REVIEW: Becoming Jane [2007]

“Are there no other women in Hampshire?” I had never seen Julian Jarrold‘s Becoming Jane before today and yet my constantly being hit with a sense of familiarity while watching made me question that truth. The reason stems from the fact that screenwriters Kevin Hood and Sarah Williams crafted their tale of young Jane Austen […]

REVIEW: A Star Is Born [2018]

“I love the way she sees them” It began with Hollywood as William A. Wellman and Robert Carson won an Oscar for their story about a young actress dreaming of super stardom in 1937. From there it went the way of the movie musical thanks to Judy Garland taking the lead before earning six nominations […]

REVIEW: Appropriate Behavior [2015]

“I hate so many things too” It would be easy to minimize the broken relationship at the heart of Desiree Akhavan‘s debut feature Appropriate Behavior to Shirin’s (Akhavan) inability to come out as bisexual to her traditional Iranian parents. This is obviously a factor after watching her ex-girlfriend’s (Rebecca Henderson‘s Maxine) increasing frustrations via flashbacks […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: If Beale Street Could Talk [2018]

“Flesh of each other’s flesh” Fonny Hunt (Stephan James) puts out his arms for a hug upon seeing an old friend in Daniel (Brian Tyree Henry) after too much time and too many men their age have passed. Smiles and laughter enter the scene before they are soon replaced by beers and reminiscing. And then […]

REVIEW: The Miseducation of Cameron Post [2018]

“There’s no hiding from God” “Separation of church and state” has always fascinated me since the only consistency within is the ability to pick and choose when and how it’s enforced. We’re the “land of the free” and therefore shouldn’t impose certain laws and safeties upon religious communities trying to practice their faith. But when […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Where Hands Touch [2018]

“I want her to be like everyone else: unremarkable” Now is not the time to make a film romanticizing Nazism or allowing anyone who donned the swastika during World War II a modicum of sympathy. I’d argue there could never be such a time—at least not for those who say they felt bad but still […]

REVIEW: Crazy Rich Asians [2018]

“Family never says thank you” While I haven’t read Kevin Kwan‘s novel Crazy Rich Asians, I can definitely see why producers would have approached him with the note: “Where’s your white character?” It has all the usual romantic comedy beats from stranger in a stranger land antics, memorable supporting characters readying the “commoner” for an […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: 소공녀 [So-gong-nyeo] [Microhabitat] [2018]

“Seems like you’re living a fantasy” What do you need to survive? It’s a common question we all ask ourselves—one that goes beyond the basic tenets of food, water, shelter, and human interaction. I’m talking about the things we cherish enough to put them before everything else. It could be freedom, hobbies, love, or art. […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: 打ち上げ花火、下から見るか? 横から見るか? [Uchiage hanabi, shita kara miru ka? Yoko kara miru ka?] [Fireworks] [2017]

“If …” In a nation of repressed emotions, three young teens find themselves confronting their feelings at what might be their last opportunity to do so. Shy Norimichi (Masaki Suda) can’t stop himself from starring at Nazuna (Suzu Hirose) while his more confident best friend Yûsuke (Mamoru Miyano) admits to wanting to declare his love […]

REVIEW: The Virgin Suicides [2000]

“Obviously, Doctor, you’ve never been a 13-year-old girl” With all the accolades bestowed upon writer/director Sofia Coppola these past two decades, only an idiot would question her worth by saying she’s little more than her Hollywood royalty name. Those who said it back in 1999 as her debut feature The Virgin Suicides made the festival […]

REVIEW: Siberia [2018]

“So sorry for the bird” The question is asked with a wry grin, but Katya (Ana Ularu) isn’t wrong to joke that the mysterious, handsome American who walked into her small Siberian town’s café is a spy. Any other film besides Matthew Ross‘ Siberia would have made Lucas Hill (Keanu Reeves) exactly that—especially now with […]