TIFF18 REVIEW: Das schönste Paar [The Most Beautiful Couple] [2018]

“Stay cool. Okay?” It starts with a rape. I won’t lie: I sighed thinking Sven Taddicken‘s Das schönste Paar [The Most Beautiful Couple] was going to end up another drama about coping and retribution like most others wherein Liv (Luise Heyer) struggles as Malte (Maximilian Brückner) protects. So it was a welcome surprise when we’re […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Cascos Indomables [Helmet Heads] [2018]

“There’s a spot on your face” If Broken Lizard were Central American and deadpan, they might make something akin to Ernesto Villalobos‘ Cascos Indomables [Helmet Heads]. Think an extremely droll Super Troopers meets Office Space starring a sextet of bike messengers desperately trying to break the monotony of their stagnant lives while also staying afloat […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Lof mér að falla [Let Me Fall] [2018]

“Then you’ll get the kick” Films about addiction can be tough to endure depending on how authentically harrowing the experience is drawn. They can only end in one of two ways: death or sobriety. The former can be literal or figurative depending on how deep the drug of choice has its claws fastened and the […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Les salopes ou le sucre naturel de la peau [Les Salopes or the Naturally Wanton Pleasure of Skin] [2018]

“In the end there are only human experiments” Can skin tell the difference between love and desire? It’s an intriguing question Marie-Claire (Brigitte Poupart) can’t help but want to answer as a dermatology professor and lover of sex if only to supply a reprieve from the usual carcinoma studies her doctorate students tediously gravitate towards. […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Blindsone [Blind Spot] [2018]

“Remember to breathe” The boldness of Tuva Novotny to choose to make her directorial debut a one-shot film of harrowing emotion cannot be understated. Her Blindsone [Blind Spot] takes us through the wringer as tragedy befalls a small, (seemingly) happy family without warning. These characters are distraught, confused, and falling to pieces as ambulances race […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Endzeit [Endzeit – Ever After] [2018]

“Go out and bury what haunts you” What if humanity’s apocalypse wasn’t the world’s end? We’ve become so used to treating ourselves as rulers of this planet despite knowing so little about it and the surrounding universe while also doing our best to destroy everything we touch. So what are we truly besides another in […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Un ange [Angel] [2018]

“I’d rather consider myself a gazelle” Two lost souls struggling to reconcile their image meet in Senegal by chance. One’s a prostitute—although she rejects the label and the registration card that’s as much a means to procure wealthy clients as a permanent brand upon her skin. The other is a world famous cyclist just recovered […]

VENICE18 REVIEW: Tumbbad [2018]

“Wake her up and ask yourself” As the Hindu folktale at the start of Rahi Anil Barve and Adesh Prasad‘s Tumbbad states: while the Goddess of Plenty birthed 160 million deities from her womb (Earth), the one she loved most is also the one that’s been erased from memory. His name is Hastar and he […]

REVIEW: Western [2017]

“What are you searching for here?” When a group of Germans enter rural Bulgaria on an assignment to divert water towards a new power plant, those unversed in the area and its history wouldn’t think too much about it. Those like me would assume whatever conflict at this story’s back would arise from differing languages […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Føniks [Phoenix] [2018]

“It has to be my turn sometime” If our best laid plans are said to often go awry, what happens to the ones we hastily make in desperation? Writer/director Camilla Strøm Henriksen looks to supply an answer to that very question with her feature debut Føniks [Phoenix] because desperation is all young Jill (Ylva Bjørkaas […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: ペンギン・ハイウェイ [Pengin Haiwei] [Penguin Highway] [2018]

“I might be too amazing for my own good” Adapted from Tomihiko Morimi‘s Nihon Science Fiction Taisho Award-winning novel from 2010, Penguin Highway takes us into a world barely unlike our own. Directed by Hiroyasu Ishida from Makoto Ueda‘s script, the film centers upon a Japanese fourth grader on the cusp of self-proclaimed greatness. With […]