TIFF17 REVIEW: Gutland [2018]

“Well, it’s not impossible to learn” When a German drifter walks into the quaint Luxembourg village of Schandelsmillen with a scruffy beard, bag full of money, and stoically gruff attitude, we wonder what secrets his past holds. Jens Fauser (Frederick Lau) arrives with a single question: “Do you need help with the harvest?” That specific […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Kissing Candice [2018]

“I never know whether I’m awake or asleep” With a first scene as stylish as that from Kissing Candice, the words “music video chic” come to mind before you can even discover writer/director Aoife McArdle is a James Vincent McMorrow regular who also released a short in collaboration with U2’s 2014 release Songs of Innocence. […]

REVIEW: Papillon [1973]

“Blame is for God and small children” While Henri Charriere‘s account of his incarceration and escape from the penal colony known as French Guiana has a contentious history as far as it being an autobiography or novel of historical fiction, such debate is inconsequential to Franklin J. Schaffner‘s cinematic adaptation Papillon. Whether or not what […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Cardinals [2017]

“Good to have me back” The big story surrounding Grayson Moore and Aidan Shipley‘s feature debut Cardinals playing the Toronto International Film Festival stems from the fact that both men graduated from the city’s own Ryerson University. As a longtime festival venue/partner, this premiere will inevitably be treated as a homecoming. But don’t let that […]

REVIEW: Good Time [2017]

“Cross the room if you’ve ever felt lonely” The first person we meet in Josh and Benny Safdie‘s Good Time isn’t its lead Connie Nikas (Robert Pattinson). Before he enters the picture to propel the film towards its kinetic search for ten grand, things begin much slower and much quieter with his brother Nick (played […]

REVIEW: Wind River [2017]

“Don’t steer away from the pain” After watching his first two spec scripts find homes with established directors—Denis Villeneuve and David Mackenzie bringing those words to life beautifully in neo-westerns Sicario and Hell or High Water respectively—actor turned screenwriter Taylor Sheridan finally steps behind the camera with his latest Wind River. While not as complex […]

REVIEW: The Killers [1946]

“Stop listening to those golden harps, Swede” “The Killers” is a dialogue-driven short story by Ernest Hemingway that describes the melancholic criminal comeuppance of a man long-removed from the deeds that signed his death warrant. It reads like a fast-paced and stripped-down script whose intrigue is built out of that which we’ll never know. Context […]

REVIEW: Among Us [2017]

“It hurts to look at you” An effective horror keeps you unaware of the danger lurking in the shadows. The less you know about what’s coming the better because you don’t want to end up spending your time guessing how the problem will be solved when you should be experiencing its escalating terror. This means […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: Most Beautiful Island [2017]

“I’m so tired of the possibilities” It’s easy for Americans to look at a film like Eli Roth‘s Hostel and find themselves afraid of the situation presented as one they could fall prey to if the circumstances arose. We’ve been instilled with that anxiety for decades—the notion that our freedoms at home do not transfer […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: Tiere [Animals] [2017]

“Animals don’t kill themselves” Discovering that screenwriter Jörg Kalt committed suicide before bringing his script Tiere [Animals] to life adds a lot of context to how one deciphers Greg Zglinski‘s film. The director had read it the year before Kalt’s death, lauding it while on a Zurich Film Foundation committee in the hopes of helping […]

REVIEW: Annabelle [2014]

“Crazy people do crazy things, ma’am” The story of Annabelle—a possessed Raggedy Ann doll from the 1970s—is a part of Lorraine and Ed Warren’s lore as experts in the occult. It along with the Amityville house are what the couple are most known for “combating” and thus easy fodder to provide audiences an entry point […]