REVIEW: Honey Boy [2019]

Why am I here? The bane of childhood stardom is that nothing you do will ever be a secret again. Your success will be written in black and white in the trades. Personal relationships will be speculated upon in the tabloids. And mistakes—large or small—will trend like wildfire on the internet until they become the prevalent way by which you will be defined. Shia LaBeouf experienced every last bit of this with a keen, if imperfect, vantage point allowing him to use it to his advantage through performance art pieces…

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REVIEW: 기생충 [Gisaengchung] [Parasite] [2019]

This is so metaphorical. Min (Seo-joon Park) arrives unannounced at the semi-basement dwelling of his old friend Kim Ki-woo (Woo-sik Choi). The former is a college student about to study abroad, the latter an unemployed high school graduate doing his best to leech free wifi by the bathroom window since he, his sister (So-dam Park‘s Ki-jung), father (Kang-ho Song‘s Ki-taek), and mother (Hye-jin Jang‘s Chung-sook) have all fallen on hard times. Relegated to getting low-balled by a pizza joint for poorly folding their boxes on the cheap, the Kim family…

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TIFF19 REVIEW: The Rest of Us [2020]

Feels Inside Not Expressed. Despite death being a definitive end, there’s still a chance for new beginnings in the aftermath. Sometimes it’s by necessity and sometimes by choice. In the case of Craig, however, it’s inevitably both thanks to his leaving behind two families: his first and his second. While he left Cami (Heather Graham) and Aster (Sophie Nélisse) long ago by choice and Rachel (Jodi Balfour) and Talulah (Abigail Pniowsky) just now via fate, they each come to find that he neglected them all. It shouldn’t be surprising considering…

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TIFF19 REVIEW: Knives Out [2019]

The cow and the shotgun. No stranger to a good mystery—noir (Brick) or comedy (The Brothers Bloom)—Knives Out sees Rian Johnson getting back to a wholly original property before returning to the world of Star Wars. From the stellar cast to its Clue-esque estate (even he couldn’t resist that joke), this whodunit has looked impeccably positioned to deliver exactly what the genre demands while also dissecting and subverting it for good measure. That the final result might go even further than that only makes it more intriguing. Why? Well the…

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TIFF19 REVIEW: Sound of Metal [2020]

Will it come back? The film opens with Riz Ahmed‘s Ruben sitting at a drum kit while guitar distortions deafen us. Eventually Olivia Cooke‘s Lou starts screaming as his sticks connect for a steady beat until all hell breaks loose. We’re in this venue with them, the in-close camerawork proving Ahmed’s lessons paid off because he is in a groove and rocking out (not that he needed help on the second part considering his rap career as Riz MC and one half of Swet Shop Boys). With line drawn tattoos…

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TIFF19 REVIEW: Håp [Hope] [2019]

What do we tell the kids? Tomas (Stellan Skarsgård) was married with three children when Anja (Andrea Bræin Hovig) met him. She didn’t want to fall in love, but twenty years and three more kids later show that’s exactly what happened. When Anja raised their babies, Tomas worked—a lot. When it was time for her to go back to work, she did too—a lot. Both alternated their career-motivated traveling so one could stay home and watch the family, a promise to be present at night with the kids honored by…

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TIFF19 REVIEW: Calm with Horses [2020]

That’s not you. To cross the Devers family is to earn retribution. This is a known fact to all in the rural Irish town of Glanbeigh. Some strangers arrive and overstep their bounds without knowing (as if getting involved with drug dealers was an act whose danger can be unknown), but most everyone knows everyone else’s name and where to find them. So when it’s Fannigan’s (Liam Carney) turn to “make good” on a transgression, he doesn’t try to run. He sits in his chair as Douglas “Arm” Armstrong (Cosmo…

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REVIEW: The Nightingale [2019]

You’re my life. After giving grief and survivor’s guilt physical form by way of a violent monster known as The Babadook, writer/director Jennifer Kent turns her sights on trauma and the ways our bodies, minds, and souls react to unimaginable and unprovoked pain endured at the hands of mankind’s superiority complexes born from delusions of grandeur. To do so she went back into the dark history of her home country of Australia to recognize the hatred and malice shown on the news today along racial, gender, religious, and sexual lines…

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REVIEW: Luce [2019]

I can’t be perfect. So much of who we are and what we become relies on perception. Race, gender, religion, sexuality, language, culture, education, and socio-economic standing all play a role because we’re perceived by those like us and those not. We therefore exist in a tenuous bubble of expectations wherein normalcy is a razor-thin line between sainthood and monstrousness. One side waits to anoint us while patting itself on the back for assisting our ascent upwards to meet our potential. The other patiently bides its time until we’re revealed…

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REVIEW: The Farewell [2019]

It’s a good lie. Billi (Awkwafina) heads to her parents’ home to clean laundry after discovering she’s now two months behind on her rent only to hear her father (Tzi Ma‘s Haiyan) is “asleep” … at 6pm. Her mother (Diana Lin‘s Jian) dismisses the time as a byproduct of them being very busy, but she goes to his room to see for herself anyway. Haiyan sits despondent on the bedside, something obviously wrong. When neither can bear her questions anymore (“Did you have a fight? Were you drinking again?”), Jian…

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REVIEW: Toy Story 4 [2019]

She’ll be okay. It was said upon the release of Toy Story 3 that the franchise was done as far as Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear’s (Tim Allen) adventures were concerned. These sentiments made sense because it ended nicely on a logical breaking point wherein the boy whose name adorned their feet grew-up and gifted them to a new owner (Bonnie) who promised a warm future of happiness and play. Because simply retiring the characters would be dumb, Pixar decided to branch out into a trio of short comedic…

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