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 […]

REVIEW: Echo In the Canyon [2019]

“You always brought your guitar” It started with Jacques Demy‘s Model Shop. Director Andrew Slater saw it, thought about the era depicted (it was released in 1968), and got that Laurel Canyon sound—where so many of the folk-to-rock transitional bands lived—stuck in his brain. This shouldn’t be surprising considering Demy recruited Spirit to create a […]

REVIEW: Moonrise [1948]

“Anyone can make a mistake” Danny Hawkins (Dane Clark) kills a man. This is indisputable. Was it self-defense? Maybe. While his victim (Lloyd Bridges‘ Jerry Sykes) picked up the rock that would be his own demise first, it’s Danny who restarts what was a fair fight after already being soundly defeated. So while Jerry raised […]

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 […]

REVIEW: Trespassers [2019]

“Sometimes you just can’t stop what’s coming” The film opens on an affluent white couple living close enough to the Mexican border for another character to later say, “You can’t open the door to strangers in today’s society.” They’re awoken by three men in masks made to look like MS-13 gang members, dragged out, and […]

REVIEW: Luz [2019]

“You see a girl and reveal your true self” It’s been years since a demonic entity has seen the woman it loves—she who conjured it to the surface before being driven out from the place in which she did. Tonight was a chance reunion wherein familiarity was quickly replaced by violence before a yet-unseen escape […]

REVIEW: Sword of Trust [2019]

“Is this ‘Antiques Roadshow’ for racists?” There’s a point in Lynn Shelton‘s Sword of Trust where the four principal characters are being led into a situation with as much chance of ending in their death as it does the payment of forty thousand dollars. Sitting there in that moment of uncertainty without any bearing as […]

REVIEW: Round of Your Life [2019]

“Nothing motivates like disappointment” Christian faith films are difficult to watch objectively because they generally end one of two ways: a miracle by the grace of God or a tragedy accepted as His will. So there’s not much wiggle room when it comes to drama. Whether or not the person in pain recovers often has […]