TIFF17 REVIEW: Skyggenes Dal [Valley of Shadows] [2017]

“What we don’t understand scares us” Six year-old Aslak (Adam Ekeli) lives a quiet life with his single mother Astrid (Kathrine Fagerland) in a rural town adjacent to farmland and a mountaintop forest. He’s too young to understand all that’s happening around him—especially considering he’s generally told to keep away from the adults when they’re […]

REVIEW: The Dark Tower [2017]

“Turn and face me” It’s been twenty years since Wizard and Glass, the fourth published installment of Stephen King‘s The Dark Tower series—an epic fantasy backbone on which his entire bibliography rests. I finally made my way through it a couple years later, along with The Gunslinger, The Drawing of Three, and The Waste Lands […]

REVIEW: A Ghost Story [2017]

“I don’t remember” **SPOILERS** There’s a character (Will Oldham‘s ‘Prognosticator’) in David Lowery‘s A Ghost Story—a sparse meditation on life, love, grief, and death—who delivers a dissertation of that very film. Or at least what pedantically pretentious windbags such as he would think the film means in order to minimize art’s infinite power to profoundly […]

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 Mummy [2017]

“Death is a doorway and the past cannot be buried forever” A new cinematic universe is upon us—one I’m surprised took this long to materialize. The moniker is Dark Universe and it’s composed of all the classic Universal monsters from Dracula to Frankenstein to the Creature from the Black Lagoon as shepherded by producer Alex […]

REVIEW: Wonder Woman [2017]

“They don’t deserve you” October 1941. That’s the month William Moulton Marston‘s Wonder Woman debuted in All Star Comics #8. Yes, it’s taken seventy plus years to put her in movie theaters alongside contemporaries and equals Superman (created in 1938, onscreen in 1948 via serial) and Batman (created in 1939, onscreen in 1943 via serial). […]

REVIEW: The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King [2003]

“Some things are certain” It’s crazy how perception can be shifted over the years if your mind focuses on one specific attribute of something. I thought The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King was the weakest of the trilogy after seeing it in theaters (and still do), but not by a lot. […]

REVIEW: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers [2002]

“Not idly do the leaves of Lorien fall” The second part of a trilogy is oftentimes the worst. It exists in a no man’s land without beginning or end, a bridge we must wait for and wait further to continue that cannot survive on its own. So it’s therefore a rarity when this chapter possesses […]

REVIEW: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring [2001]

“Keep your nose out of trouble and no trouble will come to you” Published in 1955, The Lord of the Rings would soon prove to be J.R.R. Tolkien‘s masterwork. It took him twelve years to complete, a project that began as a sequel to The Hobbit before morphing into its own adventure steeped in dark […]

REVIEW: La tortue rouge [The Red Turtle] [2016]

Spoilers included There can be no denying the fact that Michael Dudok de Wit‘s La tortue rouge [The Red Turtle] is a gorgeous work of art. From the textured background paintings of rock, sand, and stars to the enchanting score by Laurent Perez Del Mar to the carefully measured fable of one man seeing life […]

REVIEW: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 [2017]

“It’s not ripe” The world of Guardians of the Galaxy proved a necessary shot of comic and action adrenaline for the Marvel Cinematic Universe back in 2014. It gave a breather from the Tony Stark crew, allowed the voice of an outsider in James Gunn to permeate the Hollywood machine, and introduced a level of […]