BIFF19 REVIEW: Malaisia [2019]

“This side of the Mississippi” There’s a joke told about a third of the way through Mac Cappuccino‘s film Malaisia. It’s bad. Jay Schmidt is the one laying out the excessive amount of exposition while his compatriot (Kevin Guzewich) looks on in exasperation—at one point even interrupting his interminable drone with an interjection to break […]

BIFF19 REVIEW: The Sympathy Card [2019]

“Consider it a death-bed order” It’s an unorthodox but sweetly unsurprising premise: the cancer-stricken Emma (Petey J. Gibson) demands her wife Josie (Nika Ezell Pappas) meet someone new so she won’t become a lonely widow without love. This turn of events doesn’t surprise because writer/director Brendan Boogie already presented the unbelievably awkward way in which […]

BIFF19 REVIEW: Rendezvous in Chicago [2019]

“The whole point of this game is to look” There’s a reason the first word in Michael Glover Smith‘s triptych Rendezvous in Chicago isn’t pluralized despite consisting of three distinct stories. It stems from the fact that Smith sought to close out his cinematic trilogy about on-screen relationships and communications within (Cool Apocalypse and Mercury […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Tenki no ko [Weathering with You] [2019]

“Or maybe not not” Teenagers get plenty of flack these days with derogatory labels thrust upon them by older generations refusing to truly look outside their window at how much the world has changed. They’ve a lot to shoulder with the pressure of living up to impossible and antiquated expectations, confusion as to a future […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Entwined [2019]

“I long for the old ways” The death of their father triggers Panos (Prometheus Aleifer) and half-brother George (John De Holland) to take stock. The latter wants to stick together and move forward while the former chooses to start anew. Panos is a doctor who now recognizes the delicacy of life too well and wants […]

REVIEW: Un couteau dans le coeur [Knife+Heart] [2018]

“She’s playing with real life” Anne Parèze (Vanessa Paradis) has ruined her love. What she’s done to push Loïs (Kate Moran) away is unknown, but her desperation ensures we know she was dumped and not the dumper. Whatever happened hasn’t soured their relationship completely, however. Loïs still cares enough about Anne as a person and […]

FANTASIA19 REVIEW: 白蛇:緣起 [Baishe: Yuanqi] [White Snake] [2019]

“Do you ever have to do what you don’t want to do?” Filmmakers Amp Wong, Ji Zhao (directors), and Damao (screenwriter) have taken the Chinese fable Legend of the White Snake and reformatted it into a prequel/remake with sequel possibilities (if a mid-credits sequence is any indication). The concept of reincarnation keeps the characters the […]

REVIEW: Anastasia [1997]

“In the dark of the night she’ll be gone” In a fantasy world where royalty was adored as idyllically benevolent leaders thinking only about how to protect and serve their people, the Romanovs were betrayed by the evil Rasputin (Christopher Lloyd) who subsequently consorted with the Devil to wield dark magic powerful enough to curse […]

REVIEW: Last Night [1998]

“Would it hurt you to play along just once?” The cause might be unnamed, but the fact it’s still sunny at midnight guarantees the giant star at the center of our solar system is going supernova (whether or not physics deems it possible). Because all life on Earth will cease in a predetermined instant, you […]

REVIEW: สุดเสน่หา [Sud sanaeha] [Blissfully Yours] [2002]

“I feel like hitting someone” After witnessing the arrest of two young Burmese women while shooting his previous film in Bangkok, Apichatpong Weerasethakul decided to create a new work depicting the political injustice caused by growing tensions between Thailand’s government and illegal immigrants. Because those familiar with his oeuvre know he’s built his career upon […]

REVIEW: Ophelia [2019]

“Why do the hens peck at you?” A lover distraught and driven to madness after her father’s murder at the hand of the man she loves, himself destined to die by order of his uncle: Denmark’s unjust and power-hungry king. This is Ophelia’s fate within William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, a woman used to mourn and incite […]