BIFF19 REVIEW: The True Adventures of Wolfboy [2020]

“That’s some … kind of beautiful” Denny (Chris Messina) tells his teenage son Paul (Jaeden Martell) to stand tall with dignity and never run away. Meant as inspiration with a sympathetic heart, these words fall flat because he’s trying to solve the wrong problem—his inability to truly understand Paul’s uniquely personal perspective leading him astray. […]

REVIEW: Jauja [2014]

“The desert devours everything” Colonialism, Manifest Destiny, and any other act by a foreign nation to claim the land of an indigenous people as its own are performed with a desire for power and prosperity. It’s about ego and entitlement—the search to create a mythology that glosses over genocide for the “heroism” of a brute […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Tenki no ko [Weathering with You] [2019]

“Or maybe not not” Teenagers get plenty of flack these days with derogatory labels thrust upon them by older generations refusing to truly look outside their window at how much the world has changed. They’ve a lot to shoulder with the pressure of living up to impossible and antiquated expectations, confusion as to a future […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Entwined [2019]

“I long for the old ways” The death of their father triggers Panos (Prometheus Aleifer) and half-brother George (John De Holland) to take stock. The latter wants to stick together and move forward while the former chooses to start anew. Panos is a doctor who now recognizes the delicacy of life too well and wants […]

REVIEW: Les îles [Islands] [2018]

“Tell me you want me” Winner of the Queer Palm at Cannes 2017 for short film, Yann Gonzalez‘s Les îles [Islands] delivers eroticism in many forms. From one scene of intimacy to the next, he lets his camera follow characters into the throes of sex before pulling out to show how one’s pleasures are another’s […]

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: 白蛇:緣起 [Baishe: Yuanqi] [White Snake] [2019]

“Do you ever have to do what you don’t want to do?” Filmmakers Amp Wong, Ji Zhao (directors), and Damao (screenwriter) have taken the Chinese fable Legend of the White Snake and reformatted it into a prequel/remake with sequel possibilities (if a mid-credits sequence is any indication). The concept of reincarnation keeps the characters the […]

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: DreadOut [2019]

“Don’t you dare say those words” Malignant forces within Catholic tales of evil generally seek to create Hell on Earth by finding a host willing to read the ancient words serving as their key. It’s therefore rare to receive scenes of demonic possession wherein a writhing body with black fluid spewing from its mouth screams […]

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: Jade’s Asylum [2019]

“You’re the one who brought sand to the beach” We don’t get our bearings as far as locale and characters go until a little ways into Alexandre Carrière‘s Jade’s Asylum. While we’ve already met Jade (Morgan Kohan) and her boyfriend Toby (Kjartan Hewitt) in the midst of a fight wherein he blames his infidelity on […]

REVIEW: Yesterday [2019]

“Have you got coke?” Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) has dreams of singer/songwriter stardom, but this Clacton-on-Sea native is lucky if one person besides best friend/manager Ellie (Lily James) and their mates Nick (Harry Michell) and Carol (Sophia Di Martino) is actually listening to “Summer Song” let alone enjoying it at gigs. That’s the pitfall of […]

REVIEW: Dark Phoenix [2019]

“What did you do to her?” Hollywood franchise filmmaking really is a frustrating system insofar as allowing good source material room to breathe. That’s not to say it doesn’t sometimes work too, though. Look at Twentieth Century Fox’s cinematic X-Men saga for instance. After hitting a comic book high with X2, the desire for more […]

REVIEW: Godzilla: King of the Monsters [2019]

“This will not bring him back to us” Here’s the thing. Godzilla vs. Kong was announced way back in 2015—a year after Godzilla released and two before Kong: Skull Island. Warner Bros. wasn’t taking their time rolling out the MonsterVerse and thus guaranteed we knew the big bad reptile and big bad mammal would eventually […]