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 […]

REVIEW: Le notti del terrore [Burial Ground] [1981]

“It’s a walking corpse!” The earth trembles and graves open just like Ragno Nero (Black Spider) foretold when talking about a non-descript “they” joining the living as messengers of death. A professor (Raimondo Barbieri) catalyzes this event when an underground discovery releases a horde of zombies onto him and the three couples he had already […]

REVIEW: Stockholm [2019]

“The party has begun” The names have been changed. That might not mean much since “true stories” generally do that by making composites of certain characters to give the drama a more cinematic feel, but it means a lot here considering the topic at-hand: Stockholm syndrome. It’s a complex subject dealing with the notion that […]

REVIEW: The Man Who Killed Don Quixote [2019]

“You think explaining explains anything?” I’ve just finished watching it and yet I still can’t believe Terry Gilliam actually completed The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. If you told me I had dreamt it all I would give pause because it’s been over twenty years in the making and its cursed production schedules have become […]

REVIEW: Pet Sematary [2019]

“I just wanted to be a family again” Remakes are often thankless jobs because you’re stuck trying to live up to or best your predecessor while also creating something wholly different. Most attempts based on literary works are able to fall back on the clichéd notion of “returning to the source” as though the first […]

REVIEW: Aladdin [1992]

“We’ve all got swords” I forgot how refreshingly simple Aladdin is. Disney and Pixar utilize such elaborate narrative set-ups today that their films don’t rely on charm and fun alone anymore. That’s not to say this one does since its ability to put its hero and heroine on equal footing rather than blindly relegating the […]