REVIEW: Annihilation [2018]

“Sometimes it’s beautiful” Reflections have been the subject of many fantasies whether it’s Through the Looking-Glass or Poltergeist III. The notion that a double exists in a different world conjures an unavoidable eeriness and the possibility of usurpation wherein fiction could become truth. It’s easy to therefore see the inherent duality as a good versus […]

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 […]