TIFF19 REVIEW: 1982 [2019]

“Don’t invite the war into our home” Before 2007, all Lebanese men were conscripted to serve in the military for at least one year. I’ve heard from multiple people that it wasn’t a question of citizenship, but ethnicity. If I ever visited before that year, I wouldn’t have been able to return to America without […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Knuckle City [2019]

“I doubt your cries will reach Heaven” It’s 1994 and young Dudu and Duke have little in the way of inspiring role models to build lives for themselves in Mdantsane, South Africa. Apartheid is over and Nelson Mandela is president, but they’re taking notes from a father (Zolosa Xaluva‘s Art Nyakama) raving about how “real […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Calm with Horses [2020]

“That’s not you” To cross the Devers family is to earn retribution. This is a known fact to all in the rural Irish town of Glanbeigh. Some strangers arrive and overstep their bounds without knowing (as if getting involved with drug dealers was an act whose danger can be unknown), but most everyone knows everyone […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Hearts and Bones [2019]

“How many times have you risked your life without asking me first?” After witnessing famed Australian war photographer Daniel Fisher (Hugo Weaving) endure a traumatic experience in Iran during the opening of Ben Lawrence‘s Hearts and Bones, the sudden shift to a taxi driver (Andrew Luri‘s Sebastian Ahmed) will seem abrupt. It’s not, however, a […]

VENICE19 REVIEW: Les épouvantails [The Scarecrows] [2019]

“You’re not lost” It begins in a prison cell with a despondent Djo (Joumene Limam) scribbling words on paper as Zina (Nour Hajri) implores her to stand so they may leave. Salvation comes in the form of a lawyer (Afef Ben Mahmoud‘s Nadia) and doctor (Fatma Ben Saïdane‘s Dora) desperate to figure out what has […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Disappearance at Clifton Hill [2020]

“We grew up there” Every lie told takes us one step closer to burying the truth forever. While this often applies to current events like with Aesop’s fable “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” wherein a community is numbed to a boy’s warnings enough to let a tragedy occur under their noses, director Albert Shin and […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Héraðið [The County] [2019]

“My tank was full” The devolution of a worker-owned entity into that which it was formed to combat probably occurs much faster than you’d expect. Things initially work like they should with successful profits and happy members. The establishment itself is also pleased because it sees little threat of anyone going outside its economic reach […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Heimat ist ein Raum aus Zeit [Heimat is a Space in Time] [2019]

“Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror” How much of our ancestry is tied to the history of the places we call home? While some of us would probably answer “None,” we’d be wrong. Just because your family tree was lucky enough to exist on the periphery of major historical moments as bystanders doesn’t […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: My English Cousin [2019]

“I am cooked to perfection” It’s been seventeen years since Fahed Mameri left Algeria to achieve a better life in England. Since then he has settled in Grimsby (a place with high unemployment and little infrastructure to sustain a healthy living), married an Englishwoman, and found two jobs with which to earn barely enough money […]

REVIEW: Anima [2019]

“Please let me know when you’ve had enough” When you’re Thom Yorke and well into a career with one of the most recognizable rock bands in the world (they self-release records on a “pay what you want” scale after all), you can think outside the box where advertising is concerned. So don’t be mistaken where […]


“No one said enough is enough” I’ve never been one to pay attention to lyrics. All I need is a good tune, complementary voice, and the joy their marriage instills. So I didn’t think twice when The Lumineers‘ latest single “Gloria” hit the radio. Its folk rock melody was as upbeat and fun as any […]