TIFF18 REVIEW: Kingsway [2018]

“I’ve been on speaker?” Love and suicide. Those are the words director Bruce Sweeney says inspired him to write Kingsway and are very much at the forefront of his dramedy about the dysfunctional Horvat family. And both are treated with humor despite never in a way that belittles their respective import. It’s not about laughing […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Un ange [Angel] [2018]

“I’d rather consider myself a gazelle” Two lost souls struggling to reconcile their image meet in Senegal by chance. One’s a prostitute—although she rejects the label and the registration card that’s as much a means to procure wealthy clients as a permanent brand upon her skin. The other is a world famous cyclist just recovered […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Freaks [2018]

“Go away ghost” It’s weird to think about a movie like Push today—an under-appreciated, much-maligned sci-fi that I’d argue is a lot better than the legacy it’s been given. The X-Men and Spider-Man trilogies had completed by the time it was released and Iron Man just hit theaters the year before to usher in what […]

VENICE18 REVIEW: Why Are We Creative? [2018]

“That’s the only question” The question that Hermann Vaske has asked for over two decades is a large one. Why Are We Creative? There’s no blanket answer—no right or wrong notion of the philosophical ramifications trying to put your own personal interpretation into words conjures. So it’s interesting that he would end his film with […]

VENICE18 REVIEW: Tumbbad [2018]

“Wake her up and ask yourself” As the Hindu folktale at the start of Rahi Anil Barve and Adesh Prasad‘s Tumbbad states: while the Goddess of Plenty birthed 160 million deities from her womb (Earth), the one she loved most is also the one that’s been erased from memory. His name is Hastar and he […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Føniks [Phoenix] [2018]

“It has to be my turn sometime” If our best laid plans are said to often go awry, what happens to the ones we hastily make in desperation? Writer/director Camilla Strøm Henriksen looks to supply an answer to that very question with her feature debut Føniks [Phoenix] because desperation is all young Jill (Ylva Bjørkaas […]

BIFF18 REVIEW: Friday’s Child [2018]

“I don’t hurt people” The only thing worse than never getting your happy ending is having it within grasp and realizing you cannot accept it. To see salvation and turn around knowing it would be a lie is the type of heartbreaking choice we often have to make in order to keep on going. It’s […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: ペンギン・ハイウェイ [Pengin Haiwei] [Penguin Highway] [2018]

“I might be too amazing for my own good” Adapted from Tomihiko Morimi‘s Nihon Science Fiction Taisho Award-winning novel from 2010, Penguin Highway takes us into a world barely unlike our own. Directed by Hiroyasu Ishida from Makoto Ueda‘s script, the film centers upon a Japanese fourth grader on the cusp of self-proclaimed greatness. With […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: Cam [2018]

“I literally love you” There’s a moment in director Daniel Goldhaber‘s Cam where Alice (Madeline Brewer) is talking to her younger brother Jordan (Devin Druid) about the previous evening’s performance on web-cam site Free Live Girls. She moved past sex gimmicks towards the dark world of snuff film aesthetics and it worked to move her […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: 소공녀 [So-gong-nyeo] [Microhabitat] [2018]

“Seems like you’re living a fantasy” What do you need to survive? It’s a common question we all ask ourselves—one that goes beyond the basic tenets of food, water, shelter, and human interaction. I’m talking about the things we cherish enough to put them before everything else. It could be freedom, hobbies, love, or art. […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: Pengabdi Setan [Satan’s Slaves] [2017]

“Have pity on the children” It wasn’t until 2006 that cult Indonesian horror film Pengabdi Setan [Satan’s Slave] finally received a DVD pressing after accruing its mystique without subtitles courtesy of a Japanese VHS. The 1980 release from director Sisworo Gautama Putra has been called an unofficial remake of Don Coscarelli‘s Phantasm, its supernatural haunting […]