REVIEW: Sombra City [2019]

“I said I don’t trust you, but—” It’s 2037 and the world looks similar to ours but for certain societal changes. The main alteration at the center of Elias Plagianos‘ Sombra City is the legality of murder if done with a bounty hunting purpose. Think a duel, but farmed out to trained assassins. As long […]

REVIEW: Zimna wojna [Cold War] [2018]

“Time doesn’t matter when you are in love” It’s critical to know that writer/director Pawel Pawlikowski loosely based his main characters in Zimna wojna [Cold War] on their namesakes: his parents. To know he acknowledges the fact that they were destructive together and lovesick apart makes the way in which the fictional Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) […]

REVIEW: Write When You Get Work [2018]

“I’m friendly” We don’t ever discover why or when high school sweethearts Ruth Duffy (Rachel Keller) and Jonny Collins (Finn Wittrock) broke up during the course of Stacy Cochran‘s Write When You Get Work. All we know are certain circumstances and thus are left to assume the rest. Maybe they tried making things work after […]

REVIEW: Daughters of the Dust [1991]

“I ain’t got no more dreams, cousin” The voice we hear is of the unborn child (Kai-Lynn Warren) growing inside Eula Peazant (Alva Rogers). She speaks about the events onscreen from a future that ensures her birth if not her residence—the lynchpin to the entirety of Julie Dash‘s Daughters of the Dust who metaphorically and […]

REVIEW: Monsoon [2018]

“Don’t let one tragedy cause another” The start of Miguel Duran‘s Monsoon is like its own short film. We meet John (Austin Lyon) and Sarah (Katherine Hughes) the weekend the former is supposed to be moving east for Cornell while she remains closer to home in the Arizona desert. They’re best friends and have been […]

REVIEW: Gräns [Border] [2018]

“You shouldn’t listen to what humans say” Customs officer Tina (Eva Melander) stands at attention while a line of passengers exiting an international flight walk by, her nostrils perpetually flaring. She’s sniffing them as a means of discerning which might have illegally undeclared possessions on their person. An “Excuse me” later and her partner is […]

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 […]

TIFF REVIEW: Life Itself [2018]

“Tell them I’m nice” Morbid or not: I love when stationary characters turn to the camera only to be hit by a vehicle coming from offscreen. There’s something that’s just immensely satisfying about watching one step into that sweet spot of quiet, empty space with a hindered view on either side. I brace for impact, […]