REVIEW: JT LeRoy [2019]

“I wouldn’t even exist without her” It really is a wild story. Laura Albert, in need of expressing her pain outside of her own identity, creates a fictional version of herself to write three novels as exorcism under “his” name. Who knows if she anticipated the type of acclaim they and “he” would receive, but […]

REVIEW: The Curse of La Llorona [2019]

“She’s already here” When Warner Bros. decided to capitalize on the box office and critical success of James Wan‘s The Conjuring by crafting an extended universe of creepy spirits with a feature length tale born from that film’s prologue, the results were not great. Annabelle felt rushed at best and retrofitted at worst—a generic horror […]

REVIEW: Peterloo [2018]

“Let’s see what he has to say” Films devoid of main protagonists are generally created as such because the event orbited by their ensemble of characters proves the focal point instead. So when that central moment is a massacre, you must brace for the reality that many will end up victims left for dead. The […]

REVIEW: Missing Link [2019]

“What chicken?” With Laika CEO Travis Knight branching out to live-action on Bumblebee, it was only right that Chris Butler would carry the studio’s fifth feature film after the ambitious undertaking that was Kubo and the Two Strings (which the former directed and the latter co-wrote). Missing Link also becomes Butler’s follow-up to ParaNorman—my personal […]

REVIEW: Little Woods [2019]

“Your choices are only as good as your options” There’s a great documentary about what life is like in the fracking boomtowns of North Dakota entitled The Overnighters. In it we witness an example of humanity at its simultaneous best and worst. Desperate men seeking an escape from troubles back home arrive to find a […]

REVIEW: Rafiki [2018]

“We’re going to be something real” Some will dismiss Wanuri Kahiu‘s Rafiki as derivative simply because they refuse to see what makes it so special. They’ll mention its Romeo and Juliet parallel as far as having the children of opposing political candidates fall in love. They’ll compare it to generic love stories—and generic gay love […]

REVIEW: The Garden Left Behind [2019]

“Why are you here?” What’s mostly a vérité document of lead character Tina’s (Carlie Guevara) trajectory towards chemically transitioning from male to female despite being an undocumented immigrant in an expensive city like New York, Flavio Alves‘ The Garden Left Behind is also a rather potent expression of humanity’s collective dysphoria. Tina is at the […]

REVIEW: Hellboy [2019]

“It looked bigger in the cartoon” There’s no getting around the fact that Lionsgate did Guillermo del Toro dirty by not extending him an invitation to complete his Hellboy vision with a third film. Whether their decision was due to whatever rubric used to measure the franchise’s success (that they’d willingly reboot the property so […]

REVIEW: Amazing Grace [2019]

“We want you to let the folks know you’re here” Released in 1972, Aretha Franklin‘s live album with Reverend James Cleveland and the Southern California Community Choir entitled Amazing Grace took the country by storm selling over two million copies in America alone on its way to double platinum certification. Knowing it was going to […]

REVIEW: 情牽拉麵茶 [Ramen Teh] [Ramen Shop] [2018]

“He kept her memory alive with every bowl of ramen” While Eric Khoo‘s Ramen Teh [Ramen Shop] is at its core a story about a young man looking to reclaim a part of his heritage that was lost, it’s also a rather poignant account of the lasting scars of war and the struggle to separate […]

REVIEW: Mary Magdalene [2018]

“I wish there were a demon inside me” I’m a non-practicing Catholic who hasn’t paid attention in Church since earning my First Communion, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that the adjective my mind encounters upon hearing the name Mary Magdalene is “prostitute.” It’s the word the church purposefully utilized to erase her from Jesus […]