REVIEW: Atlantique [Atlantics] [2019]

“The spirits are scared of me” French writer/director Mati Diop made a documentary short ten years ago about a group of Senegalese friends who risk their lives to sail along the coast of Africa into Spain with the hope of better lives upon their arrival. It almost seems natural then that her first feature length […]

REVIEW: A Hidden Life [2019]

“We lived above the clouds” With notoriously long post-production periods due to his uniquely poetic editing style, Terrence Malick‘s three-hour WWII romance A Hidden Life may have actually benefited from its three-year delay as far as thematic relevance to current events is concerned. As a rising tide of fascistic totalitarianism takes hold of world governments […]

REVIEW: Little Women [2019]

“Fight to the end and be loud” Despite letting its sordid content embarrass her to the point of pretending to be a writer friend’s messenger, Jo March (Saoirse Ronan) can’t hide the excitement of earning twenty dollars her family desperately needs for a story she composed. With one sister married to a husband of modest […]

REVIEW: Marriage Story [2019]

“The pie was just a pie” It’s crazy how love changes the way we see things. Ambition can look like genius when we’re there as a supportive cheerleader and narcissism when we begin to recognize our sacrifices in seeing it get fulfilled. Success can be construed as a mutually beneficial byproduct of a union when […]

REVIEW: Waves [2019]

“All we have is now” Ronald Williams (Sterling K. Brown) tells his son Tyler (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) what so many parents do: “You don’t know how lucky you are.” What are those words besides a pat on the adult’s back for providing a decent life for their child, though? To me they’re often a source […]

REVIEW: Queen & Slim [2019]

“Can I be your legacy?” Despite what your Fox News watching relatives say, Black people in America aren’t asking to be killed. They aren’t “thugs” leeching off a system those same folks are banking on to carry them through retirement. And their rage at being left for slaughter isn’t an excuse for you to wield […]

REVIEW: The Souvenir [2019]

“Very much in love” Love is a powerful drug. There’s the unadulterated high when things are going good and the debilitating anguish upon suffering withdrawal. We chase the former and fall into bad habits to avoid the latter—sacrificing everything we want to achieve for ourselves in order to sustain a union we cannot fathom being […]

REVIEW: Feast of the Seven Fishes [2019]

“What the hell is nostalgia?” Titled after the Southern Italian tradition that made its way across the Atlantic to become a part of many Italian-American families’ Christmas Eve celebrations, Robert Tinnell‘s adaptation of his own graphic novel/recipe book Feast of the Seven Fishes does well to center itself upon its food even if the people […]

REVIEW: Clueless [1995]

“I totally paused” I’m not sure why we picked Amy Heckerling‘s Clueless five days after it opened (I save my ticket stubs), but I do remember enjoying it. Not in spite of assumptions either—unless we went because it was the only PG-13 film out (I became a teenage six months earlier). Maybe my love of […]

BIFF19 REVIEW: Online Billie [2019]

“It’s simple until it all gets complicated” Despite opening Online Billie with a glimpse of the titular camgirl (Valentine Payen-Wicaksono‘s Esther/”Billie”) engaged in a chat room session, she’s not the lead character. Director Lou Assous and co-writer Xavier Bazoge have very clearly created her as a hypothetical instead—a test with which their surrogate in the […]

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 […]