Tag Archives: TROLLS

This week’s Movie Reviews:

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Film Review: BLEED FOR THIS (USA 2014) ***1/2

As the title of the film suggests, the success of a boxer depends also on how well he can receive hard punishment in the ring. For real-life Rhode Island boxer Vinnie Paz, the biggest hit he was dealt with was not in the ring, but in life, getting into a car accident that left him almost paralysed.


THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN is writer/director Kelly Fremon Craig’s debut feature. It is a coming-of-age story of a very awkward high-school junior, Nadine (played by Oscar Nominee Hailee Steinfeld from TRUE GRIT) who cannot get along with anyone including her own family – except for her father who dies early in the film and one best friend that she loses. Nadine mopes about the entire film till she finally grows up. For a film about such a loser, Craig’s film is surprisingly edge, funny and feel-good, though her script can be quite manipulative at times. But manipulative in a good way, one could also argue.

Film Review: ALMOST CHRISTMAS (USA 2016)

The premise is the patriarch praying for his family to get along. If they can honour that wish and spend five days under the same roof without killing one another, it will be a Christmas miracle. And somewhat of a miracle that a film with this well-worn plot would turn out any good.

Film Review: ARRIVAL (USA 2016) ****

The Quebecois director Denis Villeneuve has never failed to impress. From his early French Canadian films UN 32 AOUT SUR TERRE and MAELSTROM to his English Hollywood films SICARIO, PRISONERS and ENEMY, Villenueve has transcended different genres though his films share one common trait. There is the human angst mixed into a thriller/mystery story. The same can be said in his latest, most ambitious and biggest production to date – ARRIVAL. The ARRIVAL here could refer ever to the first contact of the aliens or the birth of the baby girl to the film’s protagonist, Dr. Louise Banks (Amy Adams).

Film Review: TROLLS (USA 2016) ***

The TROLLS are colourful figurine-sized doll characters who are known to be happy all the time. They sing, dance and hug constantly. But the happiness is now under threat as creatures known as Bergens have discovered the trolls and eating them up. They do so in order to be happy as Bergens do not know how to dance or sing or be happy. The name Bergens is likely derived from the coastal city of Bergen in Norway, the only country in the world known for trolls.

Film Review: DOCTOR STRANGE (USA 2016) ***

It also helps that the film is directed by a horror film director Scott Derrickson rather than an action director. Derrickson directed the two SINISTER films, THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE including the Hollywood version of DELIVER US FROM EVIL, the latter of which contained a lot of dead-pan humour, repeated in DOCTOR STRANGE. Those who have watched Benedict Cumberbatch in real-life know that this actor is prefect for deadpan straight face comedy.

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Film Review: TROLLS (USA 2016) ***

The new Dreamworks animation released by 20th Century Fox, TROLLS is a happy enough 3D computer-animated musical buddy comedy film based on the dolls of the same name created by Dane Thomas Dam way back in 1959.

Film Review: DOCTOR STRANGE (USA 2016) ***

The Marvel superhero DOCTOR STRANGE gets his first debut on the big screen complete with 3D. Though the character has appeared in a TV movie and animated film before, he is given a fresh treatment which is a good thing considering that there are already too many super hero action movies each year.

HACKSAW RIDGE (USA/Australia 2016) ***** Top 10

After about a decade absence from the director’s chair (his last film was the misunderstood APOCALYPTO in 2006), the director of BRAVEHEART and THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST returns in top form as if redeem in himself of all the bad press he had garnered since he said and did some foolish things. It’s another situation in this 21st century social media era where the outside events of the director “tarnish” the actual film itself. Think “Birth of the Nation”. Two films that should potentially receive multiple Oscar nominations. But will they? And should they?


The film tackles quite a few issues. At the film start, David listens and calls a rival radio show in which an Anita Byrant type woman, June Hendley (Jordan Baker) makes her stance against homosexuals. She is against gay marriage, gay sex and almost everything gay just like the original Byrant. An easy target no doubt, David through his show gets the better of her. David then meets his new technician Chris (Guy Adkins) who pines for him.

Film Review: THE VIOLIN TEACHER (Brazil 2016) ***

THE VIOLIN TEACHER, which opens at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, serves both as an art house film and a crowd pleaser. From the film’s very first frame, the audience sees the protagonist, a talented but tortured soul named Laerte (Lazaro Ramos) unable to fulfil his promise during an important violin audition for the famous São Paulo Symphonic Orchestra.


This poetic fantasy action film, hailing from the United Kingdom and coming to us from director Samuel Smith, is a study in genre splicing. Tengu: Birdman of the Mountains has the poetic elements of a romance, the luxurious visuals of a fantasy, the tension and suspense of a thriller, and the fight scenes of a high-concept action film. Told through the eyes of a child, our hero watches as his highly skilled father, endowed with supernatural natural strength from his Chi, fights off terrifying bird-like villains from this family’s mountain home. Packed with stunning fight sequences that highlight the filmmakers’ excellent technical skills, this piece is a must-see for anyone who enjoys action.

Movie Review: BARROW (2016)

The crime mystery science-fiction short Barrow, coming to us from Australia courtesy director Wade Savage, is a powerful, efficient, masterful piece of cinema. It makes nods to a wide variety of genre motifs including mystery, crime, science fiction and horror, among others, and integrates them seamlessly. The story is rich and engaging, following the story of a young forensic scientist on her quest to understand the mystery forces that saved her life during a brutal and horrifying attack on her family years before.


Blackwell Summers Mystery, a 12 minute American short from director Emily Dell, focuses on Grace Blackwell and Raven Summers, two sexy detectives with their own private investigation company in the heart of the 1970s. Smart, cunning and sexy, both ladies use their strengths and skills to take down the villain while leaving space for the audience to laugh the whole time.

Movie Review: MOTEL MOTEL (2016)

Rich in symbology and complex layering, Motel Motel this crime mystery film by Belgian director Ellen J. Babeliowsky. It follows our hero, Hjalmar, finds himself sharing an old motel room with an unpleasant partner- a severed human ear. This ear disturbs him, erodes him, and ultimately drives him to act by reaching the motel’s owner to change his room. Curiously, no one believes his story- that his room is occupied by a human ear.

Film Review: INFERNO (Da Vinci Code 3!)

In a few years time, you can argue, no one will even remember Ron Howard’s INFERNO, based on Dan Brown’s 2013 novel of the same name. It will open around the world, make a little money for the studios and talent, and then it will just disappear.