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 […]

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 […]

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: Sadako [2019]

“That new girl is creepy” Director Hideo Nakata brought novelist Kôji Suzuki‘s Ring series to the big screen two decades ago and spawned a laundry list of sequels, American remakes (one of which he helmed), comics, and television remakes that each put their own unique spin on central “monster” Sadako Yamamura’s history until fluidity of […]

HOTDOCS19 REVIEW: Mr. Toilet: The World’s #2 Man [2019]

“Turning poop culture into pop culture” This statistic says it all: 40% of citizens on Earth don’t have toilets. A big part of that number is India and China, but it’s still insane to comprehend as someone from a country that won’t allow homes or businesses to be built without one. It’s the type of […]

HOTDOCS19 REVIEW: Willie [2019]

“I’m not done” It was 2003 before a Black hockey player had the honor of being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. That player was Grant Fuhr, the Stanley Cup winning goalie of the Edmonton Oilers and multiple other teams (including a short stint with my hometown Buffalo Sabres). Because he was far from […]

INTERVIEW: Keith Behrman, writer/director of Giant Little Ones

One of my favorite things about going to the Toronto International Film Festival is finding the time to see the smaller movies that aren’t on everyone’s must-see lists. While the gamble sometimes turns out to be a dud, the risk is easily justified when you’re able to discover a work as genuinely memorable as Keith […]

BERLINALE19 REVIEW: Kameni govornici [The Stone Speakers] [2019]

“We need both spiritual and physical healing” Writer/director Igor Drljaca takes us on a contemplative tour through four towns in Bosnia-Herzegovinia with his documentary Kameni Govornici [The Stone Speakers]. We never hear him speak nor watch any of his subjects respond. All we hear are their disembodied words atop static portraits of them standing against […]

BERLINALE19 REVIEW: Ringside [2019]

“You can hit people and you can’t get in trouble” Boxing became the way two fathers in Chicago could keep their sons off the streets. Kenneth Sims Sr. was a brawler back in the day before turning his passion into a career as a coach. Destyne Butler Sr. was a pugilist aficionado who succumbed to […]

BERLINALE19 REVIEW: MS Slavic 7 [2019]

“You’ll have to use this pencil” Director Sofia Bohdanowicz found a series of letters written between 1957 and 1964 by her great-grandmother Zofia Bohdanowiczowa (a poet) to the Nobel Prize nominated author Józef Wittlin at Harvard’s Houghton Library. Both literary figures were forced to leave Poland during World War II with the former heading to […]