BERLINALE18 REVIEW: Cobain [2018]

“My little man” There’s a scene in Nanouk Leopold‘s Cobain where the titular fifteen year-old (Bas Keizer) tells his estranged, junkie mother Mia (Naomi Velissariou) that he wants to help. Her response is to ask whether she cares about what he does, the answer tragically understood before his mouth utters the word “No.” To watch […]

REVIEW: Pariah [2011]

“God doesn’t make mistakes” If you can’t tell how out-of-place Alike (Adepero Oduye) feels when staring slack-jawed at a pole dancer before escaping to a seat by the wall with phone open to check the time, you will when she all but pushes her friend Laura (Pernall Walker) off of the bus home to ensure […]

REVIEW: Entanglement [2018]

“Just let go” We’ve all asked the question: “What does our life mean?” Some of us do so out of curiosity, some out of boredom, and others from a place of desperation. Ben Layten (Thomas Middleditch) falls in the latter category after the wife he loved so deeply for many years leaves him for another […]

REVIEW: The Silent Child [2017]

“Orange juice” Director Chris Overton and writer Rachel Shenton pull no punches with their short on deaf awareness entitled The Silent Child. What could have been a cloying piece about parents thawing to the realities of a life they pretend they’re too busy to see with eyes open proves a rather bleak depiction of how […]

REVIEW: Watu Wote [All of Us] [2017]

“You’ll have to kill us all” It’s dispiriting to constantly watch as Muslims are forced to defend themselves against the bigotry of Catholics who blindly reject their entire religion as one synonymous with terrorism. Looking back upon history (and the present) to see the horrors committed by Christians under the guise of “acts of God” […]

REVIEW: My Nephew Emmett [2017]

“Take me instead” Everyone knows or should know who Emmett Till was. Many label his death as a major catalyst for what would become the Civil Rights movement—it occurring in August 1955 with the Montgomery bus boycott following in December. At only fourteen years of age this Chicago native was accused of whistling and flirting […]

REVIEW: DeKalb Elementary [2017]

“We’re all gonna die today” There’s a moment in Reed Van Dyk‘s DeKalb Elementary where the young, mentally unstable white male shooter (Bo Mitchell‘s Steven Hall) exits the school in search of a suicide-by-cop scenario. He opens fire on the police—receiving bullets in return—until the courageously calm black female receptionist (Tarra Riggs‘ Cassandra Rice) asks […]

REVIEW: The Strange Thing About the Johnsons [2011]

“I’m sorry if this is weird” How do you show someone that what he considers innocent or “normal” is anything but? You flip it. You turn the victim into perpetrator and vice versa so that they can begin to understand the position they so involuntarily place others in as though it’s their right. But even […]

REVIEW: The Commuter [2018]

“One little thing” If the timeline is to be believed, the fourth meet-up between director Jaume Collet-Serra and Liam Neeson entitled The Commuter was the result of the latter rather than the former. Byron Willinger and Philip de Blasi‘s story went through the hands of at least two other stewards as well as a rewrite […]

REVIEW: Ava [2017]

“They won’t spoil our summer” Knowing your sight will leave you prematurely is a tough pill to swallow. Being told at age thirteen that the process had sped up to the point where all night vision would be gone by summer’s end is nothing short of devastating. Unfortunately this is the news Ava (Noée Abita) […]

REVIEW: Phantom Thread [2017]

“You found me” I’m not sure there’s a better director working today than Paul Thomas Anderson. I don’t say this as a long-time fan that calls Magnolia his favorite film of all-time. I say it as someone who’s watched his career expand and evolve in orchestration, aesthetic, tone, and performance. There’s an air about his […]