REVIEW: Marlina Si Pembunuh dalam Empat Babak [Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts] [2017]

“This is my prisoner” Considering the seemingly endless number of Hollywood male directors tackling women empowerment films as a means to declare themselves feminists while also—wittingly or not—preserving their careers at the expense of the women they’re seemingly in solidarity with, you must give renowned Indonesian director Garin Nugroho credit for recognizing the treatment he […]

REVIEW: The Clovehitch Killer [2018]

“I like bad news” Don Burnside (Dylan McDermott) is a pillar of his community. He’s the troop leader of his son’s (Charlie Plummer‘s Tyler) church-adjacent Boy Scouts, a devout man of the Lord alongside his wife Cindy (Samantha Mathis), and the type of guy to go out of his way to volunteer and make the […]

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: Monster Party [2018]

“Simple as a pimple” I have to think writer/director Chris von Hoffmann saw The Purge and wondered what could be born from reversing the good guy and bad guy roles. Those are generic terms of course since both movies ultimately contain bad guys and worse guys, but for the sake of argument we’ll say that […]

REVIEW: Bullitt County [2018]

“You don’t always have to shoot the rooster” Repression is wild insofar as our minds pushing trauma down to the depths of our soul without a second thought. While guilt will ravage some to the point where certain actions become inescapable no matter what is used to numb the pain, others can completely detach themselves […]

REVIEW: Bad Times at the El Royale [2018]

“Why even have a bell?” Writer/director Drew Goddard‘s affinity for voyeuristic set-ups continues with Bad Times at the El Royale‘s “pervert hotel” aesthetic. His first feature-length screenplay (Cloverfield) was found footage, his directorial debut (The Cabin in the Woods) had a two-way mirror as well as a science fiction surveillance conceit, and now we get […]

BIFF18 REVIEW: Caretakers [2018]

“Do what is right, not what is easy” Dr. Leigh Waters (Angell Conwell) has a line of dialogue towards the end of Caretakers that I was desperate to hear since the beginning. She reminds the med student under her supervision (George Loomis‘ Jones Berg) that he’s neither a psychologist nor a social worker and thus […]

BIFF18 REVIEW: Black Site [2018]

“Do you not fear your insignificance?” Mankind found a way to overpower its Gods in Tom Paton‘s throwback sci-fi horror Black Site. After discovering that Elder Gods were in-hiding and draining our planet of its most precious resource (people) for millennia, humanity found ancient incantations to bind them and ultimately deport them back from whence […]

REVIEW: Miller’s Crossing [1990]

“I’ll think about it” The mob is a business like any other. Leadership must be strong and decisive, employees must be loyal to a fault, and every once in a while you have to cut someone you like loose in order to not anger someone you might like less but definitely need more. Despite everything […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Rojo [2018]

“They say bodies appear in the desert” The film opens as people leave a house with objects in-hand, the assumption being that they were bought in an estate sale or pilfered before one could begin. A man (Diego Cremonesi) looks in the front door as clueless as we are to what’s happening before a jump […]

REVIEW: A Simple Favor [2018]

“Oopsy” You don’t wonder which woman has secrets after meeting Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick) and Emily Nelson (Blake Lively). Instead you wonder which has more. They’re built to be hiding something in their past whether dark or not. The former: a goody two-shoes, little Miss Perfect type who always has the energy to show up […]