REVIEW: 大鱼海棠 [Dayu haitang] [Big Fish & Begonia] [2016]

“Without happiness, what’s the meaning of longevity?” In 2004, directors Xuan Liang and Chun Zhang created a Flash animation for an online contest. From there they would expand it into a feature length film steeped in Chinese supernatural legend. And despite some funding snags over its twelve-year production schedule, 大鱼海棠 [Dayu haitang] [Big Fish & […]

REVIEW: Fourplay [2018]

“We are victims of our own faults” It starts with the mixture of excitement and fear the result of a positive pregnancy test delivers before quickly moving into an impromptu hallway dance that ends with a crash of glass and a smack across the face. I’m not sure a better beginning to Dean Matthew Ronalds‘ […]

REVIEW: Aala Kaf Ifrit [Beauty and the Dogs] [2017]

“What law forbids a human being from seeing a doctor?” Fear should never be underestimated as a means for oppression or motivation because there are few emotions more potent. This is why totalitarian regimes use it as a weapon to silence those who dare find the courage to stand up for their rights. They sow […]

REVIEW: Medicine for Melancholy [2009]

“It’s funny cause it’s not funny” We meet Micah (Wyatt Cenac) and Joanne (Tracey Heggins) without any context beyond the obvious fact that they slept together the night before. They’ve awakened in someone else’s bed, eventually taking turns in the bathroom to brush their teeth with their fingers. She seems embarrassed, covering up and staying […]

REVIEW: Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench [2010]

“Tell me what you think” I must have missed something. How does Damien Chazelle‘s debut feature Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench warrant any praise besides its context within La La Land‘s history? I say this as a Chazelle fan too. I think Whiplash was one of the best works of the decade and […]

REVIEW: Love, Simon [2018]

“You’re still you” There have been crazier premises for coming-of-age romantic comedies than having the lead fall in love via email with someone they’re afraid they’ll never meet. Unrequited love is nothing new to the genre and neither is an escalating series of mishaps and intentionally misleading manipulation on behalf of the lead towards his […]

REVIEW: I Kill Giants [2018]

“We’re stronger than we think” While the main creative force behind I Kill Giants is unquestionably screenwriter Joe Kelly (whose limited comic series of the same name alongside artist J.M. Ken Niimura is the basis for his script), director Anders Walter‘s Oscar-winning short Helium shows he’s hardly a stranger to its subject matter. These two […]

REVIEW: The Party [2017]

“Another announcement. Good God.” I admire what Sally Potter is trying to do with her black comedy The Party as experiment. She’s placed a group of friends with different political, economic, and romantic views into a single room, hanging a secret(s) over their heads with the potential to destroy their individual and communal identities. They’re […]

REVIEW: La montaña sagrada [The Holy Mountain] [1973]

“You are excrement. You can change yourself into gold.” To wish an art film took itself more seriously seems counterproductive considering most art films have their head so far up their backside that it would be impossible for them to do so. I love Matthew Barney‘s Cremaster series because it is so excessively pretentious and […]

REVIEW: Mohawk [2018]

“In my experience it’s the white man who does the scalping” War is an interesting concept wherein life is both priceless and worthless depending upon which side you call yours. When it’s a matter of taking something that you want but do not possess, those who currently hold it are expendable. And when they fight […]

REVIEW: Annihilation [2018]

“Sometimes it’s beautiful” Reflections have been the subject of many fantasies whether it’s Through the Looking-Glass or Poltergeist III. The notion that a double exists in a different world conjures an unavoidable eeriness and the possibility of usurpation wherein fiction could become truth. It’s easy to therefore see the inherent duality as a good versus […]