TIFF18 REVIEW: Can You Ever Forgive Me? [2018]

“Do you think they all know?” Do you have a Lee Israel work on your shelf? What should be a matter of owning one of her books or not since she was a notable author of biographies who hit the New York Times Best Sellers list, things get much more complicated when you look closer […]

REVIEW: A Simple Favor [2018]

“Oopsy” You don’t wonder which woman has secrets after meeting Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick) and Emily Nelson (Blake Lively). Instead you wonder which has more. They’re built to be hiding something in their past whether dark or not. The former: a goody two-shoes, little Miss Perfect type who always has the energy to show up […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Mid90s [2018]

“I don’t kiss and tell” The summer between middle school and high school is a formative one for any kid. There’s this sense of moving away from childhood and towards young adulthood—of needing to act older to fit in considering the pecking order has restarted with you down at the bottom. Factor in a sibling […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Cascos Indomables [Helmet Heads] [2018]

“There’s a spot on your face” If Broken Lizard were Central American and deadpan, they might make something akin to Ernesto Villalobos‘ Cascos Indomables [Helmet Heads]. Think an extremely droll Super Troopers meets Office Space starring a sextet of bike messengers desperately trying to break the monotony of their stagnant lives while also staying afloat […]

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 […]

REVIEW: Crazy Rich Asians [2018]

“Family never says thank you” While I haven’t read Kevin Kwan‘s novel Crazy Rich Asians, I can definitely see why producers would have approached him with the note: “Where’s your white character?” It has all the usual romantic comedy beats from stranger in a stranger land antics, memorable supporting characters readying the “commoner” for an […]

REVIEW: Arizona [2018]

“Nothing but possibility” You should know going in that Jonathan Watson‘s Arizona is a comedy. It’s billed that way. Former “30 Rock” and current “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” writer Luke Del Tredici is responsible for the script. And Danny McBride has had his face plastered on all the marketing materials. But you wouldn’t be wrong for thinking […]

REVIEW: BlacKkKlansman [2018]

“Did you just use your real name?” The fact that Spike Lee‘s BlacKkKlansman is based on a true story is absolutely crazy. A black rookie cop in Colorado calls the Ku Klux Klan, wins them over with racist rhetoric, and talks his precinct chief into approving an investigation wherein a white officer would pretend to […]

REVIEW: C’est La Vie [2016]

“You don’t choose to be me” In the perfect complement to Basically, writer/director Ari Aster uses the same format of pitting his lead character against the camera for an incendiary diatribe about life, freedom, and oppression with C’est La Vie. Where the former centered upon a young, aspiring actress who proved a product of affluence […]

REVIEW: The Turtle’s Head [2014]

“She didn’t get the pun” What appeared an early misstep of juvenile comedic intent with TDF Really Works actually seems to be a glaring blind spot for writer/director Ari Aster after watching his short film The Turtle’s Head. There are few better than him today where using humor to augment the subversions of darker genres […]

REVIEW: Basically [2014]

“That’s just the rejection talking” Even the most vain and vapid have moments of clarity. Whether they prove to be intentional or not is the question. So is it because Shandy (Rachel Brosnahan) has more to her than what appearances reveal that she’s able to turn colorfully vindictive soliloquies into philosophical quandaries worth contemplating beyond […]