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 […]

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 […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Retrospekt [2018]

“Every Wednesday and … coffee” I can’t think of a better term to describe Esther Rots‘ Retrospekt than her own: “sensory cinema.” We get a feeling for what this means during the opening scene as Dan Geesin‘s score and Bas Kuijlenburg’s boomingly operatic baritone drowns out the action onscreen with English lyrics telling a story […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Hjertelandet [Heartbound] [2018]

“I can sell my body if it helps my family” A film ten years in the making, anthropologist Sine Plambech and her director husband Janus Metz‘s open a door with Hjertelandet [Heartbound] onto an intriguing humanist story dealing with the complexities of life, love, and survival that spans almost nine thousand kilometers from Thailand to […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: The Third Wife [2018]

“One day you’ll like it for real” It’s 19th century Vietnam and fourteen-year old May (Nguyen Phuong Tra My) has just been married to a wealthy landowner named Hung (Long Le Vu). She wears a genuine smile on her face, this next chapter in life as hopeful as it is scary. She has two other […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Las niñas bien [The Good Girls] [2018]

“So happy. We’re so happy.” Sofía Hernandez (Ilse Salas) has everything: three children she can ignore, servants and maids to take care of her every whim, and a husband (Flavio Medina‘s Fernando) who inherited his wealth from his father and still has yet to really work for it thanks to Uncle Javier (Diego Jáuregui) managing […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Posledice [Consequences] [2018]

“I am what I am” Andrej (Matej Zemljic) is an eighteen-year old abuser. He’s stopped going to school, started getting into fights, disrespects his parents, and most recently hit a teen after she berated him for his not wanting sex. It’s an escalating series of incidents that no one is willing to deal with anymore, […]