedgehog' Review: Is the video game movie curse broken? - Feb. 15, 2020

Translating games to film has been an issue for years, but there’s no denying that at some point gaming’s biggest mascots were inevitably going to be given a shot on the silver screen. Sonic the Hedgehog, despite nearly two decades of rough patches worth of animated series and games of wildly different qualities, finally got his shot at a feature film.

The elephant in the room, besides the track record of video game movies, is the really unsettling character design Paramount moved forward with confidently until the internet did everything but riot over Sonic’s uncanny look in the initial posters and trailer. It was a globally felt miscalculation that would see reactions only exceeded by Universal’s Cats, ironically done by the same effects house. In this case, the difference from Cats is the studio decided to delay the film to fix the character design,and the extra work put in to reanimate Sonic paid off. While his compositing doesn’t look perfect, his design looks as close to his famous look as possible, and the rest of the effects in the movie remain largely unaffected.

It’s easy to criticize the film for lacking originality, especially when the character only ever existed as a marketing foil to Super Mario in the first place. Sonic was only ever meant to go really fast and express the countercultured, extreme attitude of ‘90s kids. This movie’s script somehow finds a way to update Sonic to the brave new world of the 2020’s with only a few stumbles along the way, and will largely be forgiven by kids in its target audience.

‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ Movie Review: An Enjoyable Monster Mash - May 28, 2019

To credit the monsters as characters is to give credit to VFX Production Supervisor, Guillaume Rocheron (known for Life of Pi) and the six visual effects studios with hundreds of digital artists who worked on the film to bring the Titans to life. Godzilla and King Ghidorah’s battles are composed with stunning scale, animation and choreography, and to see Rodan and Mothra thrown into the mix is ultimately icing on the cake, with just enough noteworthy action to themselves that they may come away as the holders of fan favorite moments.

Godzilla fans can relax, the monsters don’t get cut away from this time. The animation is creative and colorful like a comic book splash page with close ups and wide shots to make them more lively than just effects achievements. Additionally, the monsters don’t disappear when the action is over, as they sort of have character moments of their own as Ghidorah’s threat grows larger, and Godzilla has to put the hustle in to achieve his victory. Fans will also appreciate the experience in sound mixing, with classic musical cues and creature sound designs throwing back to the old films of the franchise, bringing them to life ever so slightly more than they would be with the visuals alone.

Movie Review: Shin Godzilla - Oct 12, 2016

This Godzilla, both the creature and the film, feels inherently foreign as much as it does classic, which works quite well as it is considered the first ever “reboot” of the Godzilla franchise: a modern retelling of the 1954 original Gojira, and when understood as such, it works in every way. More than any other Godzilla film in a long time, this one presents a lot of smart concepts to unpack, and the quality of this film will be found in the viewer’s reflection of it over time. As a franchise that desperately needed some form of evolution, Shin Godzilla offers it in a way that is occasionally surprising while also strangely familiar.

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