• TIFF17 REVIEW: Princesita [2017]

    “The darker the night, the brighter the stars” Miguel (Marcelo Alonso) compares God to a fire when explaining how the ones our religions’ sacred books describe aren’t quite right. Our creator is simpler than those iterations. He has the power to turn wood into ash and water into steam. He has the power to transform. […]

  • TIFF17 REVIEW: Jusqu’à la garde [Custody] [2017]

    “Which of you is the bigger liar?” It didn’t win the Oscar for best live action short in 2014, but Xavier Legrand’s Just Before Losing Everything was by far my favorite nominee. Discovering his debut feature Jusqu’à la garde [Custody] was constructed as an expansion of that story therefore made it a must-see. The short […]

  • REVIEW: De sidste mænd i Aleppo [Last Men in Aleppo] [2017]

    “If I leave, it will be to the cemetery” It’s a shame that those who need to watch Last Men in Aleppo are those who won’t. I’m talking the brainwashed masses quick to call a liberal media “fake news” while they help facilitate legitimate fake news fabricated by enemy regimes hoping to plant dissent. They […]

  • REVIEW: Lady Macbeth [2017]

    “We did it” At the back of William Oldroyd‘s Lady Macbeth (adapted for the screen by Alice Birch from Nikolai Leskov‘s 1865 novella Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk) are the ideas of oppression, power, and the fluidity of both as the oppressed often find themselves clawing their way to a position of becoming oppressor above another […]

  • REVIEW: Dunkirk [2017]

    “He may never be himself again” War is often depicted as a quantifiable number of those who survived and those who did not. Many films choose this route, picking a battle to show the firefight’s chaos and cost. We remember the Battle of Gettysburg and D-Day as turning points, insane offensives that wrought heavy casualties […]

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film reviews

REVIEW: Il conformista [The Conformist] [1970]

“Slaughter and melancholy” At one point towards the end of Bernardo Bertolucci‘s Il conformist [The Conformist], Marcello Clerici (Jean-Louis Trintignant) turns to Manganiello (Gastone Moschin) and relays a brief synopsis of a dream. He talks about how he was a blind man who needed an operation that only his former professor (Enzo Tarascio‘s Quadri) could […]

REVIEW: Creepshow [1982]

Seven years before HBO brought EC Comics’ 1950s-era horror strips to life for their long-running anthology series “Tales from the Crypt”, Stephen King and George Romero delivered their own homage to the style with Creepshow. The former served in the role of screenwriter with two of the five chapters being adaptations of short stories he […]

REVIEW: Never Here [2017]

“You’ve done a bad thing” Miranda Fall (Mireille Enos) is a cataloger. Her art leads her on journeys following new subjects in order to understand who each is by what each does and possesses. She voyeuristically captures their lives in photographs and objects, exhibiting her findings as though a celebration despite some of her targets […]

REVIEW: In a Lonely Place [1950]

“There’s no sacrifice too great for a chance at immortality” Just because you might be innocent of one crime doesn’t mean you’re a saint who’d never commit another. We’ve seen this type of complex premise as recently as “The Night of”, a miniseries about racial prejudice and police neglect wherein the accused (and audience) is […]

REVIEW: The Foreigner [2017]

“Trust or fear” I like a good action thriller without a clear target because it allows the story to develop where cat and mouse chases usually reside. Martin Campbell‘s The Foreigner is a good example as it shows what happens when a sharp plot is made paramount. We know who the bad guys are—a group […]

BIFF17 REVIEW: After the Sun Fell [2017]

“You have an empty space that you need to fill” Everyone’s family is crazy. Some may seem crazier than others, but that’s generally a byproduct of them being less self-conscious. The question we don’t ask ourselves—whether a part of the insanity or watching as an outsider—is why. Why does one member prove so gratingly obnoxious […]

REVIEW: The Craft [1996]

“Nothing makes everything all better again” There’s a ton of untapped potential in Andrew Fleming‘s The Craft. It delivers four embattled teenage girls faced with tragic circumstances out of their control who seek to empower themselves against the internal and external struggles presented by them. This is a premise that allows for empathy and understanding […]

BIFF17 REVIEW: Sunset Park [2017]

“With anger you can lose everything” When Duane Sarcione (Michael T. Weiss) finds himself in the hole with mobster ‘The Sledge’ (Sam Douglas), he has no choice but to run. It’s not a surprising move despite only knowing him for five minutes—gambling has a hold and he’s drowning under the weight of turmoil both in […]

BIFF17 REVIEW: The Sounding [2017]

“There has to be a reason” What is it about our quest to not simply help those in need, but solve what is supposedly ailing them? What in the history of mankind shifted focus from wanting to understand that which was different to assimilating (eradicating) it? Greed. Power. Sanctimony. Ego. There are an infinite number […]

BIFF17 REVIEW: Crash Pad [2017]

“You can’t outwit fun” Morgan (Christina Applegate) is drowning in a marriage on the rocks. Both her career and her husband’s (Thomas Haden Church‘s Grady) are booming—the time allotted to spend together often earmarked for something else. So they’ve drifted apart over the last fifteen years. Their sex life is non-existent and he’s away on […]

BIFF17 REVIEW: Marshall [2017]

“No one will even remember you were here” It’s hard to believe America’s first black Supreme Court Justice hadn’t yet earned the big screen cinematic treatment until now. Besides Thurgood Marshall appearing as a character in a few TV productions (including HBO’s Emmy-nominated one-man play Thurgood starring Lawrence Fishburne) and two movies (The People vs. […]

BIFF17 REVIEW: Woman on Fire [2017]

“I’m sick and tired of being afraid and hiding” I’m not sure anyone could have written a better script than Brooke Guinan‘s real life to truly focus on what it means to be a transgender person in a bigoted, “traditional” world. Here’s a woman born as George Guinan VI into a FDNY (New York Fire […]

REVIEW: Dnevnik masinovodje [Train Driver’s Diary] [2016]

“I wish you a quick first accident” Whether a result of suicide, drunken stupidity, or sheer dumb luck, train drivers the world over kill people. You’d like to believe it’s a rarity, but the truth is most likely the opposite. What then is life like for those who’ve chosen this profession? They’re constantly on alert, […]

REVIEW: The Mountain Between Us [2017]

“What kind of cookies?” Love is a powerful force. Surviving sub-zero temperatures without any food powerful, though? Is love that strong? My instinct automatically says no, but author Charles Martin may be working to prove that my gut simply isn’t as on point as those of his would-be survivors Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) and Dr. […]

REVIEW: Jia Nian Hua [Angels Wear White] [2017]

“There’s other ways to pay” Let’s think about the title to Vivian Qu‘s sophomore effort Jia Nian Hua [Angels Wear White] because the meaning goes far beyond the words themselves. On the surface it’s simply describing religious iconography and the idea that angels wear flowing white linens with halos on heads and harps in hands. […]