• REVIEW: Night Comes On [2018]

    “I don’t think you’re like him” When the parole board asks seventeen-year old Angel Lamere (Dominique Fishback) why she hasn’t seen her younger sister (Tatum Marilyn Hall‘s Abby) in two years despite only being incarcerated for one, her reply was an honest yet simplistic, “I wasn’t a good influence.” The fact that she is where […]

  • REVIEW: Sorry to Bother You [2018]

    “More like apples and the Holocaust” If you’re still unsure about whether capitalism brought the United States to its current position with extreme political divisiveness and the fallacy of what’s left of the “American Dream,” rapper-turned-writer/director Boots Riley is here to break it down via a debut as satirically sound as it is insanely, absurdly […]

  • REVIEW: Leave No Trace [2018]

    “We can still think our own thoughts” It’s easy to depict PTSD-suffering war veterans as unstable, dangerous, and beyond help from inevitable tragedy. This depiction has sadly become the Hollywood norm to conjure volatile dramatics devoid of the empathy those struggling to combat their demons deserve. If anyone could supply the necessary humanity to portray […]

  • INTERVIEW: Xavier Legrand, writer/director of Custody

    It’s always a treat to see a director whose work you’ve enjoyed in short form make the leap to features—especially when the latter debuts at a venue as auspicious as the Toronto International Film Festival. This is exactly what happened with Xavier Legrand last year. Less than half a decade after earning his first Oscar […]

  • Top 100 Albums of 2017

    Honorable Mention: #100: Talking by Elderbrook #99: Carnival III:The Fall and Rise of a Refugee by Wyclef Jean #98: Somewhere in Between by VÉRITÉ #97: The World We Built by The Wild Reeds #96: Lines by Charlie Cunningham #95: Ti Amo by Phoenix #94: Confidently Lost by Sabrina Claudio #93: Last Place by Grandaddy #92: […]

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film reviews

REVIEW: Western [2017]

“What are you searching for here?” When a group of Germans enter rural Bulgaria on an assignment to divert water towards a new power plant, those unversed in the area and its history wouldn’t think too much about it. Those like me would assume whatever conflict at this story’s back would arise from differing languages […]

REVIEW: McQueen [2018]

“If you want to know me, just look at my work” I can understand the ubiquity of a name like Alexander McQueen because I remember knowing it when he tragically committed suicide back in 2010. Recognition only took one mention despite it being all over the news—even if I wasn’t wholly sure who he was […]

REVIEW: Crazy Rich Asians [2018]

“Family never says thank you” While I haven’t read Kevin Kwan‘s novel Crazy Rich Asians, I can definitely see why producers would have approached him with the note: “Where’s your white character?” It has all the usual romantic comedy beats from stranger in a stranger land antics, memorable supporting characters readying the “commoner” for an […]

REVIEW: Pappy’s World [2018]

“Come on. Tickle me.” A self-proclaimed “socially responsible Blaxpoitation” horror short from director Matt Wisniewski and co-writer Fred Polone, Pappy’s World arrives as though a music video for Buffalo-based art-rock project Smokin’ Black Tar with an opening guitar-led track against the silent movements of a young girl (Jaz Frazier) around Christmastime. While she eyeballs a […]

REVIEW: Arizona [2018]

“Nothing but possibility” You should know going in that Jonathan Watson‘s Arizona is a comedy. It’s billed that way. Former “30 Rock” and current “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” writer Luke Del Tredici is responsible for the script. And Danny McBride has had his face plastered on all the marketing materials. But you wouldn’t be wrong for thinking […]

REVIEW: Searching for Fortune [2018]

“I didn’t know we could do that” Whether you’re a proponent of nature over nurture or vice versa, you cannot deny the impact both have on our lives regardless of the other. Yes we all have the potential to be President of the United States on paper, but we don’t all have the tools at […]

REVIEW: BlacKkKlansman [2018]

“Did you just use your real name?” The fact that Spike Lee‘s BlacKkKlansman is based on a true story is absolutely crazy. A black rookie cop in Colorado calls the Ku Klux Klan, wins them over with racist rhetoric, and talks his precinct chief into approving an investigation wherein a white officer would pretend to […]

REVIEW: Univitellin [2016]

“All of that for nothing” Writer/director Terence Nance describes his short film Univitellin as “an improvised prequel about the past lives of one person—about the two people they were before they karmically merged.” It’s important to know this because that’s not what you’d assume upon watching its tale of fated and tragic romance between Aminata […]

REVIEW: The Meg [2018]

“Discover and then destroy” An adaptation of Steve Alten‘s Navy deep-sea diver/paleobiologist Jonas Taylor-led series of novels has been in the works pretty much since the first installment was published back in 1997. There have been six literary sequels written since then as the property changed hands from Disney to Warner Bros. and directors from […]

REVIEW: C’est La Vie [2016]

“You don’t choose to be me” In the perfect complement to Basically, writer/director Ari Aster uses the same format of pitting his lead character against the camera for an incendiary diatribe about life, freedom, and oppression with C’est La Vie. Where the former centered upon a young, aspiring actress who proved a product of affluence […]

REVIEW: The Turtle’s Head [2014]

“She didn’t get the pun” What appeared an early misstep of juvenile comedic intent with TDF Really Works actually seems to be a glaring blind spot for writer/director Ari Aster after watching his short film The Turtle’s Head. There are few better than him today where using humor to augment the subversions of darker genres […]

REVIEW: Basically [2014]

“That’s just the rejection talking” Even the most vain and vapid have moments of clarity. Whether they prove to be intentional or not is the question. So is it because Shandy (Rachel Brosnahan) has more to her than what appearances reveal that she’s able to turn colorfully vindictive soliloquies into philosophical quandaries worth contemplating beyond […]

REVIEW: Munchausen [2013]

You can almost hear the musical score when thinking about old silent films from the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. They have that peppy melody to really shine a light on the optimism of what could be before some sort of hardship or tragedy arrives with a somber tone to lead our emotions […]

REVIEW: Beau [2011]

“Well I’m horrified too” Just before he’s about to leave his apartment for a flight to visit his mother, Beau (Billy Mayo) realizes he’s forgotten his dental floss. What should be a quick jaunt upstairs to the bathroom becomes the biggest mistake of his life upon returning to see his keys—which he left in the […]

REVIEW: TDF Really Works [2011]

“Roast duck? Good luck!” Sometimes there really isn’t anything below the surface of gross-out comedy like TDF Really Works. Just because it’s the brainchild of the writer/director behind the equally disturbing yet conversely thought-provoking short The Strange Thing About the Johnsons doesn’t mean you have to try harder to find one either. And whether Ari […]