REVIEW: Brimstone & Glory [2017]

“This one has gunpowder in his blood” The concept of The National Pyrotechnic Festival in Tultepec, Mexico is insane. For two days the town responsible for 90% of all fireworks in the nation plans an elaborate celebration in honor of their patron saint San Juan de Dios wherein they literally run into fire. First is […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Kingsway [2018]

“I’ve been on speaker?” Love and suicide. Those are the words director Bruce Sweeney says inspired him to write Kingsway and are very much at the forefront of his dramedy about the dysfunctional Horvat family. And both are treated with humor despite never in a way that belittles their respective import. It’s not about laughing […]

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 […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Freaks [2018]

“Go away ghost” It’s weird to think about a movie like Push today—an under-appreciated, much-maligned sci-fi that I’d argue is a lot better than the legacy it’s been given. The X-Men and Spider-Man trilogies had completed by the time it was released and Iron Man just hit theaters the year before to usher in what […]

VENICE18 REVIEW: Why Are We Creative? [2018]

“That’s the only question” The question that Hermann Vaske has asked for over two decades is a large one. Why Are We Creative? There’s no blanket answer—no right or wrong notion of the philosophical ramifications trying to put your own personal interpretation into words conjures. So it’s interesting that he would end his film with […]

REVIEW: The Bookshop [2017]

“Where there’s life, there’s hope” Looks are deceiving with Isabel Coixet‘s The Bookshop, an adaptation of Penelope Fitzgerald‘s Booker Prize-shortlisted novel from 1978. What appears to be a run-of-the-mill drama that will surely fall into the usual clichés of perseverance and eventual victory about a woman standing up to a small town of bullies that […]

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: Mandy [2018]

“It’s all but a beautiful dream” At some point during Panos Cosmatos‘ acid trip of a phantasmagoric horror Mandy you will start to wonder if you’re the one tripping on LSD. It could be when oily ghouls on motorcycles arrive with the call of a stone horn’s whistle or perhaps when a severed jugular sprays […]

REVIEW: Chasing the Blues [2018]

“How badly do you still want it?” The rarest of items can claim a collector’s soul if he/she isn’t careful. When that item—something thought to be merely myth—is held in your hands, you never know what you might do to ensure it stays there. Some collect for the thrill of the chase, others for the […]

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 […]