TIFF17 REVIEW: Disobedience [2017]

“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 […]

REVIEW: The Big Sick [2017]

“Always with the comedy” A lot of romantic comedies release each year—a lot. And they’re generally all the same with characters built from stereotypes rather than a writer’s personal experience. The ones that stick out are therefore those that arrive from the heart with something true to say. They’re the few possessing the honesty to […]

REVIEW: לעבור את הקיר [Laavor et hakir] [The Wedding Plan] [2016]

“It’s a small task for God to find me a groom by the end of Hanukkah” Michal (Noa Koler) doesn’t want to get married. What she truly wants is to no longer be alone. She’s sick of being the person invited to get-togethers rather than the one doing the inviting so she enlists any matchmaker […]

REVIEW: Everything, Everything [2017]

“When I talk to him it feels like I’m outside” I was with Nicola Yoon‘s Everything, Everything for its first three-quarters. While it’s just as implausibly overwrought as The Space Between Us—another YA love story mired by a high-concept contrivance that literally places a character’s life in jeopardy so he/she may experience what living free […]

REVIEW: Yella [2007]

“I want you to love me again” There’s a glimmer of hope in Yella Fichte’s (Nina Hoss) eye when things finally seem to be going in the right direction. She’s earned a new job starting the day after tomorrow, one that should fill her empty bank account and lead her towards prosperity. But before she […]