REVIEW: Bless Their Little Hearts [1984]

“I’m tired, tired, tired. Start trying to be a man.” There’s no getting around the connection that binds Billy Woodberry‘s Bless Their Little Hearts to Charles Burnett‘s Killer of Sheep. Both were written by Burnett, shot in Watts, and entries in the movement known as the “LA Rebellion”. They both deal with the struggle to […]

REVIEW: Killer of Sheep [1978]

“Now that ain’t me … and damn sure won’t be” It’s not everyday that a masters thesis film is declared a national treasure by the Library of Congress and placed on the National Film Registry, but films like Charles Burnett‘s Killer of Sheep don’t come along everyday either. Shot on weekends over a year in […]

REVIEW: Dunkirk [2017]

“He may never be himself again” War is often depicted as a quantifiable number of those who survived and those who did not. Many films choose this route, picking a battle to show the firefight’s chaos and cost. We remember the Battle of Gettysburg and D-Day as turning points, insane offensives that wrought heavy casualties […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: 악녀 [Ak-Nyeo] [The Villainess] [2017]

“You came alone?” Writer/director Byung-gil Jung sure knows how to open an action flick. Think Oldboy‘s hallway scene from the first-person perspective of Hardcore Henry spilling over through a non-descript doorway into a wide-open setting for a one-on-twenty bloodbath a la Kill Bill‘s House of Blue Leaves sequence. Only when the orchestrator of this carnage […]

REVIEW: War for the Planet of the Apes [2017]

“We are the beginning and the end” I’ve never seen the original Planet of the Apes films, but the little I know has always presented the titular apes as antagonists. You don’t cast Charlton Heston as your lead circa 1968 unless you want him to be the central figure with which to align. He’s a […]

REVIEW: The Beguiled [2017]

“I didn’t want you to be misled” There’s a lot to like about Don Siegel‘s 1971 adaptation of Thomas Cullinan‘s A Painted Devil. Unfortunately, there’s just as much left wanting. It built towards a tense finale of malicious intent, the kind that’s able to turn what was a simple wartime drama into a metaphorical representation […]

REVIEW: The Beguiled [1971]

“Old enough for kisses” If you’ve ever wondered what would happen inside a Confederate girls seminary (boarding school) unwittingly thrust into the position of harboring a wounded Union soldier during the Civil War, Don Siegel‘s The Beguiled seeks to provide some dark answers. Based on Thomas Cullinan‘s novel A Painted Devil and adapted by Albert […]

REVIEW: The Book of Henry [2017]

“I want to see the sky” There’s a lot of backlash against director Colin Trevorrow for reasons he didn’t necessarily earn. Most of the vitriol stems from his being scooped up by the Hollywood studio machine after helming just one indie film. That debut was the Sundance award-winning Safety Not Guaranteed, a small-scale sci-fi written […]

REVIEW: Lucky [2017]

“You do something out of need and it becomes a habit along the way” It’s taken five years for Lucky (Bari Kang) to save the money and find the footing—no matter how much illegal activity both pursuits warranted—necessary to acquire a bride believable enough to fool INS and earn his green card. He has a […]

REVIEW: Moscow Never Sleeps [2015]

“You can’t just pretend I never existed” Writer/director Johnny O’Reilly found himself in Russia during college and decided to stay despite Hollywood opportunities after releasing his debut narrative feature The Weather Station. He sought to film a personal story set in his adoptive home Moscow, one that would touch upon its myriad complexities. So he […]

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 […]