REVIEW: Atomic Blonde [2017]

“This is the game” It’s hard to believe that I was thinking the stylish, punishing action of John Wick was being dismantled upon as its stuntmen-turned-directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch deciding to go solo two years ago. Stahelski would helm John Wick 2, the result proving a worthy follow-up both in aesthetic and mythology […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: Better Watch Out [2017]

“U LEAVE U DIE” It’s Christmas and songs of carolers are in the air of a quaint suburban neighborhood populated by houses big enough to list four bedrooms yet safe enough to not need alarms. Perfectly imperfect families live inside them like the pulls-no-punches Deandra (Virginia Madsen) and affably self-deprecating Robert (Patrick Warburton) showing how […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: The Honor Farm [2017]

“Make a choice” If Karen Skloss‘ feature narrative debut The Honor Farm possesses anything it’s an abundance of style. This is a gorgeously shot prom night turned mushroom trip romp of millennial excess caught in the throes of dream. We meet Lucy (Olivia Grace Applegate) walking through the woods in her dress—trees covered in toilet […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: Replace [2017]

“I thought this was just a painkiller” There’s a captivating science fiction horror concept at the back of director Norbert Keil and co-writer Richard Stanley‘s Replace with the question: how far would you be willing to go for your youth? Do you crave longevity? Vanity? Rebirth? What would you sacrifice for it? Memory? Sanity? Life […]

REVIEW: The Beguiled [1971]

“Old enough for kisses” If you’ve ever wondered what would happen inside a Confederate girls seminary (boarding school) unwittingly thrust into the position of harboring a wounded Union soldier during the Civil War, Don Siegel‘s The Beguiled seeks to provide some dark answers. Based on Thomas Cullinan‘s novel A Painted Devil and adapted by Albert […]

REVIEW: The Book of Henry [2017]

“I want to see the sky” There’s a lot of backlash against director Colin Trevorrow for reasons he didn’t necessarily earn. Most of the vitriol stems from his being scooped up by the Hollywood studio machine after helming just one indie film. That debut was the Sundance award-winning Safety Not Guaranteed, a small-scale sci-fi written […]

REVIEW: 47 Meters Down [2017]

“It’s like you’re going to the zoo only you’re in the cage” There’s this great moment towards the end of 47 Meters Down when a flare ignites to reveal a trio of sharks circling Lisa (Mandy Moore) and Kate (Claire Holt). It’s a beautiful image in its horrific content: warm colors illuminating the cool dark […]

REVIEW: It Comes at Night [2017]

“Are you sick?” Distill any post-apocalyptic, sickness-infested world inhabited by survivors to its core and you receive an unfiltered glimpse at humanity’s desperation. Strip away the artifice and redundant plotlines, tear down labels in the vein of hero or leader or savior, and make sure “hope” becomes an archaic concept lost to distant memory even […]

REVIEW: Alien: Covenant [2017]

“One wrong note eventually ruins the entire symphony” I was in the minority with Prometheus in 2012, declaring its brilliantly nuanced story diving beneath its genre conventions as the best entry in the Alien franchise since the original. It was spirituality-tinged science fiction whereas Ridley Scott‘s 1979 classic was character-based horror with palpable emotion-laden terror. […]

REVIEW: Lost Highway [1997]

“I like to remember things my own way” POSSIBLE SPOILERS Every cinephile has a moment when “the movies” became more than entertainment. Mine was David Lynch‘s Lost Highway. It was my first foray into the auteur’s catalog—a viewing that occurred three or four years after its initial release courtesy of a rented VHS cassette tape. […]

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 […]