REVIEW: Hello, My Name Is Doris [2016]

“I’m possible” Welcome to the world Doris Miller (Sally Field). It’s been too long—forty years to be exact—since you were free to roam unencumbered by self-imposed responsibilities and familial guilt no one was willing to spend the time to help alleviate. Yes, Doris has been fridged from social interaction for four decades as she quietly […]

REVIEW: The Crying Game [1992]

“He believes in the future” It’s amazing how different a film can feel when you put close to two decades behind your first viewing. When I watched Neil Jordan‘s The Crying Game as a teenager I did so to see what all the fuss was about. I already knew the “secret” and found it difficult […]

REVIEW: The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover [1989]

“The naughty bits and the dirty bits are so close together” The above quote pretty much sums up Peter Greenaway‘s The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover. High society and criminal filth: seemingly disparate sectors of civilization that wouldn’t truly wish to consort together yet constantly overlap through history to almost merge into […]

REVIEW: They Came Together [2014]

“I admire your spirit” It’s one thing to satirize the romantic comedy genre and a whole other to literally break it down into its myriad tropes to build a story around them without transforming their generic designations into fully formed characters. But that’s exactly what David Wain (co-writer/director) and Michael Showalter (co-writer) did with They […]

REVIEW: The Unbelievable Truth [1990]

“Are you a priest or something?” The satire in Hal Hartley‘s debut The Unbelievable Truth is so over-the-top that you almost have to read it as a straight comedy. He’s constantly repeating dialogue through straight-faced actors, breaking up scenes with unnecessary title cards delineating arbitrary time lapses, and makes his characters so over-wrought that we […]

REVIEW: Touched With Fire [2016]

“Meet me on the other side” Depicting mental illness in film is hard for two reasons. One is the fact that actors are playacting. This may not be the case across the board—performances could be inferred from personal experience—but I’d say a majority comes from a place of research and mimicry. The second reason deals […]

BERLINALE16 REVIEW: Ani ve snu! [In Your Dreams!] [2016]

“I hate the ropes” The world of Parkour meets teenage coming-of-age angst in Petr Oukropec‘s Ani ve snu! [In Your Dreams!] and it’s a welcome mixture. Whereas most sports inherently breed competition to the point that American films must delineate good versus bad or favorite versus underdog because they underestimate their audience, the urban appropriation […]

REVIEW: Shok [2015]

“It’s not about the bike” There’s no more poignant way to tell a tale of war than through the eyes of children. This is what writer/director Jamie Donoughue does with Shok, a short film set during the Kosovo War between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (spearheaded by the Serbians) and the Kosovo Liberation Army at […]

REVIEW: Tabu [2012]

“You will not escape your heart” There are definite thematic similarities between Miguel Gomes‘ Tabu and F.W. Murnau‘s Tabu: A Story of the South Seas from its forbidden love to its descriptions of paradises lost. The structures are even identical—albeit in reverse—showing the joy of romance and the pain of losing it. If I were […]

REVIEW: Tabu: A Story of the South Seas [1931]

“The island of Bora-Bora: still untouched by the hand of civilization” It’s a “Romeo and Juliet” by way of French Polynesia to be commended first and foremost for its use of island natives as cast and crew (the latter a result of cost-saving efforts not-withstanding). Conceived by F.W. Murnau and Robert J. Flaherty as a […]

REVIEW: Far From Heaven [2002]

“Here’s to being the only one” While Todd Haynes‘ Far From Heaven wears its “inspired by All That Heaven Allows” on its sleeves from aesthetic to subject matter to blatant homage, it’s so much more. He takes what Douglas Sirk brought to life and injects it with a healthy dose of complexity and jeopardy wherein […]