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 […]

REVIEW: 12 Strong [2018]

“There are no right choices here” War films generally come in two varieties: a gray introspective look at its emotional and psychological cost and black and white jingoistic propaganda. The former is generally acclaimed as award worthy while the latter is dumped during winter months so its target audience of NRA-loving Republicans in American flag […]

REVIEW: Sweet Country [2018]

“What chance have we got?” Director Warwick Thornton immediately connected to childhood friend and co-writer David Tranter‘s (with Steven McGregor) script because it provided an authentic context for the historical treatment of their indigenous Central Australian tribes. Based on stories passed down by Tranter’s grandfather as well as Wilaberta Jack’s true life 1920s self-defense killing […]

REVIEW: All the Money in the World [2017]

“‘Thank you’ is for strangers” It’s impossible to see a disclaimer at the end of an “inspired by” film reiterating with more direct language about how the “truth” has been altered without assuming the majority of what I just saw never really happened. Ridley Scott fades to black on a seething Michelle Williams before two […]

REVIEW: River of Grass [1995]

“Murder is thicker than marriage” I wasn’t sure what to expect from Kelly Reichardt‘s debut feature River of Grass considering I’ve never quite been able to appreciate her films’ glacial pacing. It’s never made me hate anything of hers that I’ve seen, but it definitely had me checking out of Wendy and Lucy too often […]

REVIEW: アンチポルノ [Anchiporuno] [Antiporno] [2017]

“Go on without me” Escape while you’re young because the longer you wait the more trapped you become. In this way we’re all lizards encased in glass bottles—a motif that runs throughout Sion Sono‘sアンチポルノ [Anchiporuno] [Antiporno], the director’s entry into Nikkatsu’s “Roman Porno” reboot forty years after giving birth to the genre. It’s during adolescence […]

REVIEW: 120 battements par minute [BPM (Beats per Minute)] [2017]

“You can’t split responsibility” At one point during Robin Campillo‘s 120 battements par minute [BPM (Beats per Minute)] a high school girl tells a group of ACT UP Paris members that she doesn’t have to worry about AIDS because she’s not gay. It’s a horrific glimpse at the unconscionable lack of information sexually active teenagers […]