REVIEW: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs [2018]

“Well don’t let my white duds and pleasant demeanor fool ya” You know the whole enterprise will be a bit cheeky just by directors’ Joel and Ethan Coen‘s statement of intent. While explaining that their love for anthology movies stems from the format’s ability to unite multiple directors with a common theme, they admit their […]

REVIEW: Vox Lux [2018]

“Simply put: it was a hit” America lost its innocence on 9/11. It wasn’t an overnight thing, though. The gradual degradation of humanity on an ever-shrinking global landscape stewarded us there as school shootings and terrorist attacks grew with their weak links towards violent videogames rather than an otherwise Puritan sense of sex being worse […]

REVIEW: Zimna wojna [Cold War] [2018]

“Time doesn’t matter when you are in love” It’s critical to know that writer/director Pawel Pawlikowski loosely based his main characters in Zimna wojna [Cold War] on their namesakes: his parents. To know he acknowledges the fact that they were destructive together and lovesick apart makes the way in which the fictional Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) […]

REVIEW: リズと青い鳥 [Rizu to Aoi tori] [Liz and the Blue Bird] [2018]

“I hope that day never comes” The filmmakers behind リズと青い鳥 [Rizu to Aoi tori] [Liz and the Blue Bird] did a smart thing: they took an existing property (Ayano Takeda‘s novel series Sound! Euphonium which has subsequently become a manga, anime series, and film) and expanded upon two of its secondary characters by allowing them […]

REVIEW: Bohemian Rhapsody [2018]

“Good thoughts. Good words. Good deeds.” There’s the story of Freddie Mercury and the story of his band Queen. One deals with complicated topics spanning fractured identity, the excess of fame, and AIDS while the other is apparently straightforward with little conflict besides creative squabbles that get ironed out before the argument is even finished. […]

REVIEW: A Star Is Born [2018]

“I love the way she sees them” It began with Hollywood as William A. Wellman and Robert Carson won an Oscar for their story about a young actress dreaming of super stardom in 1937. From there it went the way of the movie musical thanks to Judy Garland taking the lead before earning six nominations […]

REVIEW: Blaze [2018]

“Never stand in the way of true love” You have to respect the way Ethan Hawke approached his latest film Blaze and its central character Blaze Foley. He’d never heard the artist’s name or music until being stopped in his tracks upon listening to John Prine cover “Clay Pigeons.” That sparked an interest for research […]

TIFF REVIEW: Teen Spirit [2019]

“Love’s not real” If you haven’t had enough underdog tales about kids from the wrong side of the tracks trying to make it big, Max Minghella‘s directorial debut Teen Spirit hits all the usual check marks to provide a stylish if familiar entry to the theme. There’s the likeable teen lead in Violet’s (Elle Fanning) […]

REVIEW: Hearts Beat Loud [2018]

“Whoopie pies and Spotify” It’s often at extreme times of upheaval that we find ourselves taking stock of our life, ambitions, and loves. While working hard to be successful enough to support our families, we have a tendency of leaving our dreams by the wayside and/or compartmentalizing our identities to serve the unavoidable pressures of […]

REVIEW: Itzhak [2018]

“The more you have in your heart, the more you have to give” Documentarian Alison Chernick has made a career of profiling artists from Jeff Koons and Matthew Barney in features to Roy Lichtenstein and Rick Rubin in shorts. Her latest subject is renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman—a victim of polio as a child in Israel […]

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 […]