• REVIEW: Napszállta [Sunset] [2018]

    “It’s starting all over again” I felt as though I was running circles throughout László Nemes‘ sophomore effort Napszállta [Sunset]. It doesn’t help that we’re often inches from Írisz Leiter’s (Juli Jakab) face—if not looking through her very eyes—as she winds her way through an unfamiliar and just out of focus Budapest, Hungary. I speak […]

  • 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 […]

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film reviews

REVIEW: Hagazussa [2018]

“We don’t have to be afraid here” What creates a witch? An evil that takes hold of willing vessels yearning to do his/her demonic master’s bidding or a populace’s mass fear that turns mankind’s own evil against those who are different than them and therefore a threat to the status quo? If you’re a believer […]

REVIEW: Aladdin [2019]

“Get your own jam” The Disney animated film that demands most skepticism when considering a live-action remake is Aladdin. No character besides the late Robin Williams‘ Genie has transcended its source to become larger than the Mickey brand itself and no actor could ever dream of filling his shoes with an impression guaranteeing unflattering comparisons. […]

REVIEW: My Josephine [2003]

“Something that never touches the ground shouldn’t be dirty” It’s only fitting that Barry Jenkins‘ student film My Josephine would stand as a precursor for the unrequited love bubbling beneath the surface of unspoken hardship he’d later explore in Moonlight. Inspired by a laundromat he passed post-9/11 with a sign reading “American flags clean free” […]

REVIEW: Keep It For Yourself [1991]

“I am in your hands” Writer/director Claire Denis was commissioned to create a short film for an omnibus in 1991 meant to showcase the new Nissan Figaro. Besides including the car in the narrative, she had carte blanche as far as how, why, or what else. The result is Keep It for Yourself, a virtually […]

REVIEW: Framing John DeLorean [2019]

“He is open to interpretation” I was three when Back to the Future immortalized John DeLorean‘s namesake automobile the DMC-12 (known plainly as the DeLorean since no other model was produced). Doc Brown’s time machine was therefore unsurprisingly the extent of what my mind could associate with the former visionary of General Motors who continuously […]

REVIEW: New Money [2019]

“You gotta look nice for bankers” The prize at the center of Jason B. Kohl‘s New Money is fifty thousand dollars. While the characters like to label it an inheritance, their descriptions prove otherwise. It’s more a promise made by a father (Chelcie Ross‘ Boyd Tisdale) to his troubled daughter (Louisa Krause‘s Debbie). If she […]

REVIEW: Dark Phoenix [2019]

“What did you do to her?” Hollywood franchise filmmaking really is a frustrating system insofar as allowing good source material room to breathe. That’s not to say it doesn’t sometimes work too, though. Look at Twentieth Century Fox’s cinematic X-Men saga for instance. After hitting a comic book high with X2, the desire for more […]

REVIEW: Godzilla: King of the Monsters [2019]

“This will not bring him back to us” Here’s the thing. Godzilla vs. Kong was announced way back in 2015—a year after Godzilla released and two before Kong: Skull Island. Warner Bros. wasn’t taking their time rolling out the MonsterVerse and thus guaranteed we knew the big bad reptile and big bad mammal would eventually […]

REVIEW: Child’s Play [1988]

“I’ll be your friend to the end” The rough cut of Tom Holland‘s Child’s Play was around two hours and test audiences weren’t happy. Almost forty minutes were excised (and boy can you tell) before the film saw the light of day and eventually earned an insanely devoted cult following that’s seen six sequels (so […]

REVIEW: All Is True [2019]

“Perhaps, to some, I was the lark” Sony Pictures Classics announced their deal to distribute Kenneth Branagh‘s latest All Is True after it had already been completed without the usual media fanfare surrounding projects with royal Oscar pedigrees such as one whose cast is rounded out by Judi Dench and Ian McKellen. You shouldn’t, however, […]

REVIEW: The Secret Life of Pets 2 [2019]

“Was the world always this dangerous?” Illumination missed the boat on The Secret Life of Pets because the way they’ve told these stories thus far make them a lot more conducive to television than cinema. If that first film’s sprawling character list devolving into wild schemes and pratfalls barely adhering to the flimsy plot beneath […]

REVIEW: Leto [2018]

“Laziness has kept me out of trouble many times” We only recognize it through hindsight, but Americans are spoiled by cultural freedom. Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s meant having the opportunity to listen to radio stations, records, and cassettes of music spanning multiple genres and eras. It was all at our fingertips and […]

REVIEW: Always Be My Maybe [2019]

“Kale can’t hold on forever” The premise is familiar. Two childhood best friends of the opposite sex lose touch after growing up only to find themselves in close proximity again almost two decades later. One became a huge success elsewhere while the other remained home and thus without much opportunity for escaping that neighborhood’s limited […]

REVIEW: Rocketman [2019]

“I’ll take care of the rest” When you have an icon like Elton John as your subject, the straightforward biopic formula simply won’t work. We know him as the flamboyantly dressed, rock star pianist with funny glasses and sequins who belts out songs that will either make you tap your feet or cry. And while […]

REVIEW: Late Night [2019]

“You’re a little old and a little white” You can imagine how this film would have gone had a white male wrote it. The affirmative action jokes would play strictly for laughs rather than poignant introspection. The strong woman television host would use masculine tropes to service her goals rather than understand that a double […]