REVIEW: Bisbee ’17 [2018]

“Thank you for riding the deportation express” On the surface it appears to be an illegal deportation of anti-union Americans at the hands of newly deputized company loyalists in Bisbee, Arizona. Approximately 1,200 copper mining strikers and sympathizers were rounded up at gunpoint in 1917, ushered into cattle cars, and driven over the border to […]

REVIEW: Jauja [2014]

“The desert devours everything” Colonialism, Manifest Destiny, and any other act by a foreign nation to claim the land of an indigenous people as its own are performed with a desire for power and prosperity. It’s about ego and entitlement—the search to create a mythology that glosses over genocide for the “heroism” of a brute […]

REVIEW: Little Woods [2019]

“Your choices are only as good as your options” There’s a great documentary about what life is like in the fracking boomtowns of North Dakota entitled The Overnighters. In it we witness an example of humanity at its simultaneous best and worst. Desperate men seeking an escape from troubles back home arrive to find a […]

REVIEW: The Wind [2019]

“How did she get my gun?” A suicide. A stillborn baby. A woman holding the latter as she leaves the former to show her husband and the now widower father the results of the harrowing night thus far kept off-screen. We hear the wind blowing as the camera pushes in towards Lizzy Macklin’s (Caitlin Gerard) […]

REVIEW: The Kid [2019]

“You gotta learn to trust inna fella” With so many different iterations of the same exact story flooding the cinematic market every year via reboots and sequels, it’s nice when someone decides to look at a common narrative through a new lens. This is what director Vincent D’Onofrio and screenwriter Andrew Lanham hope to accomplish […]

REVIEW: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs [2018]

“Well don’t let my white duds and pleasant demeanor fool ya” You know the whole enterprise will be a bit cheeky just by directors’ Joel and Ethan Coen‘s statement of intent. While explaining that their love for anthology movies stems from the format’s ability to unite multiple directors with a common theme, they admit their […]

REVIEW: The Rider [2018]

“Don’t give up on your dreams” Whether you’ve ever rode a horse or not, you know what happens when they’re injured. It could be that you saw the black and white decision to put one down in a movie. Or maybe you heard about a bad break during one of the televised derbies people get […]

REVIEW: Sweet Country [2018]

“What chance have we got?” Director Warwick Thornton immediately connected to childhood friend and co-writer David Tranter‘s (with Steven McGregor) script because it provided an authentic context for the historical treatment of their indigenous Central Australian tribes. Based on stories passed down by Tranter’s grandfather as well as Wilaberta Jack’s true life 1920s self-defense killing […]

REVIEW: Hostiles [2017]

“You’re no angel your own self” The fact that America’s past isn’t without its horrific nightmares of misguided violence and oppression shouldn’t be lost on anyone, especially not with everything that’s going on here today. Our history runs red with the blood of men, women, and children who fought to survive against a force that […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Menoana e Mehlano ea Marseilles [Five Fingers for Marseilles] [2017]

“The land is all the scripture we need” Director Michael Matthews and writer Sean Drummond were drawn to the landscapes of South Africa’s Eastern Cape while traveling their homeland, especially the echoes of classic cinematic western environments. Learning about how its current towns arose—from the ashes of Apartheid-era cities mimicking European capitals by name—only cemented […]

REVIEW: Brimstone [2017]

“Retribution is coming” At a time when many supposedly God-fearing Christians in America blindly fear the idea of a Muslim insurgence implementing Sharia law (itself often warped by supposed Allah-fearing men to retain patriarchal control much like their Republican counterparts dictating what a woman can and can’t do with her body), it’s crucial to remember […]