FANTASIA17 REVIEW: 帝一の國 [Teiichi no kuni] [Teiichi: Battle of Supreme High] [2017]

“Could any man dream for more?” We are defined by moments, decisions made by us or for us by another. For Teiichi Akaba (Masaki Suda) it was always the choice between love of the piano (his mother’s passion) and a desire to please his father (Kôtarô Yoshida‘s Josuke Akaba) by following a path towards political […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: Tragedy Girls [2017]

“To make an omelet you have to kill some ex-boyfriends” You’re a couple of horror obsessed high school seniors living in a boring town where the most salacious thing happening is an affair between your teacher Mrs. Kent (Nicky Whelan) and fire chief Big Al (Craig Robinson). You’re vlog/twitter account searching for gore to capture […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: Lowlife [2017]

“It is my great honor to grant you your wish on such a special day” An ex-junkie, ex-convict, and luchador enter a fish taco shack … the punch line is a three-pronged adventure through Compton while engulfed by the shadow of a lunatic pimp moonlighting as a black market organ wholesaler. Director Ryan Prows and […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: La noche del virgen [Night of the Virgin] [2016]

“To the strangers who crossed paths” Don’t mess with a Nepali “cantara” on New Year’s—especially if you’re a virgin. Had young Nico (Javier Bódalo) only been warned, he might have avoided the worst nightmare of his life. While his virginity wasn’t for a lack of trying (or spilled drinks, vomit, and curt rebukes), somehow surviving […]

REVIEW: The Hero [2017]

“You can’t outrun destiny, amigo” Death is the great equalizer and one true certainty in life. That doesn’t mean we’re prepared for its sudden or prolonged arrival, though. If anything it forces us to take stock of achievements and mistakes, knowing that the time we believed we had to fix the latter was about to […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: Dead Shack [2017]

“I think when the blood’s black there’s no going back” I like when a director knows what he/she wants from his/her film—even if the goal is to entertain on a level that ensures its legacy falls short of cinematic greatness. Some of my favorite movies are those that demand to be re-watched not for comprehension’s […]

REVIEW: The Big Sick [2017]

“Always with the comedy” A lot of romantic comedies release each year—a lot. And they’re generally all the same with characters built from stereotypes rather than a writer’s personal experience. The ones that stick out are therefore those that arrive from the heart with something true to say. They’re the few possessing the honesty to […]

REVIEW: Despicable Me 3 [2017]

“I love the combination of Gummy Bears and meat” You have to give Illumination credit because they chose to cultivate an animated niche able to set them apart from Pixar rather than simply seek to copy their blueprint. Their path brings them closer to Dreamworks and yet we can still pick out the difference because […]

REVIEW: Rough Night [2017]

“Our kids are going to play together” I wasn’t expecting much out of “Broad City” co-writer/director Lucia Aniello‘s feature length debut Rough Night, but even low expectations run into the possibility of not quite being met. A big part of this stemmed from my anticipation of a dark comedy, one that might have the chops […]

REVIEW: Cars 3 [2017]

“I call you my senior project” I know I’m in the critical minority when admitting my enjoyment of the Cars franchise, but I honestly do. It’s not even that I am a “car guy” either—I’ve never seen the appeal of them beyond their utility as a transportation vehicle. So my enjoyment of the first film […]

REVIEW: Krisha [2016]

“Them cars are getting faster and them wings are getting weaker” While it may not be autobiographical in a plot sense, no one can watch Trey Edward Shults‘ debut Krisha without a full recognition of its honesty and authenticity as far as the emotional turmoil running through the writer/director’s mind. I say this more than […]