REVIEW: Only the Brave [2017]

“Decide what you live for and what you can live without” Interagency Hotshot Crews are twenty person teams of Type 1 firefighters that exceed all experience, training, and fitness requirements of that designation. Originated in the 1940s to combat wildfires on a national level, these groups move all over the country to suppress flames and […]

BIFF17 REVIEW: Marshall [2017]

“No one will even remember you were here” It’s hard to believe America’s first black Supreme Court Justice hadn’t yet earned the big screen cinematic treatment until now. Besides Thurgood Marshall appearing as a character in a few TV productions (including HBO’s Emmy-nominated one-man play Thurgood starring Lawrence Fishburne) and two movies (The People vs. […]

BIFF17 REVIEW: Woman on Fire [2017]

“I’m sick and tired of being afraid and hiding” I’m not sure anyone could have written a better script than Brooke Guinan‘s real life to truly focus on what it means to be a transgender person in a bigoted, “traditional” world. Here’s a woman born as George Guinan VI into a FDNY (New York Fire […]

REVIEW: Battle of the Sexes [2017]

“Libbers not lobbers” Between the title and trailer, I assumed Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris‘ Battle of the Sexes would focus strictly on the circus surrounding the event itself. It’s not like there isn’t enough content to make that happen between the political, social, and athletic motivations behind the media frenzy. But screenwriter Simon Beaufoy […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Chappaquiddick [2018]

“Sometimes the path you’re on isn’t always the path you choose” It was always funny to think of Ted Kennedy as “the other Kennedy.” How could you not? Despite his long tenure as Massachusetts Senator, he wasn’t “anointed” like Jack or Bobby. He tried and failed to secure a presidential nomination, but even if he […]

REVIEW: Red Trees [2017]

“A Mr. Hitler is in power, but it’s the vending machines that I recall” If yours were one of only twelve Jewish families in all of Prague to survive World War II, you’d do your best to move forward despite the memories of death, fear, and oppression that marked you in a way no one […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: The Current War [2017]

“Star in a jar” The title is The Current War, but it’s subject is truly more history than battle. It’s flashier to think about our modern day electrical system as a conflict between two geniuses fighting for their vision’s victory, but the truth is more complex. Michael Mitnick‘s script understands this (mostly) despite the title […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood [2018]

“Get what I mean?” If the phrase “tell-all” hadn’t been coined before 2012, Scotty Bowers‘ memoir Full Service: My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars would have done the job. Here’s a Marine Corps veteran of World War II born in Illinois who decided to land in Hollywood upon his […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Professor Marston and the Wonder Women [2017]

“Fantasy is possibility” Many probably don’t know about the man who created Wonder Woman. It’s not a surprise considering the decades it took to finally bring the character to the big screen despite a popularity that rivals her male Justice League counterparts. He wasn’t just some writer cashing in on the superhero craze spawned by […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Stronger [2017]

“I’m a hero for standing there and getting my legs blown off?” Peter Berg‘s take on unsung heroes Patriots Day is barely a year old and here we are with another Boston Marathon bombing film in David Gordon Green‘s Stronger. Rather than focus on the event itself, however, John Pollono‘s script turns focus squarely onto […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Papillon [2018]

“I have trouble seeing hope in hopelessness” It’s amazing how some tweaking can turn a decent film showing its age into a worthwhile project that earns its upgrade four decades later. To watch Franklin J. Schaffner‘s original Papillon adaptation is to see an arduous series of harrowing ordeals strung together for no reason other than […]