REVIEW: Marguerite [2017]

“I won’t live forever, you know” Stereotyping is proven real when an elderly Marguerite (Béatrice Picard) asks her nurse Rachel (Sandrine Bisson) if the person she was talking to on the phone was her boyfriend only to hear, “My girlfriend” instead. The woman’s face drops in surprise with an, “Oh” before finding a smile and […]

REVIEW: Detainment [2018]

“Do you know what truth is?” Two ten-year old boys were placed into police custody in 1993 on suspicion of kidnapping and murdering the not-yet three-year old James Bulger in Merseyside, England. They were interrogated separately with parents present about their whereabouts on that fateful day and whether or not they were guilty of the […]

REVIEW: Lifeboat [2018]

“The heart is where your real thinking comes” Director Skye Fitzgerald‘s Lifeboat is the latest “human face” documentary to get an Oscar nomination. What might set it apart from others—for better or worse—is that it seeks to highlight the face of the man doing the saving as a beacon of hope more than the victims […]

REVIEW: Madre [Mother] [2017]

“Why hasn’t he come back?” A woman (Marta Nieto‘s Marta) and her mother (Blanca Apilánez) arrive at the former’s apartment talking about men. Marta speaks about friends, her mother leans into romanticism when the subject of a handsome gentleman comes up, and some jealousy arrives when it’s explained that he’s already attached to someone else. […]

REVIEW: Lost + Found [2018]

“Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven” Why shouldn’t Satan (Jennifer Plotzke) be given a starring role in the telling of Paradise? God allowed her to wreak havoc on mankind by seducing Eve (Pia Haddad) with an apple of knowledge. He left us behind as silly creatures lost in the throes of love […]

REVIEW: ’63 Boycott [2018]

“Because today is Freedom Day” One of Kartemquin Films founders (a Chicago-based production studio of documentary films that’s found itself in the Oscar conversation once again with the feature Minding the Gap and this short) was at the school boycott coined “Freedom Day” in 1963 filming the march as a twenty one year old, three […]

REVIEW: Pappy’s World [2018]

“Come on. Tickle me.” A self-proclaimed “socially responsible Blaxpoitation” horror short from director Matt Wisniewski and co-writer Fred Polone, Pappy’s World arrives as though a music video for Buffalo-based art-rock project Smokin’ Black Tar with an opening guitar-led track against the silent movements of a young girl (Jaz Frazier) around Christmastime. While she eyeballs a […]

REVIEW: Univitellin [2016]

“All of that for nothing” Writer/director Terence Nance describes his short film Univitellin as “an improvised prequel about the past lives of one person—about the two people they were before they karmically merged.” It’s important to know this because that’s not what you’d assume upon watching its tale of fated and tragic romance between Aminata […]

REVIEW: C’est La Vie [2016]

“You don’t choose to be me” In the perfect complement to Basically, writer/director Ari Aster uses the same format of pitting his lead character against the camera for an incendiary diatribe about life, freedom, and oppression with C’est La Vie. Where the former centered upon a young, aspiring actress who proved a product of affluence […]

REVIEW: The Turtle’s Head [2014]

“She didn’t get the pun” What appeared an early misstep of juvenile comedic intent with TDF Really Works actually seems to be a glaring blind spot for writer/director Ari Aster after watching his short film The Turtle’s Head. There are few better than him today where using humor to augment the subversions of darker genres […]

REVIEW: Basically [2014]

“That’s just the rejection talking” Even the most vain and vapid have moments of clarity. Whether they prove to be intentional or not is the question. So is it because Shandy (Rachel Brosnahan) has more to her than what appearances reveal that she’s able to turn colorfully vindictive soliloquies into philosophical quandaries worth contemplating beyond […]