• Top 100 Albums of 2018

    Honorable Mention: #100: Mindset by Vacationer #99: Bruce Wayne by Fetty Wap #98: 7 by Beach House #97: Castles by Lissie #96: Shift by Henry Green #95: Kyoto by Tyga #94: White Is Relic/Irrealis Mood by of Montreal #93: Trickster Blues by RF Shannon #92: I can feel you creepinto my private life by Tune-Yards […]

  • REVIEW: Transit [2018]

    “I won’t be writing anymore school essays” It took until the end of Christian Petzold‘s Transit and my reading the press notes to realize Georg’s (Franz Rogowski) story unfolded in the present day. I felt off-balance from the start as far as what the historical context for these events were because he was a German […]

  • REVIEW: Apollo 11 [2019]

    “The Eagle has landed” A black screen with the title Apollo 11 arrives for an instant before we’re whisked away to July 1969 as those in Mission Control and astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins prepare themselves for the first manned spaceflight to land on the moon. There’s no opening interstitial providing context, […]

  • INTERVIEW: Keith Behrman, writer/director of Giant Little Ones

    One of my favorite things about going to the Toronto International Film Festival is finding the time to see the smaller movies that aren’t on everyone’s must-see lists. While the gamble sometimes turns out to be a dud, the risk is easily justified when you’re able to discover a work as genuinely memorable as Keith […]

  • The 91st Oscars recap through tweets …

    What a wild ride this Oscars season has been. After so much recent talk about inclusivity and a changing of the guard, it was bound to happen that we’d receive an awkward period of flux. There’s the young crowd cheering a Marvel Cinematic Universe chapter to the franchise’s first Best Picture nominee and the older […]

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film reviews

REVIEW: I Trapped the Devil [2019]

“Something feels wrong” Tragedy struck some time ago and we honestly don’t need to know the details to understand how it’s affected the three characters we’re about to meet. Steve (Scott Poythress) is the one who’s hurting from it and has been ever since. Maybe his brother Matt (AJ Bowen) thought space was needed for […]

REVIEW: 江湖儿女 [Jiang hu er nü] [Ash Is Purest White] [2018]

“Armed men tend to die first” The genesis of Zhangke Jia‘s Jiang hu er nü [Ash is Purest White] is intriguing. After thinking about cut scenes from two of his earlier films starring now wife Tao Zhao (Unknown Pleasures and Still Life), he found himself merging her characters into one. He saw this woman having […]

REVIEW: Rottentail [2019]

“I don’t want to change!” I’m a proponent for fun comic book adaptations that don’t adhere to the Christopher Nolan school of brooding drama that’s more or less taken over the genre, but I’d hope the goal would be smart wit rather than dumb idiocy. That doesn’t mean I necessarily begrudge the sort who seek […]

REVIEW: JT LeRoy [2019]

“I wouldn’t even exist without her” It really is a wild story. Laura Albert, in need of expressing her pain outside of her own identity, creates a fictional version of herself to write three novels as exorcism under “his” name. Who knows if she anticipated the type of acclaim they and “he” would receive, but […]

REVIEW: The Curse of La Llorona [2019]

“She’s already here” When Warner Bros. decided to capitalize on the box office and critical success of James Wan‘s The Conjuring by crafting an extended universe of creepy spirits with a feature length tale born from that film’s prologue, the results were not great. Annabelle felt rushed at best and retrofitted at worst—a generic horror […]

REVIEW: Peterloo [2018]

“Let’s see what he has to say” Films devoid of main protagonists are generally created as such because the event orbited by their ensemble of characters proves the focal point instead. So when that central moment is a massacre, you must brace for the reality that many will end up victims left for dead. The […]

REVIEW: Missing Link [2019]

“What chicken?” With Laika CEO Travis Knight branching out to live-action on Bumblebee, it was only right that Chris Butler would carry the studio’s fifth feature film after the ambitious undertaking that was Kubo and the Two Strings (which the former directed and the latter co-wrote). Missing Link also becomes Butler’s follow-up to ParaNorman—my personal […]

REVIEW: Little Woods [2019]

“Your choices are only as good as your options” There’s a great documentary about what life is like in the fracking boomtowns of North Dakota entitled The Overnighters. In it we witness an example of humanity at its simultaneous best and worst. Desperate men seeking an escape from troubles back home arrive to find a […]

REVIEW: Rafiki [2018]

“We’re going to be something real” Some will dismiss Wanuri Kahiu‘s Rafiki as derivative simply because they refuse to see what makes it so special. They’ll mention its Romeo and Juliet parallel as far as having the children of opposing political candidates fall in love. They’ll compare it to generic love stories—and generic gay love […]

REVIEW: The Garden Left Behind [2019]

“Why are you here?” What’s mostly a vérité document of lead character Tina’s (Carlie Guevara) trajectory towards chemically transitioning from male to female despite being an undocumented immigrant in an expensive city like New York, Flavio Alves‘ The Garden Left Behind is also a rather potent expression of humanity’s collective dysphoria. Tina is at the […]

REVIEW: Hellboy [2019]

“It looked bigger in the cartoon” There’s no getting around the fact that Lionsgate did Guillermo del Toro dirty by not extending him an invitation to complete his Hellboy vision with a third film. Whether their decision was due to whatever rubric used to measure the franchise’s success (that they’d willingly reboot the property so […]

REVIEW: Amazing Grace [2019]

“We want you to let the folks know you’re here” Released in 1972, Aretha Franklin‘s live album with Reverend James Cleveland and the Southern California Community Choir entitled Amazing Grace took the country by storm selling over two million copies in America alone on its way to double platinum certification. Knowing it was going to […]

REVIEW: 情牽拉麵茶 [Ramen Teh] [Ramen Shop] [2018]

“He kept her memory alive with every bowl of ramen” While Eric Khoo‘s Ramen Teh [Ramen Shop] is at its core a story about a young man looking to reclaim a part of his heritage that was lost, it’s also a rather poignant account of the lasting scars of war and the struggle to separate […]

REVIEW: Mary Magdalene [2018]

“I wish there were a demon inside me” I’m a non-practicing Catholic who hasn’t paid attention in Church since earning my First Communion, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the adjective my mind encounters upon hearing the name Mary Magdalene is “prostitute.” It’s the word the church purposefully utilized to erase her from Jesus […]

REVIEW: Le notti del terrore [Burial Ground] [1981]

“It’s a walking corpse!” The earth trembles and graves open just like Ragno Nero (Black Spider) foretold when talking about a non-descript “they” joining the living as messengers of death. A professor (Raimondo Barbieri) catalyzes this event when an underground discovery releases a horde of zombies onto him and the three couples he had already […]