• TIFF18 REVIEW: First Man [2018]

    “It’s kinda neat” The non-controversy surrounding Damien Chazelle‘s First Man shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows how political parties have appropriated art into their agendas since the dawn of time. Of course they’d glom onto the decision to ignore the lunar flag planting as some “un-American” thing rather than read the script, watch the movie, or […]

  • TIFF18 REVIEW: If Beale Street Could Talk [2018]

    “Flesh of each other’s flesh” Fonny Hunt (Stephan James) puts out his arms for a hug upon seeing an old friend in Daniel (Brian Tyree Henry) after too much time and too many men their age have passed. Smiles and laughter enter the scene before they are soon replaced by beers and reminiscing. And then […]

  • TIFF18 REVIEW: Aniara [2018]

    “The utter nonsense of living” So much of our desire to exist is based in control. We have the ability to move our homes, restart careers, and work towards a future of our choosing. No matter how difficult things become, there’s always a hope for better or an avenue towards change. It’s only when we’re […]

  • 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 […]

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film reviews

REVIEW: The Hate U Give [2018]

“Know your worth” The progression of The Hate U Give‘s genesis reveals its message’s importance. Angie Thomas began its short story precursor back in college as a response to Oscar Grant’s 2009 death by police. She would push it aside soon after in hopes to revisit the subject matter once her rage subsided. Her impulse […]

REVIEW: Life and Nothing More [2018]

“Are you free, dead, or in jail?” Many filmmakers find the need to politicize truths without realizing or believing their existence has already politicized them. There’s power in this sort of manipulation because the product created is working towards opening eyes or (in most cases) reinforcing what those eyes accepted long ago. That power can […]

REVIEW: An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn [2018]

“That man ain’t dead” There’s an unforgettable scene from “Twin Peaks” season two that can be a make-it or break-it point for viewers due to how far David Lynch and company were willing to go with the cringe factor of their off-kilter comedic tone. It’s the one where Agent Cooper is lying on the floor […]

REVIEW: Bad Times at the El Royale [2018]

“Why even have a bell?” Writer/director Drew Goddard‘s affinity for voyeuristic set-ups continues with Bad Times at the El Royale‘s “pervert hotel” aesthetic. His first feature-length screenplay (Cloverfield) was found footage, his directorial debut (The Cabin in the Woods) had a two-way mirror as well as a science fiction surveillance conceit, and now we get […]

REVIEW: Colette [2018]

“It might ruffle some feathers back home” What Wash Westmoreland (who co-wrote with his late husband Richard Glatzer and Rebecca Lenkiewicz) has done with Colette is craft an origin story for the famous, Nobel Prize-nominated French novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. It begins in Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye with her as the teenage daughter of poor country folk unable to […]

REVIEW: Tea with the Dames [2018]

“It’s alright, you can still swear” Friends for over fifty years, Eileen Atkins, Judi Dench, Joan Plowright, and Maggie Smith join together for Nothing Like a Dame [Tea with the Dames] as they often have. This time, however, comes at the behest of director Roger Michell. And while it’s structured to appear like any other […]

REVIEW: The Wife [2018]

“Do what you need to do” After multiple expressions of frustration tinged with disgust on behalf of David Castleman (Max Irons) towards his father Joe (Jonathan Pryce), the time for the latter to finally tell the former what he thinks about his short story arrives. Joe is an acclaimed author who’s just landed in Stockholm […]

BIFF18 REVIEW: The Rainbow Bridge Motel [2018]

“Didn’t we invent cultural irony?” As soon as Tin’s (Zaw Win) tacky shuttle spins his passengers (Cole Burden‘s Darren and Chris Modrzynski‘s Dean) away from the picturesque majesty of Niagara Falls’ cataracts, I knew exactly what was happening. Anyone who’s called Buffalo’s surrounding area home will too because they’ve experienced the other place sharing that […]

BIFF18 REVIEW: Thunder Road [2018]

“Should we call the manufacturer?” It’s unsurprising to learn the opening one-shot of Jim Cummings‘ SXSW-winning film Thunder Road is itself a revision of the writer/director/star’s Sundance-winning short of the same name. The sequence therefore plays like a mini-movie with its escalation of emotion, honest humor in tragedy, and subtle exposition readying us for the […]

BIFF18 REVIEW: About a Donkey [2018]

“Smaller than a horse” The Owens family is at a nexus point of chaotic emotions, troubles, and fears thanks to the start of new chapters in their respective lives. Mom (Katherine Wessling‘s Ann) has officially accepted what everyone else already had: a battle with depression. Burgh (Ben Kaufman) recently started seeing someone (Sarah Haruko‘s Cassie) […]

BIFF18 REVIEW: Caretakers [2018]

“Do what is right, not what is easy” Dr. Leigh Waters (Angell Conwell) has a line of dialogue towards the end of Caretakers that I was desperate to hear since the beginning. She reminds the med student under her supervision (George Loomis‘ Jones Berg) that he’s neither a psychologist nor a social worker and thus […]

BIFF18 REVIEW: Black Site [2018]

“Do you not fear your insignificance?” Mankind found a way to overpower its Gods in Tom Paton‘s throwback sci-fi horror Black Site. After discovering that Elder Gods were in-hiding and draining our planet of its most precious resource (people) for millennia, humanity found ancient incantations to bind them and ultimately deport them back from whence […]

REVIEW: Venom [2018]

“Have a nice life” If you really think about it, Venom was never going to be R-rated. I don’t care what director Ruben Fleischer alluded to in an interview before production began or that star Tom Hardy currently believes the best forty minutes of the film were cut. As soon as Sony decided to move […]

BIFF18 REVIEW: The Rainbow Experiment [2018]

“It’s nobody’s fault and everyone’s responsibility” My biggest takeaway from Christina Kallas‘ The Rainbow Experiment is that teachers really don’t get paid enough in this country. Think about new technologies, entitled parents, emotionally confused kids with no outlet, and dwindling budgets forcing them to spend out-of-pocket for resources all while a guillotine hangs above their […]

REVIEW: Passengers [2008]

“Better now than later” An explosion, crash, confused man, and burning plane: this is the sequence of images as Rodrigo GarcĂ­a‘s Passengers commences. It’s a pretty straightforward visual set-up for the incident everything else will surround before his lead (Anne Hathaway‘s Dr. Claire Summers) is introduced during the next scene. She’s a trauma counselor enlisted […]