REVIEW: Dig! [2004]

“We’ve got a full-scale revolution going on” The mid to late 90s introduced both The Dandy Warhols and The Brian Jonestown Massacre—two buzzed bands touted to take the world by storm. Their pop culture reference-laden monikers united to form a two-headed rock and roll Renaissance beast of pure post-modern musicianship and set them onto the […]

REVIEW: The Decemberists: A Practical Handbook [2006] & Pendarvia [2011]

“Whiskey, weed, and fine cocaine” It wasn’t until the end of 2006 or the beginning of 2007 that I finally discovered indie-folk act The Decemberists. Yes, I was very late to the game. Already with three albums under their belt, the newest—The Crane Wife—captivated me completely. It’s sprawling, ambitious progressive folk stylings were right up […]

REVIEW: Happy Feet Two [2011]

“Sometimes you have to back up to go forward” It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I loathed Happy Feet. As a concept the film seemed quite solid—cute penguins dancing, a modern soundtrack to tap along with, the comedy stylings of Robin Williams—but the final result was an ambush of politics and sexuality […]

REVIEW: The Nightmare Before Christmas [1993]

“Curiosity killed the cat, you know” Born from a poem written in the early 80s while Tim Burton was still working as a Disney animator, The Nightmare Before Christmas was a project the auteur wasn’t going to let lay dormant anymore. After finding success with his signature style in the likes of Beetlejuice and Batman, […]

VIFF11 REVIEW: Inni [2011]

“We’re a very serious heavy metal band—and we worship the devil” If you go into Inni thinking you’ll receive Heima Part 2, you either be sadly disappointed or extremely grateful because it is anything but. Rather than show us Sigur Rós’ atmospherically sumptuous music against the gorgeous expanse of their Icelandic homeland, director Vincent Moriset […]

REVIEW: Footloose [1984]

“When you burn all these—what are you going to do then?” Almost three decades later, I have to acknowledge the fact that Footloose is dated. I don’t say it to be derogatory or to admit some hidden yearning I have to see it remade—which it was—but instead to simply state a fact. It’s dated; I’m […]

FILM MARATHON: Movie Musicals #12: The King and I [1956]

“Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera” You don’t get much more dated than the 1956 musical edition of The King and I. Through all the pomp and circumstance, it’s the trite storyline of a wannabe-modern king and the British school teacher who thaws his barbaric ways that comes through. All that’s wrong with the Western world is brought […]

FILM MARATHON: Movie Musicals #11: Victor Victoria [1982]

“I’d sleep with you for a meatball” You’re down on your luck, famished, and unable to get a job despite having a voice like no other. What do you do? Victoria Grant (Julie Andrews) is asking herself that very question when we see her auditioning for Chez Lui—a dump populated by gangsters and hotheads that’s […]

FILM MARATHON: Movie Musicals #10: Bugsy Malone [1976]

“I’ve spent my entire life coming back tomorrow” A director with a career infused by music for three decades, Alan Parker’s feature length debut came in the form of Bugsy Malone. Completely populated by kids under seventeen, it’s a gangster film that exists as though in an alternate reality, working on all levels whether treated […]

FILM MARATHON: Movie Musicals #9: Singin’ in the Rain [1952]

“Dignity, always dignity” With just two Oscar nominations—for supporting actress and musical score—the lack of love for Singin’ in the Rain at its release shouldn’t be too surprising. Crafted by MGM’s Arthur Freed to reuse the songs he and Nacio Herb Brown wrote for a slew of musicals in the 1930s, the film feels like […]

FILM MARATHON: Movie Musicals #8: Yankee Doodle Dandy [1942]

“The first thing I ever had in my hand was an American flag” Shortly after the events at Pearl Harbor thrust America into World War II, a film was released that both paid respect to one of the true patriots of our country and gave the new contingent of men sailing off to fight a […]