CINEMA: The Candyman Cometh

CANDYMAN (Directed by Nia DaCosta, 91 minutes, 2021, USA) BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC No horror movie monster has as much socio-political bite as the titular demon in Candyman, Clive Barker’s riff on the Bloody Mary same-my-name trope. The first film in the series, 1992’s Candyman setup the franchise’s tragic origin myth, introducing us to Daniel Robitaille (Tony Todd), a late 19th Century artist and son of a slave killed by an angry mob when he fell in love with and fathered a child with the white daughter of a wealthy landowner. Daniel wasn’t simply lynched either, these things require […]

CINEMA: The Tomorrow War Is Taking Forever

THE TOMORROW WAR (directed by Chris McKay, 138 minutes, USA, 2021) BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC The Tomorrow War has the guy who directed The Lego Batman Movie attempting to deliver a heartfelt Terminator-eque action spectacle that ironically feels as if it was spit out by an AI. The film’s high concept story of humanity in the final throes of a losing war with an unstoppable alien race, who out of desperation draft their fathers into their war via time travel, has promise as a premise. But it becomes cliche to the point of trite when it comes to its […]

CINEMA: Q&A With Action Starlet Maggie Q

THE PROTEGE (Directed by Martin Campbell, 109 minutes, USA, 2021) BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC The Protégé is an unconventional actioner starring Maggie Q as Anna, an assassin on a mission to avenge her fallen mentor and father figure Moody (Samuel L. Jackson). Moody’s taken out while digging too deep into the pair’s latest gig, which would’ve sent them to Vietnam, where the assassin found Anna – who managed to kill his targets before he had a chance. It’s this humanizing moment when the killer saves the life of the young girl, by taking her in and smuggling her out […]

WORTH REPEATING: Being Owen Wilson

  ESQUIRE: We haven’t ordered. We don’t have food yet. We don’t have coffee yet. Just talking. Waitstaff whir around, trolleying quinoa bowls and acai. The scene sends Owen’s memory to another restaurant, which makes him smile. He and Wes Anderson were writing The Royal Tenenbaums, the 2001 movie for which they were nominated for a best-original-screenplay Academy Award, and as part of the backstory, they made up a restaurant called Sloppy Huck’s, which Royal Tenenbaum (played by Gene Hackman) used to take his kids to when they were little. “It was this place with peanut shells on the floor […]

CINEMA: One More Time With Less Feeling

SUICIDE SQUAD (Directed by James Gunn, 132 minutes, USA, 2021) BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC James Gunn helming a Suicide Squad film should have been an easy win. The director previously adapted a property for Marvel few even knew existed when he brought Guardians of the Galaxy to the MCU. That film has became a pop-culture touchstone and represents a watershed moment for the director. Gunn cut his teeth making no-budget indie films for Troma that trafficked in transgressive humor and buckets of gore. After a falling out with Marvel — a fence that has since been mended — Gunn […]

Q&A: Stranger Things/Free Guy Star Joe Keery

  BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC Free Guy takes a concept we’ve seen before, the character who suddenly realizes he’s living in a simulation, but elevates this idea with the surprisingly nuanced how and the why of the narrative. The film stars wisecracking Ryan Reynolds as a Guy, an NPC or Non Playable Character, who works as a bank teller in a video game called Free City. The game is like Grand Theft Auto where gamers come and let loose whatever carnage they see fit on the city’s peaceful inhabitants, who have learned to blissfully accept this behavior of the […]

CINEMA: Requiem Pour Un Con

ANNETTE (Directed by Leos Carax, 139 minutes, France, 2021) BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC French writer/director/film critic Leos Carax, responsible for the absurdist masterwork Holy Motors, is back with an oddball operatic musical called Annette, for which he collaborated with Sparks, aka the greatest band you’ve probably never heard of. Sparks is comprised of brothers Ronald and Russell Mael who for the past 55 years have somehow managed to remain bleeding edge of music, with just the right blend of complexity and quirk. If you’ve seen Edgar Wright’s the excellent Sparks doc The Sparks Brothers, you know the brothers Mael […]

CINEMA: Being Val Kilmer

VAL (directed by Ting Poo & Leo Scott, 109 minutes, USA, 2021) BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC  Val is culled from 40 years of footage shot by Kilmer who was never apparently without his trusty video camera, obsessively documenting everything from his highschool stage plays to his recent victory over throat cancer. While enticing the casual viewer with peeks of his time on such iconic films as Batman, Top Gun and Heat, this doc pulls back the curtain letting fans in on the psychology behind his approach to acting, while painting a intimate, tragic and ultimately hopeful story in the […]

CINEMA: Kiss Of The Spider Woman

  BLACK WIDOW (directed by Cate Shortland, 133 minutes, 2021, USA) BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC While all her male Avengers counterparts launched with their mandatory solo vehicles, the Black Widow standalone film has quietly languished in development hell ever since it was teased circa 2010’s Iron Man 2. I honestly thought the film had lost any relevance it once had,  given that’s she perished in Endgame, and we are now neck deep in the new batch of heroes who have stepped in to fill the vacancy left by their battle with Thanos. But after a decade in development limbo […]

CINEMA: Un-Viva Las Vegas

ARMY OF THE DEAD (directed by Zack Snyder, 148 minutes, USA, 2021) BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC Of all the bizarre announcements that came from Netflix’s blank-check spending spree a few years back, when almost every A-List director got some insane vanity project green lit, was Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead. This was a project he had been working on since 2004, which incidentally was when he did the impossible and remade Dawn of the Dead — George Romero’s classic deconstruction of consumerism aka his “zombies in a mall” epic — and actually knocked it out of the park. […]

CINEMA: Destroy All Monsters

GODZILLA VS KONG (Directed by Adam Wingard, 113 min., USA, 2021) BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC The original King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) was a weird East meets West affair that simultaneously exploited Japan’s burgeoning obsession with professional wrestling and celebrated the 30th anniversary of Godzilla’s corporate overlord, Toho Co., Ltd, by having the two larger than life icons duke it out on the big screen. Now almost 60 years later, we are getting an American-produced rematch that wants to be the Batman Vs Superman of the Legendary Monsterverse. The primary difference here is that director Adam Wingard (You’re Next, […]

CINEMA: Is That All There Is To A Fire?

BILLIE EILISH: The World Is A Little Blurry (dir. R.J Cutler, 140 min., USA, 2021) BY DAN TABOR FILM CRITIC Early on in Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Bit Blurry, the Apple+ documentary that charts the meteoric rise of the young green-tressed pop phenom, there’s a moment at a sold out concert where Eilish parts the crowd of screaming preteens like Charlton Heston in the Ten Commandments so security can carry out an injured girl. Obviously shaken by the ordeal, Eilish asks the crowd if they’re okay, she then emphatically states “they need to be fucking okay, because they […]