REVIEW: Porto [2017]

“You never know if what you’ve lost is better than what you’ve gained” An American ex-pat reminisces about lost love, his walk through the Portuguese town of Porto leading to the café window of an old late-night conversation conducted with absolute honesty, vulnerability, and empathy. His hair is grayed, the time between widescreen past and […]

REVIEW: The Room [2003]

“Did you know chocolate is the symbol of love?” I didn’t think it could be this bad. How’s it possible? How could the hype not prove hyperbolic? How could there not be one redeeming aspect in the entirety of Tommy Wiseau‘s vision? But then you watch and discover it’s true. The Room is quite possibly […]

REVIEW: Princess Cyd [2017]

“You get to see where your mom came from” Tragedies are never isolated incidents with a single victim, perpetrator, and survivor left to remember (or forget) what happened. Oftentimes those roles expand to encompass multiple parties or even overlap in ways that let blame, hate, and forgiveness coexist. This scenario is only rendered truer when […]

REVIEW: The Mountain Between Us [2017]

“What kind of cookies?” Love is a powerful force. Surviving sub-zero temperatures without any food powerful, though? Is love that strong? My instinct automatically says no, but author Charles Martin may be working to prove that my gut simply isn’t as on point as those of his would-be survivors Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) and Dr. […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Disobedience [2018]

“We must then choose the tangled lives we live” It starts with a London-based rabbi speaking from his heart about the complexities of life. He stammers through—obviously ailing—until collapse. Suddenly we’re in New York City watching a photographer in-session with tattooed seniors. The phone rings and we know. She (Rachel Weisz‘s Ronit Krushka) is the […]

REVIEW: Columbus [2017]

“You grow up around something and it feels like nothing” I’m not sure there’s a better art form than architecture to really let first-time writer/director Kogonada feel at home behind the camera. The man who made his name with video “supercuts” showing aesthetic through-lines of auteurs like Terrence Malick, Wes Anderson, Stanley Kubrick, and Yasujirô […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: A Worthy Companion [2017]

“You don’t deserve any of it” Capturing the complexity of abuse is tough to accomplish when mainstream audiences clamor for black and white delineations between predator and prey. Some go the horror route for metaphorical terror focusing on the pursuer while others go dramatic for the helplessness of a victim unable to break free. Writer/directors […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: On Chesil Beach [2018]

“I wasn’t my family. I was me.” It’s 1962. Florence Ponting (Saoirse Ronan) and Edward Mayhew (Billy Howle) have just been married. She’s from a wealthy family and he a provincial one; her desire to be active in world affairs beyond her status’ ambivalence and his hope to be accepted as an intellectual with the […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Porcupine Lake [2017]

“Never ever squeal. That’s a rule.” Teenage Bea (Charlotte Salisbury) is in desperate need of an escape from her mundane, isolated life. We can assume Toronto’s big city living isn’t yet something she’s embraced due to her tendency for fainting spells whenever anxiety grows. Mom (Delphine Roussel‘s Ally) therefore keeps a tight leash, protecting her […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: Sequence Break [2017]

“Let the void look into you” Introversion and high anxiety are real and can be triggered by the tiniest of things or the lack thereof. Oz (Chase Williamson) has struggled with both his entire life, that insecurity in social situations driving him towards the world of videogames. The joy of solitude playing them and being […]

REVIEW: A Ghost Story [2017]

“I don’t remember” **SPOILERS** There’s a character (Will Oldham‘s ‘Prognosticator’) in David Lowery‘s A Ghost Story—a sparse meditation on life, love, grief, and death—who delivers a dissertation of that very film. Or at least what pedantically pretentious windbags such as he would think the film means in order to minimize art’s infinite power to profoundly […]