OIFF19 REVIEW: סיבת המוות [Cause of Death] [2019]

“I can’t stop thinking about it” Director Ramy A Katz leaves three text cards at the end of his Cause of Death to share responses to the film that were supplied by the Israeli police department, Ministry of Health, and the medical examiner of Officer Salim Barakat’s body upon his death at the scene of […]

OIFF19 REVIEW: Mafak [Screwdriver] [2019]

“I didn’t even cry” You hate to think of the United States as a warzone and yet that’s exactly what it is in many respects. Whether a for-profit prison system leaving a largely Black population disenfranchised, unemployable, and haunted or caged children who crossed the Southern border for asylum only to be scarred by the […]

ANOMALY19 REVIEW: VFW [2019]

“Same mud” That co-writer Matthew McArdle remains shocked even after seeing the film he and Max Brallier wrote on the big screen shows how tough the accomplishment proves. Best friends since childhood, the two began their script for VFW with transparent intentions as far as harkening back to the no-holds-barred VHS gems they’d scour video […]

ANOMALY19 REVIEW: Bacurau [2019]

“A feast of fear and terror” It’s been awhile since Teresa (Bárbara Colen) last stepped foot in Bacurau, the small Brazilian village where she was born. Escape has proven the only way to become known outside of one’s neighbors since those who remain entrenched by choice (or necessity) are more or less the sole providers […]

REVIEW: Doctor Sleep [2019]

“We don’t end” I’m not going to lie: seeing Stephen King endorse Mike Flanagan‘s cinematic adaptation of his novel Doctor Sleep worried me. After being so vehemently vocal against Stanley Kubrick‘s changes to The Shining, the film version of the sequel would seemingly need to be religiously faithful to the text for him to laud […]

OIFF19 REVIEW: Advocate [2019]

“It’s always heavy” The crucial truth within Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaiche‘s documentary Advocate arrives courtesy of their subject Lea Tsemel. She explains how there will be no end to the violence between Israelis and Palestinians until a human understanding of the motives can be reached. Israel’s staunch stance as the unequivocal victim was […]

REVIEW: Dolor y gloria [Pain & Glory] [2019]

“Compassionate and controlled” A lot has been said about Pedro Almodóvar‘s latest film Dolor y gloria [Pain & Glory] being autofiction, but the director says it best himself when explaining that the character (Antonio Banderas‘ Salvador Mallo) “wasn’t me, but was inside me.” There’s power to that statement because it accepts the notion that everything […]

REVIEW: Harriet [2019]

“God showed me the way” Harriet Tubman is such an important heroic figure in American history that she was set to replace Andrew Jackson on the twenty-dollar bill next year (the 19th Amendment’s centennial anniversary). That she isn’t anymore (Hollywood producer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin delayed the switch in a move most believe was […]

REVIEW: Cold Brook [2019]

“He needs to go home” I did a lengthy retrospective interview with William Fichtner back in 2015 as part of a local Buffalo, New York publication’s “film issue” due to his being raised in the suburb of Cheektowaga and forever holding a special place in his heart for the city wherever he goes. When talking […]

REVIEW: Motherless Brooklyn [2019]

“I’m chasing his footsteps” Frank Minna (Bruce Willis) was more than a boss to Lionel Essrog (Edward Norton). This man plucked him out of an orphanage wherein the nuns beat him because they believed his Tourette syndrome was a sign of wavering faith. Frank taught Lionel that anyone using God’s name to harm a child […]