• REVIEW: Black Panther [2018]

    “We had to maintain the lie” It’s easy to forget how important Creed was to getting this specific Black Panther made. From Wesley Snipes wanting to get something off the ground in the 1990s to Kevin Feige courting Ava DuVernay as director post-Selma success, things could have been very different. Hiring Ryan Coogler before his […]

  • Online Film Critics Society Ballot 2017

    Below is my December 24th ballot for the 21st annual Online Film Critics Society Awards honoring movies released domestically in the United States during the 2017 calendar year. Group winners are highlighted in red. (We were only allowed to vote for one nominee per category this year, but I ranked them all like previous years […]

  • REVIEW: Call Me By Your Name [2017]

    “‘Cause I wanted you to know” It wasn’t until three-quarters of the way through Luca Guadagnino‘s Call Me By Your Name that I finally began to understand the almost universal praise bestowed upon it since debuting at Sundance. Up until then it merely felt like a familiar coming-of-age film wherein the teenager in question was […]

  • REVIEW: The Work [2017]

    “Go inside to go outside” It’s one thing for a maximum-security prison full of violent offenders like Folsom to offer the type of in-depth therapy sessions it does, but it’s another to see the number of inmates with the courage and desire to attend. To be willing to leave your gang affiliations at the door […]

  • REVIEW: Unrest [2017]

    “I just thought I would have more time” You can tell a lot about someone with the question: “What are your thoughts on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)?” The answer is “Yes” or “No” and yet the latter has the potential of holding an infinite number of biases stemming from the likes […]

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film reviews

REVIEW: Hannah [2018]

“He’s not coming” To see the titular character (Charlotte Rampling) at the start of Andrea Pallaoro‘s Hannah is to see someone like any other. She rides public transportation to her eccentric acting class, cooks dinner, and enjoys a quiet evening beside her spouse. The film’s start is ostensibly a silent one with only the noises […]

REVIEW: November [2017]

“The two of you with your frozen souls” What is the point of having a soul if everyone around you doesn’t? I think that’s the central question asked by Rainer Sarnet‘s November, a bleakly told Estonian fairy tale tragedy adapted from Andrus Kivirähk‘s novel Rehepapp. At its core is romance—the kind based in unrequited love […]

REVIEW: La passion de Jeanne d’Arc [The Passion of Joan of Arc] [1928]

“His ways are not our ways” The history of Carl Theodor Dreyer‘s masterwork La passion de Jeanne d’Arc [The Passion of Joan of Arc] is almost too perfectly attuned to the subject matter itself. Here was a renowned director hired to craft a movie about France’s most famous Catholic despite being neither French nor Catholic. […]

REVIEW: Black Panther [2018]

“We had to maintain the lie” It’s easy to forget how important Creed was to getting this specific Black Panther made. From Wesley Snipes wanting to get something off the ground in the 1990s to Kevin Feige courting Ava DuVernay as director post-Selma success, things could have been very different. Hiring Ryan Coogler before his […]

REVIEW: Like Me [2018]

“Tell me a story” While it may do a better job at depicting the nihilistic depravity of living through social media at the detriment of “real life” than Ingrid Goes West, Robert Mockler‘s Like Me still fails to capture the psychological prison this artificial life creates beyond its surface chaos. We watch Kiya (Addison Timlin) […]

BERLINALE18 REVIEW: Les rois mongols [Cross My Heart] [2018]

“They’re good guys doing bad things” While you can debate the success of politically motivated events like 1970’s October Crisis in Quebec, Canada, you can’t question their danger removed from the cause. The media reports the carnage whether terrorist bombings or kidnappings and murder. They provide an objective account of what’s happening—in this case the […]

BERLINALE18 REVIEW: Cobain [2018]

“My little man” There’s a scene in Nanouk Leopold‘s Cobain where the titular fifteen year-old (Bas Keizer) tells his estranged, junkie mother Mia (Naomi Velissariou) that he wants to help. Her response is to ask whether she cares about what he does, the answer tragically understood before his mouth utters the word “No.” To watch […]

REVIEW: Pariah [2011]

“God doesn’t make mistakes” If you can’t tell how out-of-place Alike (Adepero Oduye) feels when staring slack-jawed at a pole dancer before escaping to a seat by the wall with phone open to check the time, you will when she all but pushes her friend Laura (Pernall Walker) off of the bus home to ensure […]

REVIEW: Entanglement [2018]

“Just let go” We’ve all asked the question: “What does our life mean?” Some of us do so out of curiosity, some out of boredom, and others from a place of desperation. Ben Layten (Thomas Middleditch) falls in the latter category after the wife he loved so deeply for many years leaves him for another […]

REVIEW: Looking Glass [2018]

“I just needed some air” I can’t stop going back to an old Variety report from 2016 that contained a Braxton Pope quote about producing Looking Glass as what was then to be music video director Dori Oskowitz‘s feature length debut. He spoke about how excited he was to partner with the artist in bringing […]

REVIEW: The Silent Child [2017]

“Orange juice” Director Chris Overton and writer Rachel Shenton pull no punches with their short on deaf awareness entitled The Silent Child. What could have been a cloying piece about parents thawing to the realities of a life they pretend they’re too busy to see with eyes open proves a rather bleak depiction of how […]

REVIEW: The Eleven O’Clock [2017]

“I’m simply waiting patiently” I love a good wordplay gag delivered at breakneck speed, the sort “A Bit of Fry and Laurie” used to deliver when Stephen Fry went rapid-fire nonsense on Hugh Laurie without a stutter, laugh, or breath. Director Derin Seale‘s short film The Eleven O’Clock is a wonderful comedic scenario in that […]

REVIEW: Watu Wote [All of Us] [2017]

“You’ll have to kill us all” It’s dispiriting to constantly watch as Muslims are forced to defend themselves against the bigotry of Catholics who blindly reject their entire religion as one synonymous with terrorism. Looking back upon history (and the present) to see the horrors committed by Christians under the guise of “acts of God” […]

REVIEW: Revolting Rhymes Part One [2016]

“They’re just stories. You know … for children.” Have you ever listened to a fairy tale and lamented the poor villains simply trying to survive? You hear “Little Red Riding Hood” and think about how the wolf is operating by instinct. He sees a potential meal and using cunning ingenuity does all he can to […]

REVIEW: Heroin(e) [2017]

“Getting high on heroin is to you what it would be like to kiss Jesus” We too often see a problem in its worst form via “scared straight” videos that depict it in all its graphic detail for those living within its clutches. Drug use is the main culprit for this type of vehicle because […]