• REVIEW: Toy Story 4 [2019]

    “She’ll be okay” It was said upon the release of Toy Story 3 that the franchise was done as far as Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear’s (Tim Allen) adventures were concerned. These sentiments made sense because it ended nicely on a logical breaking point wherein the boy whose name adorned their feet grew-up and […]

  • 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, […]

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film reviews

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: Knives and Skin [2019]

“I actually don’t want to see what’s about to happen” When Laura Palmer is found dead and wrapped in plastic, her tragic end ripples throughout David Lynch‘s “Twin Peaks” to devastating effect. An outsider in Agent Cooper enters the town to decipher the circumstances surrounding her demise with a cheery disposition that never fades—a direct […]

REVIEW: Murder! [1930]

“You can’t run the world on sentiment” A lot needs to go wrong for Alfred Hitchcock‘s Murder! to go right. I say this because Diana Baring (Norah Baring) would never have been arrested in a perfect world. Why? For all the reasons Sir John Menier (Herbert Marshall) lays out about two-thirds of the way through. […]

REVIEW: The Lion King [2019]

“Slimy yet … satisfying” People are getting excited because Nintendo Switch is releasing a port of Link’s Awakening—an RPG that originally came out on the Gameboy two decades ago. More than a port, it’s an actual remake wherein everything is more or less the same with improved graphics and tweaks in gameplay wherever the developers […]

REVIEW: Blackmail [1929]

“I don’t like waiting about for you” Originally green-lit as a silent film, I’ve read differing accounts as far as Alfred Hitchcock‘s feelings about his producer deciding to shift gears and make Blackmail Europe’s first successful “talkie.” Some say he hated the idea and thus the silent cut (Hitchcock finished two versions of the film […]

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: The Wretched [2019]

“Poked the bear” A witch that feeds on forgotten children has taken hold of a sleepy lakeside village in Michigan. It’s because its victims are “forgotten,” however, that nobody ever seems to notice. Not only do the adults assist it by either providing themselves as vessel (it steps into the skin of women) or servant […]

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: Jesus shows you the way to the Highway [2019]

“Duty calls for the last time” All Agent D.T. Gagano (Daniel Tadesse) wants is to retire from the CIA and help his love Malin (Gerda-Annette Allikas) open the best kickboxing joint the world has ever seen. Maybe he’ll hone his pizza-making skills and put a pizzeria next door too if all pans out. Before that […]

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: The Deeper You Dig [2019]

“Every gift is its own twisted curse” It’s funny where the mind can go when you only know a few details at first. That John Adams and Toby Poser‘s latest family-fueled film The Deeper You Dig is horror was enough to convince me that a line spoken by Ivy’s (Poser) daughter Echo (the filmmakers’ own […]

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: DreadOut [2019]

“Don’t you dare say those words” Malignant forces within Catholic tales of evil generally seek to create Hell on Earth by finding a host willing to read the ancient words serving as their key. It’s therefore rare to receive scenes of demonic possession wherein a writhing body with black fluid spewing from its mouth screams […]

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: 메기 [Maggie] [2019]

“Let’s believe in people from now on” How would a movie narrated by a catfish feel? While the animal probably has a good view of what’s going on, would it understand? And when people use it as a stand-in for their conscience—knowing (yet not wanting to accept) the voice responding was still his/her own—would it […]

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: Astronaut [2019]

“To see where we belong” It’s the beginning of the end for Angus Stewart (Richard Dreyfuss). His wife recently passed after a difficult and costly bout with dementia, his heart isn’t what it used to be, and his family is unsure about what to do to help him adjust. While his daughter Molly (Krista Bridges) […]

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: Away [2019]

A one-man show on-screen and behind it, Gints Zilbalodis‘ Away is an obvious labor of love. Opening like a videogame wherein our lead is found dangling by parachute from a tree, we haven’t a clue about his surroundings and neither does he. Before he can release himself and begin a search for answers, however, there […]

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: Jade’s Asylum [2019]

“You’re the one who brought sand to the beach” We don’t get our bearings as far as locale and characters go until a little ways into Alexandre Carrière‘s Jade’s Asylum. While we’ve already met Jade (Morgan Kohan) and her boyfriend Toby (Kjartan Hewitt) in the midst of a fight wherein he blames his infidelity on […]

REVIEW: Echo In the Canyon [2019]

“You always brought your guitar” It started with Jacques Demy‘s Model Shop. Director Andrew Slater saw it, thought about the era depicted (it was released in 1968), and got that Laurel Canyon sound—where so many of the folk-to-rock transitional bands lived—stuck in his brain. This shouldn’t be surprising considering Demy recruited Spirit to create a […]

REVIEW: Moonrise [1948]

“Anyone can make a mistake” Danny Hawkins (Dane Clark) kills a man. This is indisputable. Was it self-defense? Maybe. While his victim (Lloyd Bridges‘ Jerry Sykes) picked up the rock that would be his own demise first, it’s Danny who restarts what was a fair fight after already being soundly defeated. So while Jerry raised […]

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: The Art of Self-Defense [2019]

“I want to be what intimidates me” There was definite trepidation upon learning writer/director Riley Stearns‘ follow-up to Faults would be a comedy. That’s not to say his debut wasn’t funny, however. It was. But where its humor arrived from the matter-of-fact nature of the characterizations he utilized to turn his tale of cult deprogramming […]